Fox unveiled two new series this week, and both were more or less critically praised. My quick thoughts on each:
“The Chicago Code:” I wasn’t blown away by Fox’s new cop drama Monday, but I liked it well enough. Pilots are always packed with too much exposition and awkward character introductions, and this was no different. But I’ll forgive that and assume the story will flow better once the characters are well established.
Jason Clarke was solid as Wysocki, the most honest cop on the force, but his inability to hold a partner for more than a day or two was a total cliche, and a “Murphy Brown” cliche at that. It’s like the writers were trying too hard to make him quirky. I thought Jennifer Beals was surprisingly good as the police commissioner (though my girlfriend pointed out how she was overdoing her Chicago accent) and Delroy Lindo was great at the charismatic but corrupt politician. Also nice to see Luke Cafferty from “Friday Night Lights” as Wysocki’s partner. Nice unexpected plot twist at the end, too.
Overall, I thought it was a good cop drama — for a network. It doesn’t match up to past cable offerings such as “The Shield,” “The Wire” or even “Brotherhood,” Clarke’s last series, which was similarly about political corruption. Granted, those comparisons are unfair, since network shows have to be significantly more toned down in terms of language and violence. Still, it’s hard to have watched those and go back to what seems like a watered-down version.
On the bright side, I liked how the cinematography made Chicago a character, the dialogue was sharp, the acting was great and I’m a big fan of showrunner Shawn Ryan. I’m open to where “The Chicago Code” is going, and I’d watch it again. Not my favorite new show of the year (“Lone Star” was more intriguing), but a solid one.
“Traffic Light:” Fox’s new sitcom didn’t do much for me. The group-of-friends-in-various-stages-of-relationships theme has been done to death, and this didn’t have much new to offer. It was amusing enough, but not exactly laugh-out-loud funny (I did like the recurring traffic cop though).
Overall, it seemed like a watered-down version of FX’s “The League,” which I like a lot. One thing that bugged me: The fact that all the men had to lie to the women so they could hang out and be dudes. Seems like another stupid cliche that only happens in sitcoms. Maybe I just know a lot of super cool chicks, but in my social circle, girlfriends and wives and just-friends are all able to hang out with the fellas and everyone still has fun. “The League” reflects that (and Kevin’s wife, Jenny, is one of the funniest characters), so does ABC’s “Cougar Town” and so did TBS’s late great “My Boys.” The idea of women as fun-sucking harpies is really immature and lazy.
Would I watch again? Ehhh, if I was bored on a Tuesday night, I might give it another try. It hasn’t joined my must-watch list though.
So what’d you think? Did you like either show? Was there enough to make you want to watch again?