Mini-review: Claws 1×1 (US: TNT)

Prepare to yawn


In the US: Sundays, 9/8c, TNT

TNT has been trying to break out of its crime niche for years now. A few years ago, its ‘TNT – Bang!’ birthed The Last Ship, but little else, and since then, like a cat trapped in a pit, clawing at the walls, TNT has been hunting for an escape. Last year’s Animal Kingdom was still a crime drama, but it was about a family who indulged in a bit of criminality rather than being all about the crime.

Claws is a similar attempt to escape the pit, except here through a sort of marriage with Real Housewives. Set in a nailbar in Florida’s ‘Manatee County’, it follows the exploits of owner Niecy Nash (Getting On, Reno 911) as she tries to raise money to buy a classy new nail salon through the drug trade, running dodgy medical clinics that let any old addict have what they want, provided they have the cash, coaching them what to say if they can’t quite hit the low mark of ‘slightly convincing shoulder sprain’ unaided. Trouble is, her drug dealer boyfriend is playing her and cheating her out of her ill-gotten gains, so something’s gotta give…

The show’s real focus, though, is the staff at Nash’s nail salon, and the show would really much rather be spending its time just hanging out there, while they all chat to one another. Notable amongst the identikit Floridians are The Good Fight‘s Carrie Preston as a recently paroled quirkfest and Scrubs‘ Judy Reyes as a near-silent tattooed lesbian.

Claws goes through the well-trodden motions of female empowerment, bad assery, etc, which largely involve everyone teasing each other a bit, hugging each other more and then shouting a lot at anyone who dares to try to do anything to a member of the ‘crew’, particularly if they’re a member of that crew themselves (Karrueche Tran). But it’s horribly written, horribly acted nonsense that goes through the motions without truly doing anything new, whose only saving grace are some strong visuals, including the occasional architectural tour of a nice house.

Worse still, it’s supposed to be a dramedy, but it’s so poorly put together it’s hard to tell if it’s genuinely trying to be comedic or dramatic or whether it’s trying to do the opposite and simply missed its mark. TNT’s worst piece of TV since King and Maxwell, do not watch it unless you enjoy yawning a lot.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.