Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day One Hundred and Eight - Breakout Kings: Season 2, Episode 1, "How many different procedurals are there? As well count the stars in the sky."

First Bones, then Numb3rs... now Netflix wants me to watch Breakout Kings, the ill-fated "cons-as-cops" procedural that only lasted halfway into its second season.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that television has a glut of procedurals. Why on earth do we need six versions of Law & Order and four of CSI? Two NCIS's and just as many that don't share a name but at least share the same universe like Bones and The Finder.

Most of them are available on Netflix, by the way.

Anyways, the point is... even though there's an overabundance of procedurals, I'm kind of bummed that Breakout Kings got cancelled. I'd watched the first season on Netflix about half a year ago and, while it's certainly rough, loved two characters enough that I wanted to see it play out.

Those characters are, of course, former wunderkind psychologist Lloyd Lowery (Jimmi Simpson) and mousey librarian type Julianne Simms (Brooke Nevin). I love the first because he plays just my kind of character, the overly intelligent, but socially inept, academic burnout... and I love the second because she's just so darn cute as a foil for the former.

Anyways, the SECOND (and final) season of Breakout Kings finally posted in Netflix and I was in the mood to see where these people were heading. The day-to-day, episode-to-episode mysteries don't matter to me... just character progression.

And that's sort of the trap of procedurals.

I remember watching the original Law & Order for the relationships between DA Jack McCoy and his ADA... between CSI's Grissom and Sara Sidle... the constant flirtations between Abby/McGee and Ziva/Tony on NCIS.

Here, the opening episode of Breakout King's second season feels more like a soft reset. True, only one character is really lost and they wait until the end of the episode, but it really has the air of studio executive meddling. The sort of  "we need to rework these characters" vibe. Lloyd and Jules seem much more prominent now (which makes me happy) and Shea seems marginalized.

If it continues like this for the remaining 10 episodes of the truncated season, I can understand why the ratings might've dropped (or risen). They tinkered... and it didn't pay off.

The mystery itself, I could care less about. A pair of rapists outwit the Kings crew at almost every opportunity and, when they are finally cornered, manage to easily turn the tables on our heroes and steal away... well, one of them does anyway. It's a Pyrrhic victory at best, but at least nothing horrible happened to the college coed victim.

I very much feel like the writers rushed the episode out of necessity... being given a last minute ultimatum to kill someone off and doing so sloppily.

There needed to be more cuts to show where the rest of the team was, not have a good 2/3rds go missing during the key moment when the heroes of the moment confront the armed and dangerous serial rapists/murderers.

What we got was NOT that.

Ah well, I guess. At least I'll be able to enjoy more Lloyd/Jules interaction for the final 10... but, still, it's disappointing. But them's the breaks.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes.

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