Review: K-Ville 1×1


In the US: Fox, Mondays, 9/8c

In the UK: Acquired by Five for air in early 2008

Ever wondered what would have happened if Fox, rather than HBO, had made The Wire? Then wonder no more, because here it is: K-Ville.

The parallels are clear: both are cop shows; both are set in poor US cities; both have a mainly black cast and supporting cast; and both have a political edge.

Here, though, the parallels stop. While The Wire is edgy and intelligent, has a measured pace with plots developing over seasons rather than a single episode, and well defined, realistic characters, K-Ville is implausible, silly and falls for every cliché the genre has to offer.

Plot (stolen while the Fox web site was affected by hurricanes)

From writer and executive producer Jonathan Lisco (“NYPD Blue,” “The District”) comes K-VILLE, a heroic police drama set ?��Ǩ��� and filmed ?��Ǩ��� in New Orleans. Two years after Katrina, parts of the city are still in chaos, but hope has emerged. Battling an upsurge of violence, understaffing of police forces and a lack of crime labs and other facilities, the cops who remain in the New Orleans Police Department have courage to burn and a passion to reclaim and rebuild their city.

MARLIN BOULET (Anthony Anderson) is a brash, wry, in-your-face veteran of the NOPD’s Felony Action Squad, the specialized unit that targets the most-wanted criminals. Even when his partner deserted him during the storm, Boulet held his post, spending days in the water saving lives and keeping order. Now, two years later, he’s unapologetic about bending the rules when it comes to collaring bad guys. The stakes are too high, and the city too fragile, for him to do things by the book.

Boulet’s new partner, TREVOR COBB (Cole Hauser), was a soldier in Afghanistan before joining the NOPD. He’s tough and committed; but if he’s less than comfortable with Boulet’s methods, it’s
because he’s harboring a dark secret. Cobb has come to New Orleans seeking
redemption, but redemption can be dangerous.

Rounding out the crew are wisecracking JEFF “GLUE BOY” GOODEN (Blake
Shields), the team’s comic relief; tough-as-nails GINGER “LOVE TAP” LeBEAU
(Tawny Cypress), the only female on the squad; and CAPTAIN JAMES EMBRY
(John Carroll Lynch), who wrangles the eclectic personalities of his squad with
equal parts humor and tenacity

K-VILLE, executive-produced by Lisco and Craig Silverstein (BONES, “Standoff”),
is produced by 20th Century Fox Television. Deran Sarafian (HOUSE, “CSI”)
directed the pilot.

Is it any good?
Well, it’s not The Wire. But then, what is?

For starters, an entire treatise could probably written about why, despite the demographic make up of New Orleans, half the main characters and the cooler lead are white. Producers more interested in the white guy? Hmm.

Then we have the fact that the majority of the cast have something of the “can’t act for toffee” about them, I’d be surprised if more than two of the cast were even trying to do a New Orleans accent, and the dialogue is plenty awful. There are also more car crashes, gunfights, burglaries, ‘dark secrets’, buddy partners, lone female cops in a precinct full of men, women who won’t stand by their men when the going gets tough, implausible villains, implausible heroes, obvious plots, obvious investigative techniques that get ignored, crims that confess as soon as they’re found out, maverick cops who don’t play by the rules and the other traditions of just about every cop show of the past 40 years.

Then there’s the fact K-Ville‘s signed up for the all new action TV clich?ɬ� of the 21st century. Although you can argue the politics of whether Iraq is a new Vietnam, as far as action TV is concerned, it definitely is – just as every 80s TV action hero (cf Thomas Magnum, The A-Team, Stringfellow Hawke, Michael Knight, et al) had to have served in Nam, so all 21st century TV action heroes have to have served in Iraq (or Afghanistan). And talking of politics, that’s precisely what every character seems to do, no matter how inappropriate or unnatural it is for the scene.

On the other hand, it’s not awful and the New Orleans setting is both different and interesting. Yes, you have to stick with it through some atrocious unoriginality, but the show still has a certain charm and doesn’t explore the depths of banality explored by some location-centric cop shows I could mention (eg LA Heat).

Still, with the book strip-mined and plundered for just about every clich?ɬ� buried therein, there aren’t many left for the series proper, so it might just find a decent enough groove for itself when it’s up and running. Plus Cole Hauser’s a pretty good actor, even if everyone else isn’t. In summary, not awful, but not brilliant either.

Here’s a lovely YouTube trailer for the show.