For those of you out there who are as overly committed (as I am)to watching every possible new fall show, you will have noticed that NBC, in an attempt to juice as much viewership as possible out of the Olympics, is flooding the airwaves with their new shows well in advance of the competition. While the numbers are good, NBC may have wanted to realize that getting a huge market share might not be beneficial when you really have nothing good to offer.
Aside from the exceedingly horrible Father of the Pride, NBC seems intent in wallowing in mediocrity this year - LAX being the latest example. Most of the show feels lifted from other, (arguably) better shows - lots of walking-and-talking shots (West Wing, ER), endless musical montages (Cold Case), assorted sexual tension among coworkers and pervasive wackiness among incidental characters (altogether too many to mention, let's go with Moonlighting, though that implies significantly too much quality) The show's grab-bag approach to tone applies to content, as the pilot contains about 5 or 6 plotlines, which seems a tad overambitious for a pilot episode.
I'm not sure if the overstuffed feeling of the episode is the reason I am complete disinterested in any of the characters here. Certainly, I would not consider myself a fan of either Heather Locklear or Blair Underwood. I'm not sure I've ever regularly watched a series of which Ms. Locklear was a cast member (aside from some occasional viewing of T.J. Hooker as a very young kid), so I don't bring the same baggage (negative or positive) that others might bring to the series. Without the trans-textual context, I find her to be barely acceptable as a protagonist of a series, particularly one who's supposed to be overly professional and competitive, since she aggressively exudes the air of a moron. Blair Underwood is fine, I guess, though utterly devoid of any personality or charisma (for all I know, he's a lively, likeable fellow in person, and his on-screen persona is a carefully crafted piece of acting) The supporting cast was, again, vaguely tolerable, but completely forgettable.
The really alarming aspect of all of this is that this is probably the third best new show NBC has aired so far this year.
Rating: C (Frantic, yet dull)Reviewed by Padgett Arango