Movable Type 3.2
July 23, 2010
The Bridge 1.3: "The Fat Lady Sings the Blues"
Oh, The Bridge. You were so promising, and yet you're already gone, and yes, I'm still bitter. (The news stories said the show was being cancelled immediately, but my TV listings still show a new episode for tomorrow night, so. We'll see.) I'm not going to bother writing too much about the plot of an already-cancelled show here, but this episode featured more of what I liked about the first two: complicated, sometimes subtle plots. A lot going on at once. People with mixed feelings and conflicted emotions. Real, believable relationships of all sorts between the characters. (I still really like Frank and Tommy's partnership, and am happy that it's continuing into the union situation.) Aaron Douglas being surprisingly hot, and getting all the girls. I really, really enjoyed seeing Douglas as Frank here. It's a complex role - tough and self-assured, and yet vulnerable and sometimes insecure, and above all completely sincere, but pragmatic - and Douglas plays all the dimensions perfectly. I really hope we get to see more of this, somehow.
July 22, 2010
Farewell, Frank Leo
The Bridge was one of my favorite new summer shows, but, as we all saw coming when CBS stupidly put it on Saturday nights, no one watched it and it has been cancelled. (I still have episode 3 on the TiVo and will review it for you anyway, darn it.) I'm annoyed, because I thought this was way better than Rookie Blue, which has already been renewed for a second season. But apparently I'm the only one who felt that way. My only hope is that because it seems twelve episodes have already aired in Canada, they'll show up on DVD here eventually.
July 20, 2010
The Bridge 1.1-1.2: "The Red Door; Paint It Black"
Toronto cops are taking over TV! Or at least that's how it seems, between The Bridge and Rookie Blue. Of the two shows, The Bridge is definitely the one that caught my attention, so it's unfortunate that CBS seems to be burning it off on Saturday nights in the summer. Want to know why I liked it? (Including spoilers for the first two episodes, which I'm writing about it together because CBS aired them in a two-hour block.) After the jump!
First of all: Frank Leo. I could very well be forgetting someone, but I'm going to go ahead and say that he's the most interesting and complex cop* on TV right now. I always liked Aaron Douglas on Battlestar Galactica, and thought he was best in his turn as a labor organizer for a few episodes while they were on New Caprica. Here, as Frank Leo, he gets to play a version of that character all the time, and I love it. He's working on behalf of (what he sees as) the side of Good, but he's not particularly concerned about following the rules; if he were a D&D character, he'd be Chaotic Good, which was always my favorite alignment. I mean, blackmailing a priest because it gets you, eventually, to what you're convinced is The Right Thing To Do? Awesome. Leo's repeated insistence that he's "not political" is designed to make us - and his fellow cops - see him as a reluctant hero, but he was obvious born (and bred) for this role.
I loved the scenes with Frank's father, and was looking forward to seeing how that relationship played out as Frank became more involved with the union, so I'm sad that they killed the father off so quickly. The fact that his mentor and his father died in such quick succession should have an interesting effect on Frank, though. My favorite part of the remaining supporting cast was Frank's (now former?) partner Tommy, and not just because the actor looks rather like Paul Rudd. I hope he and Frank stay friends even if they stop being partners. Jury's still out on the lawyer, as far as I'm concerned. Sure, they have chemistry, and I liked how professional and competent she seemed at first, but she completely ruined that when she did every show's favorite "Give me a dollar so I'm officially your lawyer" routine and then immediately KISSED him. What?? You're on notice, Unprofessional Lawyer Whose Name I Forget.
The show as a whole was somewhat uneven. Some of the dialogue was extremely hamfisted, but still powerful. I was struck by the volume of casual religion - prayers, references to God, etc., all of which seemed mostly sincere. The house bugging scene leading into the funeral was done very well, and the show did a good job of making us actually care about the funeral of a character we barely knew. The storytelling was too obvious at times and impressively subtle at others: I missed the fact that the father had died the first time and had to rewind to figure out what had happened. And the closing scene with the cop who had accidentally killed his wife was disturbing and very, very powerful. It, more than anything, showed what the people around him saw in Frank Leo, and the understated cliffhanger guaranteed that I would be back for more.
* And I'm just counting cops, not FBI agents or U.S. Marshals or whatever else, because then we get into way too many characters for me to feel comfortable ranking them off the top of my head.