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Posts Tagged ‘Rizzoli & Isles’

At least, one can infer that from the surprised look on my face at the news that Rizzoli and Isles, which I panned, has already been renewed for a third season, just four episodes into its second year:

“This summer, ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ has proven that last year’s record-breaking ratings were just the beginning of this show’s remarkable track record,” Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TNT, TBS and TCM, said in a statement. “With a terrific cast, a top-notch production team and the kind of stories TNT fans crave, ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ is poised to continue its success alongside blockbuster TNT series like ‘The Closer’ and ‘Falling Skies.'”

Ya got me, pal. I stand by everything I wrote in my earlier review about mediocre, botched stories and cliche characters. My cynical side suspects that people are watching because they’re waiting for this “ambiguously lesbian” duo to admit their attraction toward each other and at last get it on.

Sort of “Moonlighting” for gay couples.

And that’s not just me being cynical (or salacious). After all that “are they or aren’t they” talk last season, the show has gone out of its way to practically scream “THEY’RE STRAIGHT!!” in the first three episodes.  In the season premier, both women wind up in bed with men. In episode three, Sasha Alexander’s character “Maura Isles” practically drools on her own shoes over a guy, and she makes it crystal clear that it’s all about lust and wanting a man.

Methinks they doth protest too much.  😉

Seriously, it’s my opinion the showrunners were exploiting the subtle “lipstick lesbian” angle to draw viewers and now they’re trying to dial it back. Maybe the stars have complained, since both have denied there’s anything there. Whatever. I’ll give them credit for a sense of humor, though: at one point in episode three, Rizzoli gets a worried look on her face and asks Isles “You don’t want to sleep with me… do you?” To which Isles says no, of course not. And then, at the end of the episode, to get rid of the now-annoying guy Isles had wanted to bed, they have to pretend to be… lesbian lovers.

Nice touch, folks. 🙂

Still can’t see why the show is a hit, though.

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Three shows I follow have been renewed, and it’s a case of “two out of three ain’t bad, but that third one…”

First, TNT’s The Closer was renewed for season seven. While I think the show’s sixth season has been weak so far (three episodes in), I like it overall, the cast is very good, and it’s produced some great dramedy in the past. It was worth renewing.

In Plain Sight is one of my favorite shows, with great characters, stories, and dialog. Another dramedy*, I just think it’s one of the best-written programs on television, but doesn’t get the attention it deserves. In fact, season 3, which I haven’t seen yet, since I follow the series on DVD, revealed declining ratings and the danger of cancellation. So, I was happy and surprised to see it renewed not just for one, but two seasons. Let’s hope it regains its audience and justifies USA’s faith.

Here’s an earlier review I did of In Plain Sight.

Meanwhile, the “huh?” of the subject comes from the announcement of TNT’s renewal, after only three episodes, of Rizzoli & Isles, which I reviewed a little over a week ago. Since writing that, I watched the third episode, “Sympathy for the Devil;”  while it was an improvement, that’s only because the abysmal second episode set such a low bar. I can only think that TNT has great faith in the show in spite of its declining ratings, or the stars must have compromising photos of the network execs.

*(I’m detecting a pattern in my tastes… 🙂 )

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Last Monday I caught the second episode of the new “Rizzoli & Isles,” from TNT. According to the hype, this show:

…follows Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, complete opposites and good friends who solve crimes and bust some of Boston’s most notorious criminals. Growing up at opposite ends of the economic spectrum, the two remain strikingly different from one another in many ways.

Get it? This is a groundbreaking cop show about a hardnosed Italian-American female cop in Boston and her uber-smart female forensic scientist buddy, who has trouble relating to people. And, of course, they’re both hawt. (In case you missed it, that should be read with a note of cynicism and sarcasm.) The cop, Jane Rizzoli, is played by Angie Harmon (who really is hot and thankfully a good actress) and Isles, the scientist, by Sasha Alexander.

The show was developed from a series of popular novels, and the premier last week earned great ratings. I’m sorry I missed it, because the episode I saw was utterly cliche and formulaic, from the plot through the characters and their relationships. Isles, the scientist, is clearly an attempt to copy the popularity of Bones. (Hmm… If that means Angie Harmon’s character will parallel Bones’ “Seeley Booth” and fall for her, that could be promising… Never mind.) Character interaction involved standard sharp and witty banter among cops with the woman showing she can dish it out as well as take it. Woot! How original!

The plot was a let-down, too. At first it looks as if the Boston Strangler has returned and that the police in the 60s nailed the wrong guy. Naturally, BPD doesn’t want to hear it and Rizzoli has to go against her bosses to get to the truth. (Oooh! That’s never been done before!) Finally, they arrest a guy who did time with Albert DeSalvo (the real Strangler) and the case looks solved. Only…

You guessed it: a retired cop who was on the original investigation and was sure DeSalvo didn’t do it framed the ex-con whom the BPD arrested, because the retired cop was sure the ex-con did it and wanted to “close the case before dying.” So, he went around strangling the modern victims, planting the evidence.

Yes, another “rogue retired cop” story. Something that’s been done dozens of times in the last decade, and with no variation on the theme. What a missed opportunity; it would have been so much more interesting had they turned the killer into, for example, a sociopathic copycat who then becomes Rizzoli’s nemesis for a season or two. Instead, it looks like the writers mailed it in.

In spite of this disappointing first encounter with Rizzoli and Isles, I’ll follow their adventures for another couple of episodes to see if they improve. This is a good cast that deserves better, but I didn’t see much of promise here.

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