BACKSTROM Is Like HOUSE M.D. With A Badge

by on January 26, 2015

in Entertainment, tv reviews

Rainn Wilson in Backstrom, a review

Fox’s new co show, Backstrom, starring Rainn Wilson, had a curious marketing scheme, but did not reflect the actual tone of the show. Instead of the snarky tub of humor that Fox wanted us to think the show was, it turned out to be a dramatic police procedural about a cop with issues… you name it, he has it, health, emotional, personal or otherwise issues. But he gets the job done. No matter who he pisses off.

Rainn Wilson plays Detective Everett Backstrom, a highly intelligent cop who has a deep dislike or distrust of humanity. Other cast in the series includes Beatrice Rosen, Page Kennedy, Dennis Haysbert, Genevieve Angelson, Kristoffer Polaha, and a slew of others.

What I don’t get about the show is the advertising campaign Fox threw at viewers. Every commercial for the show was full of sarcastic one-liners, seemingly making it look like a comedic platform riding along on the coat tails of a cop story. Instead we have ourselves a dang near mirror-like copy of House M.D., but taking place in the halls of a police station rather than a hospital.

Like Dr. House, Backstron is toxic, abrasive, and as irritating as he is smart. As the story developed it feels like the series has been set to take it slow in how it presents our primary set of characters. Even with all his personality issues, he also has a slew of health issues, of which his doctor has perscribed “find a friend.”

Rainn is doing what he likes doing, playing this kind of character, but depending on the audience, he could be conceived as interesting or trite. It’s odd to see him playing what sounds and looks like a classic gumshoe with a gravely voice,

Right now we learned a few things about Backstrom during the course of the first episode, being that he’s tolerated because he’s good at what he does. Otherwise he would have been fired a long time ago.

He’s so over-the-top that his character almost feels surreal.

Overall, I was not disappointed with the show, just surprised that it was a dramatic cop procedural instead of a sarcasm filled platform like the ads portrayed it to be.┬áDon’t get me wrong, the sarcastic edge was there often enough. In fact it might have been almost too much, but the ads prepared me for much more. So it seemed it wasn’t as bad as it could be.

But unless there’s some genius writing coming up, I’m not sure what we have. But at least it wasn’t boring. Just confusing.

And per MediaLife, the show barely retained 70% of its American Idol lead-in numbers and the ratings for the show still had a fair start but declined 14% between half hours, from 2.1 to 1.8, which they felt is a warning sign.

You be the judge.

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