Monday, February 16, 2009
my favorite martian
speaking of an untenable premise: a present day nyc detective gets hit by a car while pursuing a criminal & comes to in 1973. he remembers his future(like it was his past)& doesn't understand his present(which is his past). or something like that. unbelievably, for at least the first seven episodes, they made this work. i got drawn in not only by the incredible ensemble(harvey keitel, gretchen mol, michael imperioli)but by the story lines, even tho they were pretty much boilerplate procedurals. there were simple touches(the detective dancing w/a new friend at the end of one episode) throughout each of the first episodes that were mysterious enough or dramatic enough to keep me coming back for more. those touches elevated things to at least somewhere above, say, "the mentalist."
i've slowly taken to sam, the detective(given all of our memory issues, who wouldn't be drawn to his situation?). i appreciate the gretchen mol character(a smart woman in a hyper-testosterone environment)& like how they're developing her relationship w/sam. keitel is keitel. this isn't a stretch for him but, hey, it's him on network television. amazing in & of itself. the imperioli character was one-dimensional at first but they're adding/revealing layers. i like the grimy-looking sets & the washed out color scheme. i like the music. for a major network, this is ground-breaking stuff, it seems to me. that's not saying much but still...
i kept thinking that they couldn't sustain this over more than one season &, sure enough, this is a bbc re-do which was only one season long. the premise just can't stand up to more than a season long story arc. they went on an alarmingly long hiatus(nearly two months)& came back w/new episodes two weeks ago. these have taken an odd & problematic turn. that may reflect the difficulty the writers are having moving the plot along or other network behind-the-scenes issues. who knows? i'm hoping they stay true to their original intentions & don't tank this show in desperate attempts at pleasing the network or catching new viewers. i know this is heresy but one season will be just fine.