White Collar (new) 9 p.m. ET on Bravo
Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo (premiered the previous Friday on U.S.-only cable station USA)
Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo
Con artist talks his FBI stalker into springing him from prison in exchange for helping catch other con artists. Sorta Catch Me If You Can without the running. Or The Mentalist in rat-pack attire. And ankle-bracelet tracking device. And very rich, charming widow who takes in con artist cum FBI consultant.
Primary cast and crew
Matt Bomer (Traveler, Bryce in Chuck) is Neal Caffrey, art thief, bond forger, prison inmate… oh wait, actually he’s just escaped … aaaaaaaand he’s back. Until he charms …
Tim DeKay (Tell Me You Love Me, Carnivale) is Peter Burke, FBI agent who is as strait-laced and rule-bound as Caffrey is self-indulgent and rule-averse. But they share a love for their work, although that work falls on opposite sides of the line called The Law.
Tiffani Thiessen (What About Brian?, Beverly Hills 90210) is Elizabeth Burke, Peter’s very understanding soul mate and sounding board.
Willie Garson (Sex and the City) is Mozzie, Neal’s old pal.
Diahann Carroll (Grey’s Anatomy, Back to You) is June, the wealthy widow who takes Neal in to her life, but not in a cougar kind of way. You are terrible!
Alexandra Daddario (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, All My Children) is Kate, Neal’s ex and his biggest weakness. Is she how he got into the criminal life? And where is shenow? And is she in trouble? And shouldn’t he just forget her, as Peter advises?
Jeff Eastin (Held Up, Shasta McNasty) is the creator/writer/producer. Shasta McNasty?
But what do I know anyway? After having seen the pilot I declare …
You know how most times the promo for a TV show completely misrepresents a show? Usually by making it look more fun/interesting/engaging than the show really is? Well this is the exception to that rule. The pilot episode reveals a show that hits the ground running, and hits it very, very confidantly and without breaking a sweat. Neal, the con, and Peter, the FBI agent, are the two poles in this opposites-attract scenario. But the playfullness and, yes I’ll say it again, style (both visual and narrative) raise it above the often unimaginatively rendered “buddy” setup. Thiessen and Diahann Carroll don’t get much screen time in the debut episode, but they make very second count and left me hoping and expecting they will be bigger parts of coming episodes. As for quibbles? Well, I watched the pilot after a very jolting espresso and that tends to make me gullible. I did pause for a second in the opening escape scene: A recent beard and a more recent shave render an inmate of four years unrecognizable to his guards? Well, maybe it’s the espresso, but I’ll give them that one. And besides, realism is moot in TV. It’s all about believability, right? I believe that smile of Neal’s. I believe he gets almost anything he wants. Except, according to his deal with Peter, freedom from the ankle tracking bracelet for at least four years, which hopefully translates into four seasons.
On Metacritic, an aggregator of reviews from professional (ahem!) critics and “regular” viewers, puts the show in an A-plus category: the critics gave it an average of 79 out of 100 and the regular types gave it 9.2 out of 10. (Clearly professional (ahem!) critics must have 100 points to play with, as opposed to the lowly 10 alotted to the plebes. Clearly.)
The USA site (the U.S. broadcaster of the show) has the usual character and actor bios, a quiz in which you can find out if you’re a con artist or an FBI agent (“Denise: You’re an FBI agent to the core!”), and an FBI white-collar crime training program. The Bravo site is notable only because it links you to the video, in case you miss the Friday-night broadcast.
Basic promo of the show with links to personal accounts for Tiffani Thiessen and show creator Jeff Eastin. Tiff looks like a real tweeter. That still sounds a bit dirty, doesn’t it.
Click on “White Collar” to find their decent fan page (including the Con Dictionary link to the USA page) and … oh wait, a promise of “watch full episodes” that gives no love to Canadian computers. What a con!
Can’t wait for the next new-series preview?
V! Coming before the Nov. 3 premiere.
Wondering when the other new series and returning series are kicking off?
Click here for my select list of fall 2009 premieres and other important dates. Who am I to tell you what to do, but you could consider bookmarking it…