Thursday, March 7, 2019

Pilot Review: Northern Rescue

Northern Rescue (Netflix)
Premiered March 1

A fresh start is one of the most common themes for a television series, though the factors that precipitate it and the way that it looks can vary tremendously. With this new Netflix show, simultaneously premiering on CBC Gem in Canada, it’s the death of the matriarch of the family that prompts one devastated and newly single dad to move his children up north to where their sister lives. I wasn’t sure before watching this whether this was meant to be a series for teens or for adults, and I’m still not entirely sure after having seen it. There’s not much in the way of originality, with some of the children rebelling and others demonstrating commendable maturity, and John just trying his best to stay afloat while knowing that he can’t possibly replace his wife or what she meant to their children. For me, this was an opportunity to see two actors I’m not sure will ever get roles as good as the ones I first knew them in. William Baldwin, who bears a striking resemblance to his brother Alec, was a fantastic politician on “Dirty Sexy Money,” while Kathleen Robertson was exceptional as a cutthroat fixer on the criminally underrated “Boss.” Those two shows, both axed after two seasons, would be far more appealing to me than this relatively familiar and uninventive show, which did manage to throw in an unexpected surprise development at the end that throws this major move that the family just made into serious doubt.

How will it work as a series? Charlie’s house burning down is definitely something that wasn’t part of the plan, though it will probably serve as a helpful impetus for them to build a new life together, with Charlie standing in for her sister in a maternal role for her nieces and nephews. There will be ups and downs along the way, and this is just the start of all that.
How long will it las? It’s hard to find reviews or ratings data for either the United States or Canada, and so this show’s future remains uncertain. I’m tempted to think that it’s not going to appeal broadly enough to a spectrum of viewers and that this one season, all of which is already available in both countries, will be it for the show.

Pilot grade: C+

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