I guess Providence is a lot more succesful than I realized. I don't watch it, and, until recently, I didn't know anyone who did. But, given that the fall 2001 TV season contains not one, but two, Providence knock-offs, I have to surmise that Providence, like JAG is one of those alternate world smash hits. Earth-2 Superman and his wife Lois Lane (or is it Kent now?) probably sit around and watch nothing but Providence. They are, of course, a Neilsen family, so their super-viewing habits clearly account for the industry perception that the American viewing public needs some more gentle professional dramas about young women balancing careers and dealing with aging parents.
And so we get Crossing Jordan and Philly, two largely interchangable shows with 30-something female protagonists. Both pilot episodes feature the protatgonist woman (both of whom either have or had the surname "Cavanaugh") doing their job (crime scene investigator or defense lawyer), yelling at Kyle Secor, and dealing with parents, all set to a vaguely Irish-sounding score.
Crossing Jordan should be a better show, given the absence of Steven Bochco and his "edgy" style, as well as the slightly less overmined field of forensic science. Unfortunately, Crossing Jordan doesn't seem intent on revelling in the gruesome minutiae of forensic science, which is what makes C.S.I. such a fun show to watch. The plots are, honestly, pretty boring. Last week's episode featured a murder in which we were given three suspects in quick succession with no particular reason to think any of them did it, mostly because the suspects never talked. I suppose they needed to cut those scenes in order to show her talking with her father about his decision to go on a date instead of visiting his dead wife's grave. Bleh.
Surprisingly, Philly isn't quite as bad as it could be. They had the good sense to keep Kyle Secor on in a recurring role, despite the fact that they have him cast as an asshole. They keep the parental interaction to a minimum and, most surprisingly, the plots aren't bad. Granted, I don't watch a lot of courtroom drama shows, but this seems better than my dimly remembered memories of L.A. Law. Not to say I'll go out of my way to watch it, but it will do in a pinch.
Rating: B- (On Average - B for Philly, C+ for Crossing Jordan)Reviewed by Padgett Arango