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Monday, March 27, 2017

PILOT REVIEW: Shots Fired

SHOTS FIRED














Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Stephen Moyer, Will Patton, Mack Wilds, Aisha Hinds, DeWanda Wise, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Conor Leslie

Created by Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood
Written by Gina Prince-Bythewood & Reggie Rock Bythewood, Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood

Shots Fired is a new event series on FOX that turns a hot button political issue upside down when a black cop shoots an unarmed white man in a small South Carolina town. An investigator and special prosecutor (Sanaa Lathan and Stephan James) are sent to investigate and uncover layers of racial and societal issues in the small town. The large ensemble includes recurring roles by Helen Hunt as the governor, Jill Hennessy as the victim's mother, and Richard Dreyfuss (not seen in the pilot).

I think this is an interesting concept and I loved the title sequence and the edginess it was portraying. But the actual show felt a little plodding and more like it was trying to be important rather than actually being important. The opening was promising with a scene that's become all too familiar in recent years but with a switch-up with regards to race. Already, I felt like that was a compelling story. Then I felt even better in the first scene with Helen Hunt who was great to see back on TV. She's a pro and it showed even in a fairly short scene.

But after that, it started to lose its way and that's disappointing given the storyline and the stellar cast. I could care less about the personal lives of Lathan and James' characters and the pilot spent far too much time on that. This is being billed as an "event series" which makes me think that should a renewal happen, it would not be the same characters anyway. So why are we worrying so much about dealing with drinking problems, family problems, and love lives? It just doesn't seem all that necessary for a show like this.

I'm still curious to see how this is going to shake out and what's going to happen to the case but the pilot makes me wary that the people behind this show are not smart enough to write something well written enough to match the prestige it is obviously trying for. This is a show that's trying so hard to be important and its obvious attempts do nothing but derail its ambition. Between this cast and this premise, it deserves better.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Yes, I'll watch one more to see if it can find its way plus I'm curious to see Richard Dreyfuss (if he shows up in episode two).

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