Review this tv show
Sep 21, 2010http://tvtastic.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/outlaw-nbc-friday-1000-p-m/ Before we go any further with this review let me just say that I didn't have to even watch this mess to know how awful it would be but I did it anyway. Not because I wanted to, but because I felt that it was only fair that I exhibit some level of integrity with a review considering that the producers exhibited none when they created Outlaw. I've made it clear that I'm skeptical of legal procedurals but this is downright embarrassing. It really doesn't matter what your politics are, the ridiculous preachiness of this entire show is so over-the-top as to make the show utterly unwatchable. This is exactly why audiences stopped watching Boston Legal three seasons in despite the fact that James Spader and William Shatner and the rest of the cast gave outstanding performances (Law & Order suffered from this problem as well).
I'm sorry, but seriously, who is this approach appealing to? All this does is completely alienate conservatives and moderates in the audience and with progressives, you're just preaching to the choir. The biggest point of all is that audiences in general are sick and tired of this crap from television and film. They want to be entertained, not lectured to about social justice... especially not on Friday at 10:00 p.m. If they want political partisanship they'll turn on FOX News or MSNBC during prime-time.
Beyond the preachiness, the show is completely legally inaccurate and ridiculously clichÃ©d. Statements like, "The whole legal system is based on protecting that one innocent person that's been falsely accused," "You lawyers are all the same. This is just a game to you. You make me sick," and "You can't put the system before a man's life," permeate the script in place of actual dialogue and original plots.
To make matters worse the cases aren't even compelling. They are incredibly contrived and stolen from old Law & Order episodes and you pretty much have the result of the case figured out within the first twenty minutes and of course each episode is replete with the surprise evidence and the almost Scooby Doo-like conclusion ("...and I would have gotten away it, too if it weren't for that meddling former Supreme Court Justice!"). There are no surprises here whatsoever.
Speaking of clichÃ©s, the ensemble cast couldn't be more ridiculous and - again, I'll use that word - cartoonish. Think of it like this: one day the casts of NCIS, Shark and C.S.I. were all involved in a bizarre cloning experiment like in the 1988 Ivan Reitman film Twins, starring Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. They put all of their DNA together in a blender and it resulted in two casts, one that we'll call the "Julius" cast, the other we'll call the "Vincent" cast. Well, apparently the Vincent cast - the one that was the result of all of the leftover crap - systematically smothered the Julius cast with a pillow and burned their corpses and went to work on this show. The characters are lame and the acting is horrific.
The only reason to even consider watching this show is for Smits, who always puts in a solid performance and actually pulls off the Garza character quite convincingly but he simply cannot carry this bad show that spends far more time on the proverbial soap box then it does attempting to entertain the audience and when I say far more time, I mean it's a 90% to 10% ratio. It's kind of like when you get suckered into go to an Amway meeting for the promise of a free meal but with the Amway presentation you have the choice to get up and walk away after your meal. If you watch this show, you have to wait for the entertainment portion to enter sporadically throughout the hour. NBC must be aware of how bad this show is which would explain why the put it in during the absolute worst time slot in the prime-time schedule. I think it's obvious that they are attempting to bury this show so it didn't stain what is otherwise an amazing Fall prime-time lineup. So for my closing argument: Hollywood, keep your politics to yourself, at least with prime-time television, and just create compelling drama that ALL audiences can enjoy. The Prosecution rests.… Expand
Oct 17, 2010What a disaster. The pilot was laughably bad, and the thought of a Supreme Court justice stepping down to take on small cases is simply asinine. Jimmy Smits and Jesse Bradford are clearly talented actors, but they have absolutely nothing to work with here. Very deservedly cancelled.
Sep 18, 2010I taped the first episode on my DVR and although I've never done this before, I actually stopped watching 15 or 20 minutes in, deleted it, and deleted the timer to record future episodes. I'm a big Jimmy Smits fan and although the show is clearly geared towards a more liberal audience than me (that has never bothered me before), it was the ridiculous premise, character set-up, and acting that turned me off. Avoid this show. You won't be missing much as I doubt it will be around long.… Collapse
There's not a hint of logic in the procedural aspect of the show. The development and the resolution of tonight's case, in which a man on death row is trying to prove he isn't a cop killer, represent the sloppiest, most factory-like TV writing there is. And there's not much realism afoot, either.
This series will require better scripts than the death-penalty pilot one, and those kids will have to establish personalities vivid enough to hold the screen with Smits' powerful one.
However you view it--mediocre "House" rip-off, improbable law show or "Like Father, Like Son 2: Judicial Boogaloo"--you have to like Jimmy Smits an awful lot to make Outlaw a Friday appointment. I'm as devoted an "NYPD Blue" fan as they come, and even I'm not willing to make that leap.