With a flurry of season finales currently coinciding with a slate of series premieres, this seems like a good opportunity to chime in on how some series fared, and how some new ones look. Next up: “Detroit 1-8-7.”
I almost didn’t bother writing this review for ABC’s new cop drama “Detroit 1-8-7” because I turned it off after about 20 minutes. Really, that says it all. It’s disappointing; I had pretty high hopes, and the previews made it look like a blend of “NYPD Blue” and “Homicide: Life on the Street.” Turns out, it’s more like “NYPD Blue”-lite. It’s not terrible, and 20 years ago it might have even been groundbreaking. But it brings absolutely nothing new to the table.
What I liked: Um, nothing, really. Although while it was on, I was able to check my e-mail and make lunch (I recorded it and watched this afternoon). So it freed up time to be productive.
What I didn’t like: It wasn’t so much didn’t like as didn’t care. It’s a police procedural. And from “Adam 12” to “The Rookies” to “Hill Street Blues” to “NYPD Blue” to “Homicide” to “The Shield” to “The Wire,” I’ve seen it all before (and the ante has been raised high by those last two shows). “Detroit 1-8-7” dutifully paints by numbers, following the Generic Cop Drama formula. But after 30 years, that formula is boring, predictable and tired. The cast is fine, with Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos,” “Life on Mars”) and James McDaniel (the lieutenant from “NYPD Blue”) in stock roles as jaded veteran homicide detectives, working with other stock characters, including the ever-present new guy to the unit who throws up when he sees his first corpse. It’s shot in a pseudo-documentary style so things look hyper-real, but that, too, has been done to death in previous shows. A show like this might have been edgy and won acclaim in 1992; but cop dramas have evolved since then. This just feels lazy.
A couple of amusing asides: “187” isn’t even a police code in Detroit; that’s a California thing (murder is state penal code 187). And Detroiters are up in arms (no, really!) over one character calling a canned beverage “soda” instead of “pop.” Small things, sure, but the small things do count for something.
Bottom line: I didn’t even make it through the first episode; my odds of ever watching again are about nil.
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