Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Checking in with the other guy who ran "West Wing"

Smith, the second show I've watched of the new fall season has a lot in common with the first I watched. It has a multi-name cast that leaves you cheering (How, for example, can you not get behind seeing Jonny Lee Miller every week?), one of the folks who ran West Wing writing and exec. producing (John Wells, also of ER, or as you also might think of him, the man who gave us Clooney, amen), and a ton o' hype.

But there is a crucial difference: This show is the awesome.

(Whereas Studio 60, well, y'all know how that one struck me. )

All my remarks should probably be prefaced with the reminder that I don't have HBO, so it may be that my experience with gritty crime shows is not sufficiently broad. But even if this one is HBO-lite, I don't care. In fact, HBO-lite on broadcast TV is all the good and minimal of the things that make me squeamish. (For example, I totally loved Kill Bill, Vol. 1, on TNT this last weekend: All the fun of Tarantino, none of the wooziness of an uncut version. Turns out, when it comes to ultraviolence, I like to be sheltered.)

Smith has a movie feel, as well. Maybe it was the criminals-behind-the-heist ethos or the fact that a character got shot and then blown up on a boat, but it felt akin to The Usual Suspects. And I mean that in a good way.


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