22 July 2012

COMMON LAW: It Needs Just One (Common) Denominator

I've been catching up on Common Law these past few days. Initially, I abandoned the show after the pilot episode left me unimpressed.

For starters, the guy on the right? Warren Kole? Comes off to me as a toned-down Horatio Caine from CSI Miami. He's got the same swagger and sass. Only, like Horatio, he's the only one who thinks he's cool, you know what I mean?

The guy on the left, Michael Ealy? I've seen him on The Good Wife and his character there isn't well-liked. Here on Common Law, his character screams, "Like me! Like me! Like me!"

It was easy for me to detach from the show because there two aren't exactly leading men material, the way I like my lead stars on TV.

It was disappointing really, coz I like most of USA Network's show. They're not heavy. They're fun. They promote escapism and feed on guilty pleasures. By these standards, I was not expecting a show that's written to court the critics or the awards.

And the characters on USA Network are consciously placed in a box. They all go by one formula --- with leads who throw the wittiest lines, or manage to look really cool and composed despite being grazed by a gunshot or something. Whatever. They're just ultra cool.

Charisma is the number one requirement in USA Network. When I didn't find that in these two leads during the pilot viewing,  I decided there's no point to proceed with the show.

But here I am....catching up.

One reason why I changed my mind and did that is because, frankly.... I ran out of new programs to watch. :P And also because, I chanced upon a piece that praised it for being funny, I got curious.

So, did giving it a chance help change my mind about the Common Law?

Here's the thing...

While I think the show is "funny" and "fun to watch"(after getting past the pilot, that is), the lead characters, I discovered, aren't the only problems of this series.

I'm already on Episode 9 and I think it wouldn't matter if I watched Episode 3 first, then move to Episode 7 next. The show doesn't have an anchor. Meaning, there's no underlying story that will reel the viewer in and hope that this goes on for three more seasons. White Collar and Burn Notice, two of USA Network's biggest shows, have it. Maybe the anchor will come in the 10th or 11th episode, if I wait a few weeks longer.  But still, at this point, every episode in Common Law is pretty much... a filler.

Common Law is about two cops, partners in fact, who don't get along.  But in order for them to work well together, their boss forces them to go into very unconventional "couples therapy" sessions.

My other problem with the show is that it cannot....uh, "marry" (if I have to use a more appropriate word!) the concept of cops going into couples therapy well. It's either the writers should just stick to purely doing a cop series, or choose to go with a series about couples therapy... with people who happen to be working as cops.

One or the other. Not both. Because, as good as that idea is, nothing is happening with both storylines going at the same time.

I admit, I have more fun watching Common Law when it's their therapy sessions. Maybe that's because I like their therapist a lot on this show (played by Sonya Walger). Or maybe because I actually like Travis and Wes better when they're not being cops. Their banter is funnier, their chemistry (and friction) is more evident and natural, and there's more story here than when they have to go out on the streets and be detectives.

Does that make any sense?

Have you been watching Common Law and liking it more than I do?

I'm sticking around till the end of the season, though. Coz, like I said...there's not a lot on TV right now. If there were, I'd have already used common judgement and ditch this show for good.