In the next week several new series are premiering on Cable. Each of the new series is somewhat of a crime procedural, but each one brings a little something different to set it apart. SyFy's new series, Haven, adds some supernatural elements, TNT's new series, Rizzoli & Ives, adds some female buddy elements, and USA's new series, Covert Affairs, adds some humor, drama, intrigue, and spy elements. While all of the pilots were at least good enough to bring me back for more, only one of them was great, another reminded me a lot of another series, and one just felt off for some reason. Read below to see which is which.
One of the more promising things about all three of these series is that they all center on strong female leads. While there are some shows centered on strong female characters on the networks, I think the cable networks are doing a much better job of creating these series. I hope the series continue the trends of great series such as The Closer, Saving Grace, and Damages.
Haven, is based on the novella, The Colorado Kid, by Stephen King. The novella was about a young reporter who comes to the small town of Haven, Maine and is told the story of a long, unsolved murder by the two veteran reporters for the local paper. In the series, FBI agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose), comes to Haven in search of a fugitive and instead finds a murder investigation involving supernatural powers. While there she is partnered up with local Sheriff, Nathan Wournos (Lucas Bryant) and run into the two veteran reporters from King's short story. These two newshounds introduce Parker to the unsolved mystery of The Colorado Kid, a mystery Parker may have a very close connection to.
Overall, the pilot was good, but not great. I'm not sure what it was, but something in the show felt off to me. Whether it was the fact that the pilot's center mystery felt like something I'd seen before, or something else, I'm not quite sure. But somewhere the parts didn't quite add up to a whole for me. But it was intriguing enough to get me to check it out at least one more time.
Fair Warning: This show features Show-Killer Eric Balfour, an actor I genuinely like, but who has the misfortune of starring or guest-starring in numerous shows that don't last long. For example: The Ex List, Conviction, Hawaii, and FreakyLinks. So be warned that his touch may lead to a short-lived series.
TNT's new series Rizzoli & Isles, stars Angie Harmon as Jane Rizzoli, a tough homicide detective who spends time unwinding with her pal Dr. Maura Isles, a medical examiner. Rizzoli is also having to deal with the return of a serial killer she has put behind bars before the show starts. And the series is based on a best selling book series. If all this is starting to sound familiar it's probably because Harmon pretty much did this series on ABC back in 2007 with The Women's Murder Club. Like this series Harmon was a tough homicide detective, dealing with the return of a serial killer, who confided in her female friends, one of which is a medical examiner.
That's not to say this isn't worth watching. This series is a bit darker and more frightening than WMC ever was. And as a fan of WMC, I welcome R&I in to my home with open arms. Again, this pilot didn't blow me away, but it held my attention, and will get me back for at least a few more episodes.
This is the one pilot out of the three that I think really did a brilliant job. The pacing is great, the actors all do an amazing job, and the plot holds your interest throughout. The pilot also does a great job of setting up a mystery, that I assume will go one all season long. And as for the cast what's not to love when you combine Piper Perabo, Christopher Gorham, Peter Gallagher, Anne Dudek, and Kari Matchett? Add all that with direction from Tim Matheson (yes that Tim Matheson) and you've got a winning formula. The show is a perfect fit for USA's block of shows, and I think it will do wonderful as a lead-out for White Collar.
But what's it about? Perabo stars as Annie Walker, a young CIA trainee, who is called into active duty early, seemingly based on her foreign language skills. She is quickly placed into action with the help of blind agent, Auggie Anderson (Gorham). Her superiors, on the rocks married couple Arthur and Joan Campbell (Gallagher and Matchett), send her into the field to meet a defected Russian agent who wants to swap info for cash. Things don't go as planned when a sniper crashed the party.
As with most of the new USA series, the show focuses not only on the weekly capers, but also on the character's social lives. Here we get to see how Walker balances her career as an agent with her home live, living with her sister (Dudek) and her husband. In some ways Walker has a harder time surviving the dates her sister sets her up on than she does escaping from a sniper. We get a glimpse of the flirt Auggie is, and how he uses his disability to his advantage with the ladies. We also get to see how married agents deal with their problems, a CIA trained, in-house therapist.
All in all Covert Affairs is one of the best new series of the year, let alone the summer, and it's one I highly recommend, especially if you're a fan of the other high-caliber USA shows.