Saturday, July 31, 2010
Not for review: Fox's "Ride-Along"
"Not for review" is an occasional series of pieces in which I offer my thoughts on the pilots for this year's new shows. These are not reviews, as many of the pilots sent to press aren't final versions. Roles can be recast; scenes can be re-edited and many other changes can be made. These are simply my first impressions based on watching early versions of the shows.
The show:Fox's "Ride-Along"
The premise: Shawn Ryan, creator of FX's brilliant drama "The Shield," turns his eye on a new group of police officers, this time in Chicago. Jarek Wysocki (Jason Clarke) is a local legend and larger-than-life veteran of the Chicago Police Department. He's also fiercely independent and difficult to work with, which presents challenges for his boss (Jennifer Beals) and his new partner (Matt Lauria).
My thoughts: Possibly the best new show I've seen so far. A bit more gimmicky than "The Shield" (characters narrate their own backstories), but just as gritty, intelligent and well-acted. Much like Fox's new series "Lone Star," "Ride-Along" seems a bit ambitious for a network show. There are a lot of characters and serialized plot-lines. It might have played better on cable. Still, Fox could really use a smart, adult drama and I'd bet on this over "Lone Star." Clarke is a charismatic lead, and the show is witty and entertaining. I'd definitely watch it again and, in fact, can't wait until its mid-season premiere.