Friday, August 5, 2011

Quick Look: "Suits" & "Necessary Roughness"

USA Network has had its share of original series, but the only one I have watched previously is The 4400 (2004-2007), which lost focus towards the end. There is something glossy and almost too cheery about their series. Even the logos for current shows Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, Psych and Royal Pains ooze bright colours. I would not have started watching their two new summer series had the pilots not been offered for free on iTunes.

Suits stars Canadian actor Patrick J. Adams as Mike Ross, a college dropout with extreme photographic memory who finds himself working as an associate at a law firm after a drug deal gone wrong. His mentor, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is one of New York City's most successful and devious attorneys. The two develop a friendship through joint deception and mutual benefit.

The show is formulaic and there is an obstacle, the firm's junior partner and disciplinarian Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman). Suits will be a better show if the writers are able to develop Louis' character, as well as give Jessica (Alias veteran Gina Torres), the firm's managing partner, more reason to be involved.

The show has promise and the chemistry between Adams and Macht is apparent. The show will need to develop characters and relationships without throwing in random pitfalls in attempts to unveil the deception.

Necessary Roughness seemed to be a better show after viewing the pilot, but now the show is stumbling through half-baked comparisons to psychiatry and athletics. The show stars Callie Thorne (another former actor from The Wire) as Dani Santino, a therapist on the verge of a divorce who starts working as a psychiatrist for a New York Hawks football team to make ends meet. The show is based on the real life story of a psychologist who worked for the New York Jets.

Each week we are introduced to a new patient from a new sport, but Terrence King (Mehcad Brooks), a Hawks wide receiver, is always a major focus of each episode. His exploits have become tiresome and his character is grating and one-dimensional. The show is stronger and more cohesive when Dani is dealing with her teenage children and her relationship with Hawks trainer Matthew Donnally (Marc Blucas). Scott Cohen is great as the mysterious Nico Careles who always seems to get in Dani's way.

Necessary Roughness is unfocused and often feels like a fictionalized version of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, but Callie Thorne tries her best and the show could work with a little retooling.

Both Suits and Necessary Roughness have the trademark USA Network gloss and the idea that everything must end happily. Neither are terrible, but they actors do a good job with often limited material.

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