Wednesday, June 12, 2013

King & Maxwell Premiere

Although I was unsure about this show from its initial previews, after I learned a little more it seemed to be a straightforward crime TV show that stared a familiar face, Jon Tenney (The Closer), so I decided to check it out.  I have to say that I was disappointed; while it is a straightforward crime TV show it's not much more.  It lacks a specific niche, for instance Castle has a bestselling author, or The Mentalist has a carnival trickster, or even Elementary's new twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes. That being said there are some high and low points that, depending on your taste, might sway you towards a yay or nay for this new drama from TNT.

Lets start with the characters.  King is a former secret service agent and lawyer turned PI due to failures in his service record, i.e. the person he was supposed to protect got assassinated.  He is calm, patient and he uses deductive skills to guide him through a case.  Throughout the episode he was one step ahead of Maxwell and constantly rubbing it in.  Making bets about what would happen and when asking what she thought, purposely choosing the opposite which always turned out in his favor.  This made her look like an idiot and not well suited for work as a PI.  Some may consider this an obnoxious trait but for me it gave him a cute charm, like an annoying little brother, which made his attraction to her seem odd and misplaced.  Maxwell is also a washed up secret service agent turned PI because of her failures on the job, i.e. the person she was sworn to protect was kidnapped.  So they should make the perfect underdog team, right?  I had trouble understanding why they were partners or how they were drawn together except for King's few comments reveling an attraction to Maxwell.  Even that was cryptic as he is not pursuing her, he quickly shakes off his feelings to focus on the case, but even seeing an ex-boyfriend of Maxwell irks him.  In many other shows similar to this one,again Castle, The Mentalist, Perception etc. we know why the partners are together from the start.  I am sure that in time we will find out what drew them together and why they decided to go into business but for now it creates a huge gap in the story and makes it hard to love them, even like them, understand them and connect with them, all of which are important aspects to me.  A big issue in my opinion was Maxwell's recklessness.  Sure, showing high action car chases and intense shooting scenes is an important factor in this genre of television, but her actions and her personality don't match up.  We see someone who likes to row to work, a serene activity much like meditation whereas someone so impulsive would like to box or even run.  Her whole personality is an enigma to me and not the logical Sudoku like puzzle that is solvable, more like a misprint in a newspaper that calls for a retraction.  Atop that private investigators have no badge, no ability to cause blocks worth of car accidents and shoot into the night at a fleeing car, yet she is able to do all these things without any repercussion of the law.  It just doesn't add up.  Plus she seems to have no intellect or detective skills, more like hired muscle.     

I found most of the dialogue to be of poor quality, cheesy and forced.  A lot of it was wasted explaining what was going on in the case, walking the viewers through, like a Disney film.  The dialogue didn't help with their personas either.  While King had some entertaining bits, Maxwell came off as reserved maybe even shy and her actions were more relatable to a spy.  While this could be compared to Burn Notice's Michael Weston whose character comes off a bit shallow in the intellect department, his vast knowledge of spy related tactics makes up for it and it is his companion Fiona is the reckless one and her personality, body language and dialogue screams it.  Similarly in Burn Notice they go about their destructive escapades without repercussion from the police but this is because they are good at hiding in the shadows.  After Maxwell roars through the capital causing destruction she simply waits for, or even calls the police leaving no room for plausible deniability and frankly should be in jail. 

With its Catch Me if you Can inspired, or just downright stolen, intro you would think they would be a little less brazen and a lot more stealthy.  Altogether this show was more like a stream of good ideas horribly put together, like squirting different shades of paint on the Mona Lisa.  With the dialogue of a C-list movie, the plot of an easily solvable children's puzzle and the character development of well, an idea that was never refined.  Maybe I'll learn to love it but this premiere was a total flop.

I like to be mystified, pulled in, begging for more and at the least entertained.  Instead I was perplexed, bored and a little bit angry for wasting my time.  So if you like fast car scenes and shoot 'em up gun play, you might find this entertaining.  If you're into crime dramas and whodunit's you'll probably have it solved in the first half and have to listen to them walk you through it for the second. If you want to  fall in love with the characters you might have a hard time figuring out who they even are.  But I'll keep a close eye on the developments week to week and let you know how their story unfolds - if it even does.    

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