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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PILOT REVIEW: Lethal Weapon

LETHAL WEAPON













Starring: Damon Wayans, Clayne Crawford, Jordana Brewster, Keesha Sharp, Kevin Rahm

Based on the Screenplay Written by Shane Black
Teleplay by Matt Miller, Directed by McG

It wouldn't be a fall season without a couple adaptations from popular movies. This fall, there are three of them and Lethal Weapon was the first out of the gate. Based on the popular film series starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, the TV version is mostly buddy cop comedy but with a sobering back story. I will start by saying I've never seen one of the movies so I have nothing to compare it to in that way. The cops at the center of the show are Damon Wayans as Roger Murtaugh, a 50 year old cop returning to the job after a heart attack. The by the books cop is paired with the free spirited Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford), who is also returning to the job while working on overcoming terrible grief from the death of his pregnant wife. Rounding out the main cast is Jordana Brewster as psychologist Dr. Cahill, Kevin Rahm as Murtaugh and Riggs' boss, Captain Avery, and Keesha Sharp as Murtaugh's wife, Trish.

I was surprised at how many emotional moments were packed into a show that's conceived as and promoted as a buddy cop comedy. I don't mind the backstories and they were essential to pairing these two characters up but I felt like there were some depressing moments, especially with Riggs, that won't be what the show is like and it made for a downer pilot at times even with the requisite action and comedy scenes. It felt at times, especially in the hospital scenes at the beginning, that it was taking itself too seriously with those unnecessary and over-dramatic slow motion moments.

The sleek looking pilot took awhile to get itself going but once it did, it's clear that this show's strength is the two leads and the chemistry between them. Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford made for an interesting pair and the dynamics between them were enjoyable, especially in the first scene at the house and especially their explanation to their boss about what happened on the Grand Prix track. While he's playing it well, I certainly hope they let Clayne Crawford's character be a little less emotionally tortured in future weeks. Not that I plan to watch it, but I wouldn't be too interested in watching a character who wants to kill himself in a show like this. Jordana Brewster has been good in other things but she was barely used here. Keesha Sharp made more of an impression in the pilot with a warm personality and good chemistry with Wayans.

I know there are criticisms of shows that are all fun and no substance but that's really what people are looking for in a show like Lethal Weapon. People are looking for popcorn fun and that's what this show needs to provide on a weekly basis. It's basically a cop procedural but if they can play up the comedy and camaraderie between Wayans and Crawford, then the show will be in good shape. It looked like an expensive pilot with the elaborate car chase and big scenes. I would think it will be hard to sustain that in future weeks. Ultimately, this is the next in a long line of movies turned into TV shows. It's not the best, it's not the worst. It's one of those shows that's just kind of there.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Doubtful. Like Kevin Can Wait, I didn't hate it but I don't have the time to keep shows like this in my regular weekly lineup.

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