Fall TV Second Look: Vegas (CBS)

  • Publish Date: October 24, 2012
  • Comments: ↓ 5 user comments

Throughout the next month, we'll be taking a second look at select new fall shows to see how critics' opinions are evolving. View all Second Look reviews here.

Drama | Tuesdays at 10p CBSVegas

Critics Users
67 6.3
based on 1 ep. 27 votes

Consensus After 4 Episodes
Declining Declining
... some critics are growing bored

How it's doing: Well enough that it received a full-season order from CBS yesterday. Prior to last night's airing, Vegas was the fall's third highest-rated new drama in the 18-49 demographic—not bad for a series that stars 60-year-old Dennis Quaid, though barely good enough to land in the top 40 among all primetime programs. However, the series hit a new ratings low with last night's fourth episode, and now trails NBC's Parenthood in its time period in the 18-49 demo (though it maintains the lead in total viewers).

About that Metascore: That 67 from critics put Vegas in the middle of CBS's three new fall dramas (trailing Elementary but ahead of the axed Made in Jersey), and it certainly wasn't the season's best-reviewed new drama. Still, about two-thirds of critics enjoyed the pilot (especially its cast) and felt that the show had potential to develop into something interesting down the line.

Episode by episode

Below, we sample comments from critics and recappers after both early and recent episodes of Vegas. When possible, we have used symbols to provide a rough snapshot of week-to-week changes in quality according to each critic:

Improving IMPROVING: Indicates the critic has noted a general improvement in quality
Steady STEADY: Indicates that episode quality has remained steady (which could be good news or bad)
Declining DECLINING: Indicates a general decline in quality in that episode

A.V. Club / Phil Dyess-Nugent

Episode 1

"I don't see it turning into one of those shows that lures people who normally don't watch TV, and it's probably lucky to be part of one of the least interesting slates of new shows in many a moon. But the potential is there." [Grade: B]

Episode 2

Steady "Vegas shows a lot of thought, but unless it starts doing better at fleshing out its ideas and investing them with some passion and wit, it's going to go down as a blueprint for a pretty good show." [Grade: B]

Episode 3

Steady "It's been a disappointment of Vegas so far that it doesn't seem to relish the hedonistic, high-cholesterol accouterments of its setting, the way Mad Men does, and the way that the swaggering, broad-shouldered '80s show Crime Story did." [Grade: B]

Episode 4

Declining "Despite its reputation as the network most in need of a shot of Viagra, CBS doesn't generally make the mistake of building its procedurals around heroes as boringly upright and old-fashioned as this." [Grade: C+]

Blast Magazine / Bill Peloquin

Episode 1

"The premiere of the show focused on a murder case, but there were positive signs that 'Vegas' can and will be more than your run-of-the-mill crime solver." [Grade: 3/5]

Episode 2

Steady "Another decent outing ... After two episodes, it's too early to tell what 'Vegas' can or will be. It's disappointing that the show seems to be heading in a crime-a-week direction rather than striving to be a major-network translation of shows like 'Boardwalk Empire.'" [Grade: 3/5]

Episode 3

Declining "Besides 'Vegas' having no real edge to it, it's too often wincingly melodramatic and downright corny. Much of the cheese comes from the overdone menace of Ralph Lamb, who's frequently offering up horrible one-liners and dramatically lurking in the shadows." [Grade: 2.5/5]

Episode 4

Declining "At this point it's safe to say that the verdict is in. Try as they might, A-listers like Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, and Carrie-Anne Moss just can't save this show from being a disappointment. ... Every character is a walking cliché, every case is a predictable paint-by-number, and the rest of the show is so melodramatic it's often laughable." [Grade: 2/5]

Entertainment Weekly / Ken Tucker

Episode 3

Steady "Vegas is a show that's trying hard to be good. The strain shows; it hasn't gelled yet. This week's third episode added some nice details to the show's mob storyline ... but the depiction of Dennis Quaid's character, reluctant law-man Ralph Lamb, often leads this excellent actor into some silly moments. "

Paste / Adam Vitcavage

Episode 1

"Vegas doesn't play like Mad Men or Boardwalk Empire. Instead it plays like a show that wants to be one of those shows. Vegas needs a lot of work if it wants to be more than a watchable crime drama." [Grade: 7.4/10]

Episode 2

Steady "It's difficult to produce a serialized crime show and mix in the typical procedural approach. Vegas tries to do so and succeeds on many levels. But Vegas has so much more potential to be more than just be another show on the block. However, it's a potential I don't think they'll realize." [Grade: 7.4]

ShowBuzzDaily / Mitch Salem

Episode 1

"As entertaining a the Vegas pilot is, it's also is a little frustrating, because with this kind of talent involved, it could have aimed far higher and probed its characters and fascinating setting more deeply."

Episode 2

Steady "Vegas is quickly starting to have a very familiar feel ... [but it] remains a promising show."

TV Equals / Jessica Breaux

Episode 1

"All in all, I'd say the pilot did a fine job of setting up the series."

Episode 2

Steady "This week's plot, while fairly predictable, was well-executed."

Episode 3

Steady "I enjoyed this episode and I think it laid some foundation for some interesting clashes."

Episode 4

Improving "Vegas is quickly becoming one of my favorite new shows of the season. The writing is solid and the cast was wonderfully chosen."

TV Fanatic / Christine Orlando

Episode 1

"This premiere was all about introducing us to the main characters and I found them intriguing enough to want to turn back in. However, the murder plot felt typical of your standard procedural, simply set 50-plus years in the past." [Grade: 4.2/5]

Episode 2

Steady [Grade: 4.3]

Episode 3

Steady "I can't say Vegas is one of my favorite shows. It's a little too subdued for that but it is solid. It's definitely the cast that keeps me coming back more than the storyline. Michael Chiklis, specifically, is so charismatic in his role as Savino that it's hard to look away." [Grade: 4.2]

Episode 4

Steady "The murder of the week wasn't all that thrilling but it did throw in its fair share of twists." [Grade: 4.3]

Variety / Brian Lowry

Episode 1

"If 'Vegas' is going to hit the jackpot -- or at least avoid becoming a creative bust -- CBS will have to roll the dice a little. Otherwise, despite its glossy surface and enticing playbill, what happens in 'Vegas' might as well stay there."

Episodes 2-4

Declining "It sort of feels like CBS started to take a gamble, and wound up rolling 'Boring.'"

What do you think?

What do you think of Vegas? Is it getting any better or worse as the season progresses? Are you sticking with it?

Comments (5)

  • MaryKay  

    I really like Vegas. It is fun and entertaining. My friends and I all enjoy the show.

  • Anetawe  

    I don't know why a show that finally my husband and I both enjoy may go off the air... It seems like the only ones that stay on are the world coming to an end the fairy tales i grew up with being changed to scare the hell out of kids the characters, the story lines, and the building of Vegas years ago revisited has been thoroughly enjoyable. Aneta Hocking

  • SeniorTVwatcher  

    I really tried to like this show although the constantly frowning Dennis Quaid was getting on my nerves. I also quickly got tired of his younger brother who is too busy getting laid to do his job. The final straw came when the older brother was kidnapped, tortured and then shot the bad guy AND THEN LIED ABOUT IT and covered it up!! That was the end of watching the show! Apparently there are NO good guys anymore.

  • Studebiker  

    A lot of viewers of Vegas are gear heads who like seeing the old cars. So what's the problem with getting the cars right? A scene shows the date being around the fall of 1960 and yet we see late '60's cars and in one episode a hearse built from a late '70's Cad. It can't be that hard to get period cars right can it?

  • Crazye2000  

    When I watched the pilot, I was hopping for something in the range of Mad Men with character development and story telling. Though it seem's Vegas is moving into the predictable crime solving direction. absence of creating interesting moments with the characters, the innovation isn't there.

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