New TV Review

I’ve been absent for a while on this blog. Scriptwriting combined with going back to school will do that.

Yes, back to school. That’s a thing. I was also going to make a post about that, and I’ll get to it, but in the meantime there are some new TV shows I’m checking out, and you’re going to hear about them, because blogging is like exercise: you gotta warm up before you get into the big stuff, like life changes and crooked Napolese taxi drivers.

Andiamo.

Prodigal Son

Image: David Giesbrecht / FOX.

Call it “Daddy Issues Hannibal.”

What’s it about? Malcolm Bright is a promising but slightly unhinged profiler who gets fired from the FBI for a) punching out a sheriff while catching a serial killer; and b) secretly being the son of Dr. Martin Whitley, aka The Surgeon, America’s most notorious serial killer (apparently). Dr. Whitley has been locked up for twentyish years, ever since Malcolm dropped a dime on him to the NYPD as a kid, and Malcolm stopped visiting when he decided to become a profiler of serial killers. But when the NYPD hires him to investigate a copycat of the Surgeon, he finds himself needing to consult with his father, who’s all too eager to help out. (Malcolm is hired by the policeman who came to investigate Malcolm’s 911 call back in the day, and thanks to young Malcolm telling him “You should take out your gun, my father is planning to kill you,” has lived long enough to make Captain.)

What works? I mean at this point you either like procedurals with serial aspects or you don’t, right? And as a killer-of-the-week procedural with serial elements, it basically works. It does, however, boast one major advantage: Michael Sheen as Dr. Whitley. I’ve loved Michael Sheen in basically everything I’ve ever seen him in, and while the sinisterly charming serial killer he plays here is about as far away from Good Omens’ skittish angel Aziraphale as you can get, Sheen’s still riveting.

What doesn’t? I’m not… I’m not 100% sold on Malcolm as a lead yet. His mania and twitchiness and recklessness haven’t endeared me to him yet. Given how easy it is to compare this show to the late, great Hannibal, it seems fair to say that Malcolm is, thus far, no Will Graham.

Also, the main central mystery at this point is Malcolm beginning to recover a buried memory of finding a girl stuffed in a box in his father’s study, which no doubt would have played a role in his childhood decision to turn in his father to the police. And while both of his parents insist that there was no girl in a box, he’s determined to figure out the truth, and it just, it just… his father has already been put away for the rest of his life (or until he inevitably escapes, probably later this season) for the dozens of murders they do know about, trying to figure out if there’s one more victim they don’t know about just feels extremely low stakes. “Wait, what did my mother know” was a good layer to explore, but we seem to be moving back from that to “Who was that one girl?” and I just really need a better reason to care.

Who do you know in the cast? (Let’s be real, this usually plays a role in whether I watch something)

  • I mentioned Michael Sheen, but it bears repeating.
  • Halston Sage, who had been my favourite crew member of The Orville until she decided to leave early in season two, is Malcolm’s sister, a TV reporter who is also starting to get sucked back into her father’s orbit.
  • Lou Diamond Phillips is the police captain who keeps Malcolm on the payroll.
  • Keiko Agena, Lane from Gilmore Girls, is the team’s token quirky CSI. She’s no Ella Lopez but she’s fun.
  • I guess the guy playing Malcolm was on Walking Dead, if you care.

Next Page: Good, bad, I’m the show with Michael Emerson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *