I'm watching. You're watching. Let's talk.

Series debut: Luther, starring Idris Elba, Jan. 7 on Showcase

In television on 01/06/2011 at 9:04 pm

Series name
Luther

Debuts
Friday, Jan. 7, 2011 on Showcase at 10 p.m. ET

Regularly airs
Fridays at 10 p.m. ET

Premise
DCI (that’s British for Detective) John Luther is haunted by a confrontation by a unquestionably guilty and reprehensible criminal. But he’s still brilliant with crimes the way House is with mysteriously sick people.

Primary cast and crew
Idris Elba (The Big C, The Office, No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Rocknrolla, The Wire) is Luther. Haunted. Brilliant. Yep, that covers it.

Buzz buzz
Most U.S. critics were falling all over themselves to heap praise on Luther, which also recently earned Elba a Golden Globe nomination for best-actor-in-a-TV-drama.

The review: After having seen the first two episodes:
Most U.S. critics and most thoughtful TV watchers have seen and loved The Wire, David Simon’s critically acclaimed series for HBO about drugs, politics and other rackets in Baltimore. In that beloved series, British actor Elba earned an especially large portion of the praise for his portrayal of the thinking man’s thug, Stringer Bell. Assumptions were made, when this show debuted in the U.K. and then in fall 2010 that Luther, putting Elba in the starring role, would be just as rewarding a viewing experience. It’s not. It’s a decent cop show, but not great. Elba is not the problem. Luther the show was popped out of the mold that has also given us Cracker (Robbie Coltrane as tortured, difficult, brilliant psychiatrist) and House (Hugh Laurie as tortured, difficult, brilliant doctor). But Luther the character is written into the cartoon extreme. When tortured by his past actions, he begins by pushing himself to the extremes that have made him so valuable to his fellow officers in past: He pins a suspect’s guilt by a simple (in)action that would pass most of us by. Clever. He then launches into a cat and mouse with that suspect that prickles with electricity. And then … it’s as though the writers got the intern to pen the rest of the episode. And not the drama-writing intern but the crazy-ass-soap-opera intern. I won’t spoil it, but you’ll see it when it goes off the rails. It’s nowhere near unwatchable, but having seen how intensely good Elba can be, this is disappointing. I’ll still watch and hope for improvement. And if those improvements include Elba’s new partner expanding on the potential his role showed when first introduced (watch the video at the top of the post), I’ll be even happier.

Wondering when the other new and returning series are kicking off?
Click here for my select list of 2011 premieres and other important dates. Who am I to tell you what to do, but you could consider bookmarking it…

— Denise Duguay

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: