RARA-AVIS: Re: Terriers

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 29 Sep 2010

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    Subject: Re: Terriers is a Dog (so far)

    Jay wrote:

    > Is anyone on the list watching "Terriers," the "P-I" show on FX? This is
    > the most noir thing extant.

    Only if the only other thing on TV is CAPTAIN KANGAROO. And even then, there's that notorious Mr. Greenjeans and the Bunny Rabbit Stew episode.

    Sorry, but from where I sit, Terriers is a dog (so far).

    Although it seems to be developing a darker edge as it develops (and even a bit of originality), the pilot was one of the lamest, most derivative detective shows I've seen so far this year. It's only originality was miscasting -- Hank, the Big Lebowski wannabe, does NOT seem like an ex-cop at all. Especially one we're supposed to believe was a hotshot detective.

    > How
    > Ted Griffin got this thing on TV is beyond me. But more power to him. It
    > just blows me away. In addition to the surprise a minute, the cast is
    > good....and believable. Griffin's writing packs a punch, and a punch, etc.

    Are you easily bruised?

    Because In the pilot, he punches like a little girl. In fact, the only surprise was that the pilot, generally the single best shot producers have to entice new viewers to become loyal viewers by pulling out all the corks, was so predictable and familiar. Come on -- an alcoholic ex-cop pining for his ex-wife? Where have I seen that before? Most of the rest of it was just as familiar, from setting to villain.

    No corks were popped or in any way harmed in the writing of that episode.

    I've stuck with it, mind you (what the hell else would I watch? GLEE?) and the third episode did display a darker, disturbing (in a good way) edge to it, that nicely balanced the by rote "comedy" bits and the obligatory male-bonding schtick. And I assume dog crap will be a running gag? Oh, the hilarity!

    But then again, that third episode wasn't written by Griffin. Nor was the second episode, which was only slightly better than the first. My guess is that nobody (including Griffin) is quite clear where the show's supposed to go, which is why the individual episodes -- and sometimes, individual scenes within the same show -- are all over the place.

    Most really great TV shows seem to boil down to great writing and a singular vision that is shared with the writers (think HARRY O > Howard Rodman, THE WIRE > David Simon, etc., ROCKFORD > Cannell, THE SOPRANOS< DEADWOOD, etc, etc.). There can be variations on and explorations of that singular vision from episode to episode; but not alternating visions. So far, Griffin's TERRIERS doesn't seem to have any sort of thematic vision. Right now it has more mood swings than a meth head. And as many teeth.

    Maybe they'll eventually get to that point, but like most of the new crime and cop shows on this season, there's more potential here than accomplishment so far. Except for OUTLAW, which is just horrid.

    But I digress...

    Kevin Burton Smith Editor/Founder The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    "Wasting your time on the web since 1998."

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