I didn't have time to write a review, but if you've watched this week's Firewall & Iceberg video show, you know I like FOX's "Gang Related."
"Gang Related" comes on strong with a confidence that you don't expect to see from a show premiering a week after the network upfront season. The pilot, written by Chris Morgan and directed by Allen Hughes, is brash, explosive and features a strong cast ably chewing scenery. It is, in short, like a summer movie only on TV.
As often happens with the transition from pilots to series, subsequent episodes maybe don't have quite the same scale, but they still offer tight pacing, terrific use of LA locations and an interestingly twisty narrative focusing on Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez), a cop torn between his gang task force and the gang family (fronted by Cliff Curtis' Javier Acosta) that raised him.
With most of Morgan's credits coming from the big screen, FOX brought in Scott Rosenbaum as showrunner for "Gang Related." While Rosenbaum's more recent credits include "Chuck" and ABC's "V" reboot, when he comes on-board an LA-set cop drama, it's immediately going to raise questions about one thing and one thing only: A little FX drama called "The Shield." The Shawn Ryan-created Emmy winner is one of the genre's pinnacles and Rosenbaum was there from the beginning, rising to the rank of EP and standing with Ryan, Glenn Mazzara, Kurt Sutter and Scott Brazil in the show's creative core.
I got on the phone last week for a lengthy conversation with Rosenbaum about his work on "Gang Related" and, naturally, "The Shield" was where I started and it comes up a lot. But "Gang Related" isn't "The Shield" and it doesn't do much good to compare the two shows, so Rosenbaum discusses many of the other things he tried to explore in his new gig. We discussed the challenges of making a good anti-hero in a post-Vic Mackey/Walter White world, the difficulties of making a network show without any chance for feedback and the advice he got from Kurt Sutter about reading reviews. He also explains FOX's expectations for "Gang Related" given that a 2014-2015 schedule was already announced without "Gang Related" being mentioned.
Click through for the full Q&A. And check out "Gang Related" on Thursday night...