Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

“Blue Bloods” Premiere Review

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 28, 2010

First off, I can’t believe I’m already done reviewing new shows this season. The rest are CJ and Marlo’s. Now what? Or, in the words of Aaron Sorkin (This comes out Friday!), “what’s next?”

Blue Bloods is nowhere near as good as The West Wing. But other than a need to awkwardly transition from the first paragraph to this one, there’s also no reason to compare the two shows. As a cop show, Blue Bloods is very enjoyable. As a family drama, it’s even more so.

That’s what you have to consider when weighing your cop show options this season. What type of program do you want? Do you want nitty gritty? Then watch Detroit 1-8-7. Do you want light-hearted? Then The Good Guys is for you. How about a tried and true and dull format? Law & Order: Los Angeles. But if you want a drama that moves beyond the mechanics of crime solving (while not ignoring them completely), then you want to watch Blue Bloods.

CBS had a huge hit last year with The Good Wife. It received critical acclaim (it was my favorite new show of the season), lots of viewers and tons of award nominations. That wasn’t because it’s a legal drama. The attention it received was because the writers committed to the overarching character plots behind the weekly legal case. It basically appealed to everyone. You could tune in with no previous knowledge and try and follow the courtroom drama. Or you could see how Alicia and her family grow from week to week. It effectively mixed procedural and serial, with the focus on family and relationships.

I probably shouldn't expect Broadway-vet Cariou to break into song, sadly

The Eye hopes to do the same thing this year with cops instead of lawyers. Blue Bloods is about a family of police officers. The New York Chief of Police (Tom Selleck), his retired police chief father (Len Cariou), his veteran detective son (Donnie Wahlberg), his assistant prosecutor daughter (Bridget Moynahan) and his rookie cop son (Will Estes). The show doesn’t separate their office lives from their home lives. Their family bonds deeply influence their work on the job.

You get some very predictable plotlines and scenes in the pilot, such as a family dinner that ends with everyone walking off in a huff or the fact that one brother was killed in action. But I was surprised by some of the developments in just this first episode. Cariou was apparently forced out as chief for being too honest and open. Selleck is a widower, navigating the dating waters. Estes is being recruited as an internal affairs mole (did not see that one coming…truly, good twist that I haven’t given away). And Wahlberg’s character beat a suspect into submission by hitting his head against a toilet to get him to confess. The circumstances led to a fantastic (though predictable) debate about the merits of torture, but I was pleasantly surprised the show broached the subject so early.

Because this show is more family drama than cop drama, the pace is very enjoyable and shifts effortlessly from crime-solving to character moments. That will prevent this from becoming a traditional procedural. And like I said, this cast of characters interacting is the reason to tune in every week. Which I will be. As will my mom. She actually called afterward and said how excited she was about this show. She hates television. That should tell you a lot. Although, she does have a crush on Selleck.

Grade: A-

P.S. – I love that the family’s name is Reagan, since Selleck is a well-known conservative and Ronald Reagan supporter. But I don’t think this is a conservative show. I didn’t sense a definite slant in the torture argument. I’ll keep my out for that.

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One Response to ““Blue Bloods” Premiere Review”

  1. CJ Cregg said

    This show was not as interesting as I thought it would be. It was, at times, too heavy handed. And some of the stuff that Mr. Feeny found predictable, I found a little bit dull. But, I agree that the family dynamics are interesting, the acting is solid, and the writing is good.

    Grade: B+

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