Tag: cbs

Higher Ground (CBS) pilot preview: Yet another Olivia Pope wannabe…

Written and produced by Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married). Executive produced by Katie Couric, David Marshall Grant (Brothers & Sisters, Smash, Code Black), Heather Kadin (Scorpion, Limitless, Sleepy Hollow) & Alex Kurtzman (Transformers, Star Trek, Fringe, Alias, Fringe). Directed by Richard Shephard (Girls, Rosewood, Ugly Betty). For CBS Television Studios, Katie Couric Media & Secret Hideout. 67 pages. 04/05/17.

Description: an elite team of investigators for the Northeast Regional U.S. Hate Crimes Unit keeps the peace by solving myriad crimes against humanity while acting locally but thinking of the national repercussions as they confront their own biases… 

With Sharon Leal (Supergirl, Boston Public), Omar Metwally (The Affair, Mr Robot), Grace Rex (The Good Wife, Contagion), Zach Appelman (Sleepy Hollow), Kevin Daniels (Modern Family, Sirens), Brad William Henke (Sneaky Pete, Orange is the new black), Sheaun McKinney (Vice Principals), Kathy Najimy (King of the Hill, Veep, Sister Act)…

 

You’ll like it if you already like: Cold Case, Conviction

Likely timeslot: Sunday at 9

Higher Ground may be one of the least buzzy drama pilot this season, if not THE least buzzy, despite the fact that it was being informally described as The Good Wife meets Homicide at the time it was sold to CBS after a bidding war with another network. The description doesn’t fit with what I read. Plus; there’s definitely something about the cast that isn’t working. I like Sharon Leal, she’s a very capable actress, but chosing her for a leading role must not be the best idea CBS had. I guess they weren’t left with many choices though. It requires a black actress in her late thirties, which is one of the most sought-after profile these days. Of course, she needed to be available AND it’s better if the audience is already familiar with her. Kerry Washington, Anika Noni Rose & Gabrielle Union, among the most recognizable faces, were already taken. It’s sad. For once, CBS really seemed to be trying to be less white males but they are a little late to the party I guess. But who knows? Maybe it’ll be the surprising pick-up of the year!

Anyway, Higher Ground concerns me for two other main reasons apart from the cast: it’s not that good -they have at least four better options- and it doesn’t really look like something people would want to watch for years. Taking a look at a US Hate Crimes Unit can’t be more timely, the effort is deeply appreciated in those troubled times when hate is thriving all over the world. But does it make an innovative TV show? Short answer: not at all. The investigators have two parallel goals: determine whether the case is really a hate crime or something else -in the pilot it’s about a girl who apparently commited suicide, unless she was pushed…- and of course, solve it! So it starts with a different angle than other procedural shows but the methods of investigation are more or less the same -or they feel the same- and the more you get closer to the resolution the less it feels unique. It’s very comparable to ABC’s failed Conviction. The “reopening old cases to make sure the guilty person is really guilty” angle felt fresh somehow but the execution and the pacing felt old-fashioned.

What doesn’t help is the fact that most of the characters are bland and our heroine, Naomi, is just an Olivia Pope wannabe. Oh, like Conviction‘s leading lady! So many common points… She’s a nice gal, her personal story is original and quite creepy -she litteraly ate her twin sister in her mother’s belly- and she’s sleeping with the wrong person. Fear not, it’s not the President of the United States this time! It’s Manhattan South District Attorney. Their relationship is more irritating than anything else. Naomi has a sister -one she didn’t eat- and there’s clearly something wrong with her but we just don’t know yet why and nothing is done so we can care about it. We’re given next to zero elements to elaborate a theory or something. The investigators around all have their very precise, usual roles: the new one who needs to be explained everything, so the viewer catches up at the same time; the funny one; the awkward one; the asshole one… You get the picture.

Higher Ground is DOA to me. Dead On Arrival. It’s tired, unambitious and unneccessary. CBS had a pilot on the same theme a few years ago, For Justice, starring Anika Noni Rose and directed by Ava DuVernay. It was not perfect but way better. They made a mistake not picking it up at the time. This uninspired version can’t make up for it. 

S.W.A.T. (CBS) pilot preview: The Shemar Moore Show

Written and produced by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas (CSI: New York, SouthLAnd, Sleepy Hollow). Based on the 1975 TV series. Executive produced by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious, Scorpion, Star Trek Beyond), Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit, Timeless, The Get Down), Marney Hochman (Mad Dogs, Terriers, The Shield), Pavun Shetty (New Girl), Danielle Woodrow (Scorpion) Neal H. Moritz (Prison Break, Fast & Furious, I Am Legend, S.W.A.T.) & Shemar Moore. Directed by Justin Lin. For Sony Pictures Television, CBS Television Studios, MiddKid Prods, Original Films & Perfect Storm Entertainment. 53 pages. Final Shooting Draft. 04/17/17.

Description: Daniel ‘Hondo’ Harrelson, a locally born and bred S.W.A.T. lieutenant, is torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to his fellow officers when he’s tasked to run a highly-trained unit that is the last stop for solving crimes in Los Angeles…

With Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds, The Young and the Restless), Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted, Desperate Housewives, The Inside), Lina Esco (Kingdom, Flaked), Kenny Johnson (The Shield, Bates Motel, Secrets & Lies, Sons of Anarchy), Stephanie Sigman (Narcos, American Crime, The Bridge US), Peter Onorati (The Goodfellas, Civil Wars), Alex Russell (Chronicle)…

  

You’ll like it if you already like: Hawaii 5-0, Scorpion, Criminal Minds, Lethal Weapon

Likely timeslot: Wednesday at 9 or 10

 

In comparison to the previous pilot season, reboots didn’t score this many pilot pick-ups. Cheers to that! You can count them on one hand: Behind Enemy Lines at FOX, Dynasty at The CW and S.W.A.T. at CBS. S.W.A.T. is even the reboot of a (failed) reboot since it’s inspired by the 2003 Sony movie of the same name -which starred starred Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez & LL Cool J. and grossed $207 million at the worldwide box office, which isn’t that great- that was based on the short-lived 1975 TV series produced by Aaron Spelling! The theme song of the show was probably more famous than the show itself: it only lasted 2 seasons (37 episodes) on ABC. The project with 100 executive producers received a pilot production commitment from CBS with series penalty behind it. Meaning it would have to really stink not to land on the schedule in less than two weeks now. And it doesn’t stink on paper, though it smells like sweat and male hormones. Oh and if you’re wondering before we start, S.W.A.T. stands for Special Weapons And Tactics.

CBS may have found a smart strategy to attract their viewers towards shows they may not have been attracted to in the first place: they use one of the stars of one of their long-running drama series to topline a new one. That’s what happened with Bull last year, a legal show tailor-made for Michael Weatherly when he decided to left NCIS. And it worked. Bull is not a huge success but it would have had less of a chance of success without Weatherly in the starring role and the NCIS lead-in. They’re doing it again with S.W.A.T. which is toplined by Shemar Moore, who starred in Criminal Minds for 11 years. It has yet to be seen if CBS will slot it around his previous show though but his Criminal Minds fans will check this out, that’s for sure. He will be perfectly fine in this and CBS is the right home for it.

Harrelson is a character who exudes calmness -and sexiness- but who’s always ready for action and has all the ability to become a leader: he’s just not happy with the political reason he just became one. His mentor has been fired after a burr and he’s chosen to replace him, partly because he’s black and knows better than his colleagues the people who live in the streets where they operate, while the “Black Lives Matter” movement is in full force in Los Angeles and the whole country. S.W.A.T. wants to be timely and seems to have found the best way to be. The writing is not particularly sharp and subtle but at least it’s not just about big guns and action, though in the end it mostly is. It’s not described as an intense, action-packed, procedural for no reason.

It starts with a high-octane chase of about 8 pages; there’s a car chase later of course; and some other chases until the end. It’s exhausting honestly but if you came for it, you’ll definitely be happy. The moments when they’re not running somewhere and catching bad guys are to be cherished. That’s when they talk -not only one-liners to make us laugh a little right in the middle of the action, because you know, they’re cool too- and become more than muscles. Though those talks often happen when they’re training, boxing or… making love. Women and gay men should get their weekly shirtless scenes so they’re not watching the show for nothing. They will even get a bit of soapy storylines thanks to one of the few female characters in there who happens to both Harrelson’s boss and… lover! And it’s against the rules… Drama!

S.W.A.T. is very much about Moore’s character -he’s in every scene- but other members of the team still manage to emerge, especially the new guy, Jim Street. He’s cocky, living on the edge and has earned himself a reputation as a loose cannon in his previous job (think Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon). I think it’s the 56th character who fits that description this season, but he’s still the most interesting one in there. There’s also David “Deacon” Kay, the second in command, who I like only because he’s played by Jay Harrington and I like Jay Harrington a lot. And let’s talk about Chris, who’s the only woman of the team. Well… I’d like to describe her to you in details but we don’t know much about her yet, sadly. I think they should have focused on her a little bit more. It would have lessen this impression that S.W.A.T is all about the men. I forgot to tell you about the case of the week. But… it’s just a case of the week, who really cares?

S.W.A.T. is not as light and fun as Lethal Weapon –of the rare stands out of this past season- and can’t be considered as ballsy but it’s doing the job it’s asked for, which is being very actiony, trying to be timely and most of all being the best vehicle possible for Shemar Moore’s skills. It’s a slam dunk for CBS. 

Behind Enemy Lines (FOX) Vs Navy SEALs Drama (CBS) pilot previews: Big Guns

Written and executive produced by Nikki Toscano (Revenge, 24: Legacy, Bates Motel, Shades of Blue). Based on Jim & John Thomas‘ movie script. Executive produced by John Davis (The Blacklist, Timeless, Predator, I, Robot), John Fox (The Blacklist, The Player, Dr Ken, Joy), Wyck Godfrey (Twilight, Maze Runner, Revenge, Rosewood) & Marty Bowen. Directed by McG (Lethal Weapon, Supernatural, Chuck, The OC). For 20th Century FOX Television, Temple Hill Entertainment & Davis Entertainment. 60 pages. Revised Network Draft. 01/21/2017.

Description:  A group of U.S. soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines in Ukraine. The multi-perspective narrative closely follows our soldiers on the ground, and the officers and service men and women on a nearby aircraft carrier, along with intelligence officers in DC as they attempt to bring our heroes home safely and under the radar…

With Marg Helgenberger (CSI, Intelligence, Under The Dome, China Beach), BJ Britt (UnREAL, Being Mary Jane, Pitch, Agents of SHIELD), Benito Martinez (American Crime, The Shield, Sons of Anarchy), Colm Feore (24, House of Cards, Revolution), Gabriel Chavarria, Willa Fitzgerald (Scream, Royal Pains), Melia Kreiling (Tyrant), Dylan Bruno (Numb3rs)…

   

Written and produced by Benjamin Cavell (Justified, Homeland, Sneaky Pete). Executive produced by Ed Redlich (Unforgettable, Without a Trace), Sarah Timberman & Carl Beverly (Elementary, Unforgettable, Justified, The Odd Couple). Directed by Christopher Chulack (ER, Third Watch, Shameless US, Animal Kingdom). For CBS Television Studios & Timberman/Beverly Productions. 70 pages. Revised Studio Draft. 01/23/17.

Description: The lives of the elite Navy SEALs as they train, plan and execute the most dangerous, high stakes missions our country can ask…

With David Boreanaz (Bones, Angel, Buffy), Max Thieriot (Bates Motel, Texas Rising), Neil Brown Jr. (Insecure, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency), A.J. Buckley (CSI: New York, Justified, Pure), Jessica Paré (Mad Men, Jack & Bobby), Toni Trucks (Franklin & Bash)…

  

You may wonder why this pilot season virtually every network has a pilot about military in the running. To understand, you have to go back to 2015 when Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper crushed expectations at the box -office with more than $340 000 000. It took time to reflect on TV as always -development is what it is- and it’s USA Network which was the first to go last winter with Shooter starring Ryan Phillippe doing solid business for them, then Six on History. If you add Trump’s presidency to the mix and an urgent need to reflect blue-collar, everyday Americans better, here’s why networks are all about America’s heroes in the military. With For God and Country at NBC already on the verge of getting picked-up to series according to Deadline -and it’s arguably the best of the crowd- there’s little chance every one of them gets a greenlight in two weeks. While Valor at The CW looks like a dark horse to me, ABC wisely chose to make a military comedy, not a drama (Charlie Foxtrot) to stand out from the crowd. But this one’s not very good. There are two choices left: Behind Enemy Lines at FOX & the Untitled Navy SEALS drama at CBS. Both are serious options but only one looks like a winner on paper.

Of course, Behind Enemy Lines had an advantage from the get go: it’s based on a 2001 movie, loosely based on a true story. But one which received generally negative reviews from critics when it was released. I haven’t seen it but it seems like the team behind the TV show did a good job at keeping what was working on the movie and leaving what didn’t. And it took time apparently. FOX has been high on mounting the project for awhile. They first commissioned a script from a different writer last season with a put pilot commitment. While that one didn’t go to pilot, they kept the concept for redevelopment and they were happy with the second script. I’m happy too and I’m not interested AT ALL with military dramas in general. You know what I like the most about it? It’s a soap. An action-packed one, yes. But it’s the characters and their complicated, troubled relationships, all the conflicts within the three groups we’re introduced to, that keep you interested. There are thrilling moments, for sure, but they wouldn’t work without the rest. It’s heavily serialized. At the end of the pilot, you just realize the mission has just begun and you want to watch more.

While For God and Country is a bit edgy sometimes and really political, Behind Enemy Lines plays it safer, very network-y and clearly doesn’t want to hurt anyone. But my intelligence felt offended from time to time. It lacks subtlety, especially when it comes to the subject of race. Our appealing hero, Ziggy, is latino. By his side during the mission in Ukraine are Jacob, an islamophobic african-american, Reggie, a blue-collar ass with a tender heart and Shia, the first woman accepted into the SEAL Training program who’s muslim, of course. They are all clichés. Their group seems forced, unnatural. Coincidentally, For God and Country has more or less the same set of characters but it works better. The one character I’m in love with is the one played by Marg Helgenberger named Admiral Bobbie Decker. She’s the most powerful woman in the military but she doesn’t act as she owns the place. She’s fierce but fair. She’s a mentor to Ziggy. And she has her own set of personal problems since her boyfriend is the undersecretary of State…

If Behind Enemy Lines feels too easy and on the nose sometimes but could be quite fun to watch, CBS’s Navy SEALs project on the contrary feels a bit foggy and murky, even irritating. David Boreanaz, who replaced Jim Caviezel who left the project over creative differences -not a good omen unless it just means Caviezel is hard to work with- plays Jason, the respected, committed leader of his assault team who’s been through over a dozen deployments, with scars inside and out. I’m sorry but I don’t like him and I think I will never be able to. He’s just very unfriendly and he’s not even funny. It starts -and ends- with him “talking” to a psychologist, or more precisely refusing to talk to a psychologist. This therapy thing feels outdated. We got a lot of those in the 2000s, starting with The Sopranos. Been there, done that. And the other characters are not very attractive either. And in this one, women are mostly comprehensive wives. It’s so CBS of them… But there’s Mandy, a whip-smart CIA analyst driven to rid the world of evil and get the bad guys. No Carrie Mathison vibes, sadly.

There are a lot of flashback scenes that refer to a difficult mission in the Iranian coast that left Jason and his team traumatized. It broke longtime friendships, tore families apart. It’s quite overwhelming. We don’t get much of what is happening quite frankly. But little by little, as we get more informations and as we meet more characters, the picture’s getting clearer and you can see a potential in the show. It’s like a mix between The Unit and Army Wives. A lot of action, a bit of family stuff, a dark tone, not many moments to breathe and smile a little though, and an attempt to offer something more profound than the usual CBS series. It’s not strong enough to be a cable show but maybe a little too heavy for a network. It should have worked with the NCIS franchise but I fear it doesn’t.

Behind Enemy Lines is a well-crafted, probably expensive project, that may not be an easy fit with FOX line-up but could please the audience, both male and female, and offer a distinctive option… But what could doom it is the existence of For God and Country at NBC. Would they take the risk to launch a similar but not as good show in the same period of time? It doesn’t seem to be a real problem for CBS and their Navy SEALs project. This one could have been a no-brainer if it were more crowd-pleasing. And the network may want to choose between this and S.W.A.T., also about a team of super strong men. What if none of them go further? That’s my bet.

The Get (CBS) pilot preview: This is not fake News!

Written and produced by Bridget Carpenter (11.22.63, Westworld, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood). Directed by James Strong (Broadchurch, Doctor Who). For CBS Television Studios. 60 pages. Clean Draft.

Description: A team of tireless Internet journalists from the website The Get pursue and expose stories of injustice using their unconventional investigative techniques in today’s anything-goes world of reporting…

With Amy Brenneman (The Leftovers, Reign, Private Practice, Amy), Brad Garrett (Fargo, ‘Til Death, Everybody Loves Raymond), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Hand of God, Roots), Jeananne Goossen (The Night Shift, The Following), Alex Fitzalan, Michael Rady (UnREAL, Jane The Virgin, Swingtown), Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black, Rock, Camelot)…

   

You’ll like it if you already like: The Newsroom, The Good Wife…

Likely timeslot: Sunday at 9, Wednesday at 10


When CBS picked-up The Get a few weeks ago, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I’m hoping for a network drama about journalism for years. There were a few projects in the past–among them two produced by Shonda Rhimes, Correspondents & Inside the Box– but none of them ever went to series. And of course there was HBO’s The Newsroom written by Aaron Sorkin, which was half-baked but mostly good. It’s a head-scratcher quite frankly. It’s such a perfect workplace to make a great drama (or a great soap)! What are the producers waiting for exactly? Since journalism is in danger these days (a serious study said recently that newspaper reporter is the “worst job”), more than ever in this new political environment, it’d be important to have such a show on the air. The Get may not be the ideal version of it, it’s not exactly what I had in mind, but it’s definitely something I’d watch on a weekly basis, though obviously a series order looks like a long shot.

The Get is the title of the show, but it also refers to the website inside the show. Three of the most important journalists of the team are women, which looks like a real statement from the writer, Bridget Carpenter. Meet first the steeled and determined Ellen (played by the excellent Amy Brenneman), who has been known to push boundaries in order to find the truth. She has a backstory about her father, who works for the LAPD. Then there’s Noelle, a fearless journalist who never backs down from a story she cares about. In the pilot, she works on a case of a woman who fakes pregnancies in order to get money from desperate couples who are looking to adopt a baby. Finally, there’s Isa, the senior producer at The Get and a tech-savvy researcher. They are joined by a fresh face, Alex, a young man who was a discreet and observant intern until he found THE story that got him a regular job; and their boss, Bill (played by Brad Garrett), a hardworking reporter who has spent his life working up to the position of executive producer.

It’s a really promising and functional group on paper. They are instantly likable without playing it nice all the time. Plus, they have more than their The Get’s stories to tell, things more personal that will help serialize the show a little bit if it’s ordered to series. Until then, the pilot is mostly procedural, with two cases tackled with energy and fearlessness. It’s efficient, captivating and inspirational. They often operate undercover with hidden cameras, which could give a different atmosphere to the series visually. Think Person of Interest for example. But let’s be real: in the end, it works exactly like a cop show with detectives replaced by journalists. They help solve a case AND make a great story of their own. I feel like they could become more ambitious later, add layers, maybe with more serialized cases over multiple episodes, but in order to convince CBS, they’d better start straight and simple. They clearly have more cards to play over time. 

The Get is not exactly an innovative offer from CBS since it works like many of their cop shows but without cops. That being said it’s different and timely enough to warrant a series order. It gives a little bit of hope and a sense of justice that we desperately need. Plus, it shows that journalism can be important, IS important when it’s more than rumors, gossips and fake news. 

Perfect Citizen (CBS) pilot preview: The Good Whistleblower

Written and executive produced by Craig Turk (The Good Wife, Boston Legal, Private Practice). Directed by Paris Barclay (Sons of Anarchy, Pitch, NYPD Blue, Cold Case). For CBS Television Studios & Thinking Hat Productions. 65 pages. Second Network Draft. 01/17/17.

Description:  After his involvement as a whistleblower in an international scandal, Deck Parsons, the former general counsel for the NSA embarks on a new career at a storied law firm in Boston where his daughter works. Once there, he must face the reality that half the country thinks he’s our greatest patriot, the other half thinks he’s a traitor and so do his colleagues and clients…

With Noah Wyle (ER, Falling Skies, The Librarian), Kristin Chenoweth (The West Wing, Glee, Pushing Daisies), Brian Stokes Mitchell (Mr Robot, Glee), Lenny Platt (How to Get Away With Murder, Quantico), Adrienne Warren, Stephanie Szostack (Satisfaction), Shanley Caswell (NCIS New Orleans)…

   

You’ll like if you already like: The Good Wife, The Good Fight, Damages

Likely timeslot: Sunday at 9

 

Quick résumé of Craig Turk, a writer you may not know: he’s a former attorney, he got hist first writer job at Boston Legal, then worked with Shonda Rhimes on Private Practive, and he joined The Good Wife in 2012, originally as a consulting producer and later as an executive producer. He even emerged as a trusted number 2 and heir apparent to creators Robert and Michelle King, tipped to succeed them as showrunner should the series had continued beyond seven seasons. Which thankfully didn’t happen. He could have joined the spin–off The Good Fight but he prefered creating his own stuff for CBS Television Studios where he is under an overall deal. And here we are. Perfect Citizen looks like a solid legal drama, which is not surprising; but the more I read the pilot script the more I was under the impression it was a carbon copy of The Good Wife. Take it as both a compliment and a warning.

The Good Wife is undoubtedly one of the greatest legal dramas ever made. Period. It was really strong for a longtime and even though I’m not a big supporter of the last two more political seasons, it was still incredible. 5-6 episodes in, The Good Fight is also a strong and even important show. Do we need another series in the same vein right now? It may be too soon. Perfect Citizen is not a lesser The Good Wife. It has a ton of potential. And The Good Wife was not the greatest from the get go. They needed a few episodes to get their groove on. With The Good Wife paving the way, Perfect Citizen starts big using the same plot devices in a similar environment with different characters but characters who would have fit perfectly at Lockhart/Gardner. Since it’s written the same way, the only person that may give the show a distinctive feel is the director. Paris Barclay never worked on The Good Wife or any other legal drama. He’s mostly known for his directing on Sons of Anarchy, a very different series obviously. I’m hopeful he will add something, his own thing, to the mix.

I don’t want to sound obsessed by The Good Wife -though I might be- but I just want to tell you how much Perfect Citizen is the same kind of beast. Of course, there’s the fact that they chose an ex-ER alumn to play the lead in both cases. It also starts with a scandal -of a different nature- and put the principal character, Deck Parsons, in the spotlight. Alicia Florrick was not responsible for what happened to her. Deck is. Not entirely, but still. Like her, he has to go back to work as a lawyer in a firm where he has ties. Will Gardner was Alicia’s old friend since law school and a powerful man in Chicago. Here, Paul, one of the partners, is Deck’s best friend since law school, a powerful ally and Boston power broker. And then there’s Jessica Hellsbury played by the brilliant Kristin Chenoweth. She’s the heartbeat of the firm and got her name on the door by outworking and out thinking the Ivy Leaguers. She’s different from Diane Lockhart if you look at the details but she has the same kind of personality and she gets the same respect from her colleagues. Honestly, I could go on and on. Deck has an assistant, Ingrid, who’s his Kalinda. There’s Felix Reyes, the self-proclaimed “Alpha Associate” at the firm. As charming, brilliant, ambitious and pretentious as a certain Cary Agos. And there’s a strong family element to the show since Deck’s daughter is part of the firm while his brother “Buddy” is in the picture too. It may lacks a clear love interest but there are possibilities.

The case of the first episode -there’s only one- is very much a tell of nowadays with a telecom giant named TwoTwig which doesn’t want to give the personal informations they have on the whereabouts and communications of a missing 18 year-old girl to the lawyers. It’s efficient and absorbing. The courtroom scenes are captivating. That’s what the show is aiming for: stories that are political, controversial, that say a lot about the society we’re living in, about our governments, about the lack of privacy due to new technologies, but that never forget they’re about people, living and breathing men and women like you and me. Deck Parsons is the “perfect” Edward Snowden-like character to vehicle those big ideas and views about the world. Of course, the show itself is political and there’s one villain introduced in the very first minutes: Attorney General Fran Davids. She was a good friend of Deck until he commited what she considers as treason. Now they’re bitter enemies. That’s the main serialized story we’re offered for now. And it’s exciting.

Perfect Citizen could have been called The Good Whistleblower. It’s following the steps of The Good Wife with an impressing precision and an indeniable talent. It’s not a game-changer legal drama and it doesn’t sound like a future mega-hit for CBS but critics will love it and people who love high-end television series will have a ball.

Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS) pilot preview: Wisdom would have been not picking it up!

Written and produced by Ted Humphrey (The Unit, The Good Wife, Incorporated). Executive produced by Alon Shtruzman (DIG), Peter Traugott (Samantha Who?), Rachel Kaplan (Manhattan Love Story, Do No Harm), Avi Nir (Homeland, Tyrant), Dror Mishani,  & Shira Hadad. Directed by Adam Davidson (Fear the Walking Dead, Hell On Wheels, Community). For CBS Television Studios, Universal Television & Keshet Studios. 63 pages. Network Draft. 01/23/17.

Description: Jeffrey Tanner, a successful tech innovator from Silicon Valley, creates a cutting edge crowd-sourcing hub named CrowdSolver to solve his own daughter’s murder, as well as revolutionizing crime solving in San Francisco. Tommy Cavanaugh, a tough cop for 16 years, reluctantly accepts to run the place…

With Jeremy Piven (Entourage, Mr Selfridge), Richard T. Jones (Judging Amy, Santa Clarita Diet, The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Blake Lee (Mixology), Monica Potter (Parenthood, Boston Legal)…

 

You’ll like if you already like: The Mentalist, Bull, APB, Pure Genius

Likely timeslot: Anywhere on CBS quite frankly.

 

I have a feeling you’re not interested in this script preview. Well guess what? Me neither. So I’m gonna keep it short and direct (and thank you for reading it anyway). It’s one of those CBS procedurals that give you so much of a “déjà vu” impression that even if it’s effective and moving at an appropriate pace, it still feels tired, unnecessary and boring. So I won’t bore you with too many details. How many more white handsome rich guys with exceptional skills and a deep dark wound -which is always a dead relative, here a daughter- will we have to endure? Now that the initial charm has worn off, isn’t it time to put it to rest for like… forever? Police procedurals need to reinvent themselves and as recent flops like CSI:CyberAPB (or Pure Genius in the medical area) suggest, using high-tech isn’t the solution. It certainly helps giving a modern feel to the projects, but it never make them special.

This season, CBS provided us with Bull. The legal drama is starring Michael Weatherly and is protected in the timeslot that immediately follows NCIS, where the actor spent 13 years of this career. Very smart scheduling obviously. So of course, it’s doing okay numbers. But not great numbers, not exactly what the network expected I guess. Same for MacGyver. It does a decent job for friday nights but it’s not a hit. To me, it proves this concept has been overused and is progressively dying. CBS only ordered two of these this pilot season, meaning they more or less took into account the rejection. The other one is Instinct with Alan Cumming that I already wrote about (HERE) and which is better. Funnier. And more distinctive.

The thing is Wisdom of the Crowd is an Israeli concept that has been sold to CBS and it shows. It doesn’t sound like a script that comes from the mind of its writer, it doesn’t sound like something personal or something that has been thoughtfully prepared for weeks or even months. It’s just a product he’s trying to sell us, carefully following what he has been asked. It’s just a job he’s paid for. There’s no life or passion between those lines. It leaves you unimpressed.

The main investigation checks the usual boxes meticulously, without surprising us a bit. Yes, it’s easy to read and probably comfortable to watch but it never challenges the viewer. I’d like to think we’re smarter than that. The main character also checks the usual boxes, except he’s not even fun. I have to admit I’m not a big Jeremy Piven fan. It doesn’t help imagining him in the role, but I guess he fits right in the part and he looks like the traditional CBS leading man. Secondary characters are non-existent and there’s a fuzzy political storyline regarding Jeffrey’s ex-wife that is unpromising.

Wisdom of the Crowd is yet another uninspired CBS police procedural script that’d be better left in a drawer or thrown in a trash can. It would have been a convincing option 5 or 6 years ago but we’ve been there too many times since then.