Monday, September 01, 2008

TV premiering tonight: Raising the Bar

I admit that I only made it through one of the three episodes of this show that TNT sent for review, partially because I've been swamped with work lately but mostly because it was just so dull and rote that it seemed like a complete waste of time to even bother with the others. Despite being co-created by Steven Bochco, this is about as safe and un-edgy a show as you can get, a tired legal procedural whose only distinguishing feature is that its main characters represent lawyers on both sides of the District Attorney/Public Defender divide. The cases are still broadly drawn and entirely generic, and it's never in doubt which side is in the right. The attractive young lawyers dutifully get it on with each other, but there's no soapy fun here. It reminded me of the short-lived Law & Order spinoff Conviction, which similarly tried to sex up crusading young lawyers and similarly failed. Solid TV performers like J. August Richards and Melissa Sagemiller are stuck with some seriously flawed material here, and the casting of one of my least favorite TV presences, Malcolm in the Middle's shrill, grating Jane Kaczmarek, provided the last straw. No better than whatever forgettable procedural crap CBS will be throwing on the air in a month or so, and very likely worse. TNT, Mondays, 10 p.m.

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