Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Trouble With LOLA

As expected, Law & Order: Los Angeles received a back nine order from NBC yesterday, meaning that despite some precipitous drops in viewership from week-to-week-to-week in its three installments thus far, it'll get at least one full season of twenty-one episodes to find its legs.  While I've found the show mostly agreeable, I'm also ready to admit that for whatever reason things aren't gelling as well I'd have liked.  As I said before, the cast is uniformly good, but there's something that just feels off -- like they're having trouble figuring out how different to be and how similar to be from the Mothership.  Contrast this with Law & Order: UK -- just picked up for another season -- which has been able to navigate that razor's edge with confidence right from the start.

While Skeet Ulrich and Corey Stoll are doing a serviceable job pulling cop duties and growing more comfortable with one another by the week, the most interesting part of the L&O format for me has always been the courtroom stuff in the back-half.  Part of my problem is the tag-team format for the "order" stuff, which makes it tough to form much of an attachment to either of the show's DDAs, Alfred Molina's Ricardo Morales or Terence Howard's Joe Dekker (though, of the two, I prefer the Molina eps). On the other hand, this article at TV Overmind makes a pretty compelling argument that the problem with Los Angeles may simply be that it's impossible for the brand to ever create a new character who can match up to the long shadow cast by Ben Stone, Jack McCoy, and Michael Cutter, the three EADAs who presided over the original show's run.


Lady Writer said...

So, I just happened to see a little bit of LOLA when I turned on my TV to watch my Tivo'd shows (House, Lie To Me, The Daily Show) and there was an episode going on about an apparent Muslim Terror Cell... It was horribly inauthentic, bordering on farcical if it weren't for the fact that the writers were earnestly trying to depict Muslim American Jihadists... I was embarrassed for the writers because it was shamefully stereotypical, and I felt bad for the actors because they actually tried to make it all seem real. NBC, you've got to do way better than this. Get it right.

Zaki said...

Yeah, that was pretty rough. I was wincing for the majority of the episode. Sadly, there's at least one episode of every L&O series that has dipped into the anti-Muslim well.