Thursday, October 25, 2007

Let me tell you what's wrong with LIFE....

So I've been watching this new NBC show, Life, on Wednesday nights. Now, truth be told, it has more to do with the lead actor, and the fact that Alan Arkin is part of the cast, but there you are; I watch it. It's the story of a former policeman who was framed and sentenced to life for a crime he didn't commit and then, after 12 years in prison, is found innocent and awarded $50 million in an wrongful imprisonment suit and been reinstated on the police force. He's back on the force because he wants to find out who framed him and why. The premise, I thought, was that his experience had given him a new found way of looking at "life" helped him to solve crimes using unconventional methods.
The first show was good. It didn't give us too much information, just enough to intrigue and keep the audience coming back. I did. But now, after 4 shows, I'm beginning to think the original character has been lost along the way. Charlie Crews is supposed to have found some sort of Zen-like peace in prison and is now this changed person. He has a lot of money but doesn't care about it. He lives in an empty mansion with his ex-con friend, Arkin. The mansion is empty because, like I said, the money doesn't mean anything to him. Or at least, because he's found this inner peace, he doesn't want to money to mean anything to him. But lately he just seems detached and almost bored and lazy.
The guy struts around like a Miami Vice wanna-be. He poses while wearing expensive suits, expensive watches, expensive shoes and expensive sunglasses. Which doesn't make sense to me. If the guy was an ordinary police detective and then in prison for 12 years, where did he suddenly develop this killer style? Did he read a lot of GQ in the slammer? Supposedly, he didn't even know cell phones had cameras but he knows the difference between a tailored suit or one bought off the rack? No. No. That doesn't ring true.
Also, the crime he was convicted of was the murder of a family. A brutal, bloody slaughter. Why would anyone think he did this? Why would everyone he knew, his partner, his wife, his fellow officers, be convinced that he would be capable of such a serial killer like crime? This has never been explained and it needs to be.
And another thing, in the first couple of episodes, he solved crimes because he saw things differently. He was like a hyper aware detective. He used his new found inner peace, to ask questions the other detectives didn't think to ask or to notice things no one else would. But lately, he just seems to be along for the ride. He and his partner stumble across clues or "get lucky." Boring. And about his partner, she was really engaging in the pilot. She's a a recovering addict being given another chance. It was also implied that she's also expected to keep an eye on Crews and report back on him, if he does anything wrong. There are people on the force that would rather he not be there. But this angle has been dropped on recent shows.
Anyway, in the pilot, there was this scene where they break into some suspects house and she gets covered in cocaine powder. She freaks and jumps in the shower and washes it off while her new partner, Charlie, watches in surprise. It was a great scene which said a lot about the character and her addiction problems. Unfortunately, we haven't really visited this subject much in recent shows. At least, not with that intensity and depth.
Now about last night's show and why I don't know if I can keep watching LIFE. The show starts with a woman, wearing angel wings, falling out of a window and hitting the roof of a car. When they get to the scene, it's pretty obvious which window she came out of,but they never discuss the fact that the woman didn't scream as she fell. Was she drugged? Was it a suicide? No, immediately they assume murder. The way they discover the identity of the woman is ridiculous. First, in Los Angeles, where I live, if a woman fell from the sky wearing angel wings, I doubt the police station would be full of weirdos claiming to know the woman. But, in this episode, their offices are full of people, all claiming to know the woman. Crews notices one meek guy allowing everyone to cut in front of him in line and of course, he's the woman's husband. What develops is a connection with the Russian Mob and the introduction of a Russian bad guy, who can't be arrested because he's an informant for our government. The Russian bad guy was the best thing in the show.
But the breaking point for me was when they were trying to get some information from a friend of the deceased Russian angel. They put this huge picture of the deceased, that they'd found in a suspect's home, on a chair directly in front of the friend. Then they left the room and monitored her reaction from the camera in the room. This woman, who was not chained to the table, just sat there staring at this picture. For hours, as the detectives just watched and waited for her to crack. Which of course, she finally did. She started crying. RIDICULOUS!!! The woman could have just turned the picture around, but no, she sits there and faces it. STUPID. STUPID. Why didn't Crews use his new Zen insight to get the information he needed that way. Instead we are forced to watch a scene where a woman stares a picture and the detectives stare at a woman staring at a picture. BORING.
At the end of the show, the Russian Mob guy calls Crewes and for some reason, gives him a clue that leads to his former partner. Gee. How convenient. Wouldn't it have been better if Crewes, because he sees things differently now, would has noticed things about his former partner that he never noticed before. And that these things would have led him to discover the clue himself? Isn't he a detective?
That's all I have to say about that. Oh, except I'll keep watching because of my aforementioned fascination with the lead actor, who by the way, is English pretending to be American. His American accent isn't very good. It sounds like he's from "Joisey." But I can put up with that. It's the bad writing and confusing characterizations that will drive me away.

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