Take Me to the Pilots '10: NBC's 'Chase'
[As I've already mentioned, and will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
Show: "Chase," NBC
The Pitch: "You've seen US Marshal shows before, but none that were produced by Jerry Bruckheimer."
Quick Response: US Marshals are all the rage on the small screen and "In Plain Sight" and "Justified" have rather dedicated fanbases already in place, fanbases that may not instantly warm to the rather more generic "Chase." From their pilots, "Justified" and "In Plain Sight" were anchored by the performances by Timothy Olyphant and Mary McCormack, clear star turns that declared, "With leads like this, you know we're going to be more than just a 'chase-the-bad-guys' procedural." Instead, "Chase" seems to be declaring, "What's wrong with being just a chase-the-bad-guys procedural?" Although "Chase" features several actors -- Kelli Giddish and Cole Hauser in particular -- who have toplined shows before, no one character stands out in the bland pilot, nor does any one actor. Giddish is presented as the star, but she's hobbled by clumsy dialogue attempting to explain away her toughness. In person, Giddish has a defined attitude and swagger and the writers would be well-advised to follow her around for a few months and learn to mimic her speech patterns and mannerisms. In person, you understand why Kelli Giddish could still become a star, but on screen, she still falls short. None of the other actors make impressions and how could they? In lieu of a script, "Chase" is propelled solely by David Nutter's propulsive direction. But too much action and not enough character is a bad thing for a pilot of this type, because I couldn't figure out what any of the characters contributed to the team and thus couldn't find a reason to care about or understand their procedure. The pilot features "Tarzan" star Travis Fimmel dirtied up and pretty much playing the most evil fugitive in the whole world. The template, one can safely assume, is that "Chase" aims to go down the "Criminal Minds" route of letting otherwise clean-cut, recognizable actors drop by scuzz up their images as the villain-of-the-week. If the series is going to have any ongoing plotlines or character development, the pilot offers no indication. Don't get me wrong: There's room for fast-paced procedurals, but coming after the heavily serialized "Chuck" and "The Event" on Monday night makes "Chase" the outlier. [Not necessarily worth going into detail on for a preview like this, but "Chase" gets points for shooting in Texas, which gives the pilot some visual character.]
Desire To Watch Again: Minimal. Even if done well, this isn't the kind of show I have much interest in and this seems to be done as generically as possible. But I'll still give it a second episode...
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