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Series debut: Jerry O’Connell and Jim Belushi in The Defenders on Sept. 22

In television on 09/22/2010 at 6:40 am

Series name
The Defenders

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010, at 10 p.m. ET on CBS and CTV

Regularly airs
Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on CBS

Couple of characters run a law practice and their messy, hilarious personal lives in Las Vegas.

Primary cast and crew
Jim Belushi (According to Jim) is Nick Morelli, who’s separated from his wife.

Jerry O’Connell (Do Not Disturb, Carpoolers, Crossing Jordan) is Pete Kaczmarek, who sleeps around, but wittily.

Natalie Zea (Justified, Dirty Sexy Money) is Meredith Cramer. She’s a lawyer. She knows Pete.

Jurnee Smollett (Friday Night Lights) is Lisa Tyler, young lawyer who’s just joined Morelli and Kaczmarek.

Buzz buzz
Poor E.G. Marshall, spinning in his grave. This is NOT the 1961 dramatic series of the same name.

But what do I know anyway? After having seen the pilot I predict…
I really like Jerry O’Connell (although he makes terrible choices of roles, and only occasionally, as in Piranha 3D, has fun with the extreme badness of the whole situation). I really hated Jim Belushi in According to Jim. Really hated. So when I checked out The Defenders I started out watching with only one eye because I assumed it’d be horrible. Not horrible. Very uneven though. Some series are brilliant at handling the snap back and forth between drama and slapstick. This show, at least judging by the early pilot I found in my pile of fall preview stuff, does not have good control over the extremes it wants O’Connell and Belushi to play. It’s like cartoon characters in suits … and then it’s abruptly heavy. And then back. However, O’Connell and Belushi have good chemistry. Natalie Zea is not much in attendance in the first hour, but I hope there’s more of her bitchy self. I miss her from Dirty Sexy Money. And it’s Vegas for pity sake. Chances of this turning into a solid series? I’d give it about a 50 per cent, but I’ll check it out again to see how far they’ve come from the pilot.

Other reviews
Metacritic has gathered five reviews and gotten an average rating of 61 out of 100.

Wondering when the other new series and returning series are kicking off?
Click here for my select list of fall 2010 premieres and other important dates. Who am I to tell you what to do, but you could consider bookmarking it…

— Denise Duguay


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