Cop Shows Highlight Of New Fall TV Season
LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:
This week marks the unofficial start of the new television season. The fall lineup includes bootleggers, zombies and island cops. And here to talk about what's worth watching is Randee Dawn, TV critic for the Hollywood Reporter. Good morning.
Ms. RANDEE DAWN (Hollywood Reporter): Good morning.
WERTHEIMER: Let's start with the networks: "Law and Order" is gone, and I have to say, I will miss it. Can anything replace it?
Ms. DAWN: Well, "Law and Order: Los Angeles" can replace it. It's like the hydra. You cut off one head and another one shows up across the country. Los Angeles is going to be the new home for the "Law and Order" format, which has been struggling - and its "Criminal Intent" format - but "Special Victims Unit" is doing all right. So now we have the new one to replace the very long-running - 20 seasons - one that was based in New York.
WERTHEIMER: Well, there are more cop shows - "Blue Bloods," what about that, with Tom Selleck? It's one of those where law enforcement is the family business. Is it any good?
Ms. DAWN: You know, I'm always happy to see another New York cop show now that "Law and Order" is gone. You've got two Sopranos writers who are coming over to put together "Blue Bloods." And they know the area, they know crime. And the last time we had a "Sopranos" writer who really hit big, it was Matthew Weiner, who puts together "Mad Men."
WERTHEIMER: And the channel that brings you "Mad Men" is now bringing you "The Walking Dead"?
Ms. DAWN: Yes. You can argue that some of the characters on "Mad Men" are the walking dead, but this is actually about zombies.
(Soundbite of TV show, "The Walking Dead")
Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (as character) You know about the dead people, right?
Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (as character) I saw a lot of dead, out on the loading dock, even tossed down the stairwell.
Unidentified Man #1: (as character) Not the ones they put down. The walkers(ph).
Ms. DAWN: "The Walking Dead" is based off of a really excellent graphic novel-slash-comic series. And it's being put on by Frank Darabont. He did "The Shawshank Redemption," he did "The Green Mile," he also did Stephen King's "The Mist." He knows how to tell a ripping yarn.
A virus has transmitted a lot of people into zombies. The world has gone to heck. And we have a cop who is desperately trying to find his family and it's about how he changes.
WERTHEIMER: "Lost" is lost, of course.
Ms. DAWN: Yes.
WERTHEIMER: What's coming on to replace "Lost"?
Ms. DAWN: Wouldn't the networks love to know? NBC is really banking on a show called "The Event." They won't tell anybody what the event is but apparently the event is a big event.
(Soundbite of ad)
Unidentified Man #3: In our history, there have been few events that have shaped mankind. The next event is upon us.
Ms. DAWN: If you've seen some of the promos for the show, they want it to be mysterious, they want it to be enigmatic, they want it to be something that people will do research on and build Web pages. But there's a certain tone-deafness to that. You don't get the next "Lost" unless you're not looking for the next "Lost."
WERTHEIMER: I've been seeing mostly bad reviews of new comedy shows. Is there something that we ought to be looking out for?
Ms. DAWN: Well, I think comedy is tough because so many people want it to be more sophisticated than it is, but at the same time some of the biggest comedies are the least sophisticated - i.e. the ones that come out of Chuck Lorre's head. He's done "Two and a Half Men," "Big Bang Theory." Those are very, very basic, traditional comedies. He's got "Mike and Molly" coming up...
WERTHEIMER: Two slightly overweight people named Mike and Molly?
Ms. DAWN: Yes, exactly, finding love, one hopes. Other comedies, you know, there's a show called "Outsourced" that's got a little bit of controversy attached to it. It has to do with a guy who, in order to keep his job, has to move to India, where it has been outsourced. And he's kind of the fish out of water. And there seems to be a sense that maybe this is making fun of Indians. This is not - you know, this is not honoring the culture.
(Soundbite of TV show, "Outsourced")
Mr. JOSH HAMILTON (Actor): (as Todd Anderson) I'm looking forward to working with all of you as your manager.
Mr. BHUVNESH SHETTY (Actor): (as Manmeet) Hi. I'm Manmeet.
Mr. HAMILTON: Man meat.
Mr. SHETTY: Yes, Manmeet.
Mr. HAMILTON: Your name is Man Meat?
Mr. SHETTY: Yes.
Mr. HAMILTON: Wow. Must be hard to chat on the Internet...
Ms. DAWN: Based on what I've seen, I think it actually looks pretty funny. Now, let me say, I'm not Indian, so maybe I'm not as culturally sensitive as I ought to be in this area. But you have shows every so often that do offend but still make their point. I mean, the great "All in the Family" routinely offended everybody.
WERTHEIMER: If you were going to, like, pick the best new comedy show, what would you pick?
Ms. DAWN: I would actually point to "Raising Hope" on Fox. It's a show where a family has a baby thrust upon them and they almost can't even take care of themselves. The guy behind it is a man named Greg Garcia, and you might recognize him because he created "My Name is Earl," and that had a very quirky, unusual sense of humor. It wasn't stuck in a studio with a laugh track or an audience, but it still is a very funny, funny show.
And I think "Raising Hope" gives me that feeling as well, so I'm really I've got a lot of hope for that show.
WERTHEIMER: Thank you very much.
Ms. DAWN: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: Randee Dawn is a television critic at the Hollywood Reporter.
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