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Friday, January 23, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: Backstrom

BACKSTROM













Starring: Rainn Wilson Genevieve Angelson, Kristoffer Polaha, Page Kennedy, Beatrice Rosen, and Dennis Haysbert

Based on the novel series by Leif G.W. Persson
Created by Hart Henson
Teleplay and Television Story by Hart Henson, Directed by Mark Mylod

THE PREMISE: Backstrom is a new detective drama that brings Rainn Wilson back to TV. Wilson plays Everett Backstrom, an overweight, outspoken, grumpy detective. Many have compared his character to the title character on House and it seems appropriate. He works closely with Detective Nicole Gravely (Genevieve Angelson) and Detective John Almond (Dennis Haysbert). Rounding out the main cast are other co-workers.

THE GOOD: Backstrom left me with a very "meh" reaction, which means it's hard to separate things into good or bad categories for me because I didn't feel like anything was particularly good or particularly bad. I guess I'll start with the areas that I thought were slightly better than others. For starters, Rainn Wilson is solid in the lead role. He's enjoyable to watch and fully commits to the role just as he did for Dwight Schrute. In fact, all the performances are decent and the relationship between Wilson and Genevieve Angelson is interesting to watch as they have a funny back and forth at times.

THE BAD: This is just another by the book crime drama and there's nothing to really set it apart. The case of the week wasn't particularly appealing for a pilot and that's always a bit troubling for me with crime procedurals. It was a very run-of-the-mill story and not very engaging. I also feel like they tried to hammer home Backstrom's bad behavior a bit too much. We get it: he's not healthy, he's very offensive to all types of people, he's a grumpy mess. There were a few too many direct references and it seemed like the show was trying too hard to make him a "type" instead of just showing it naturally.

BOTTOM LINE: I didn't watch House so I can't really compare Backstrom to that, but I don't see this new character developing a cult following like Dr. House did. It's just such an average show and that's a big problem. It's not a great new drama, it doesn't have the potential to be a niche hit or a critical hit, and it's not laughably bad. It's just sort of there and that will make it short lived and pretty forgettable.

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