So far, I have caught the first two episodes of the new show called Battle Creek, starring Josh Duhamel (Transformers film franchise) and Dean Winters. (Yes, if you think his voice seems familiar, he was in those Allstate Insurance disaster ads, but he’s also been on Law & Order: SVU, 30 Rock and Rescue Me)
A few early reviews I saw online about Battle Creek called it dead and slow or flat. But I don’t think the reviewers came into the show with the same expectations that fans of the show’s creators could bring to it.
The series is the brain child of Vince Gilligan and David Shore.
Any fan of Breaking Bad know the brilliance of Vince Gilligan, whose resume also includes The X-Files and the film Hancock (starring Will Smith). [Hancock and other Will Smith content on Amazon] David Shore’s resume House M.D..
So when you crank up the show with that in mind, you are expecting a quiet sort of tone peppered with disaster. Breaking Bad (And Better Call Saul) have whole scenes that are nothing but silence and/or visuals and still managed to deliver content in those moments.
So too does Battle Creek come at the viewer a bit slow, but delivers in a different way. Not to mention, rather than having our stars turning to the dark side over time, this show is about cops, or the good guys. Not to mention that I almost have the feeling that this show is not allowed by CBS to deliver those long, silent scenes, but rather, must deliver a constant flow of words and action.
But there’s a fascinating dichotomy or chemistry going on here in Battle Creek between Detective Russ Agnew (Winters) and FBI Special Agent Milt Chamberlain (Duhamel).
Duhamel plays this picture-perfect FBI agent who seems to have been demoted to helping the small town police force solve their crimes. His character reminds me to some degree of an old show I loved called Due South, from Paul Haggis, starring Paul Gross. With the exception of the fact that it seems that Chamberlain has to work at putting on this perfect facade.
Chamberlain is polished, socially connected and seemingly a by-the-book kind of cop. Agnew is more rough around the collar, does things in a shady fashion to get the job done and can’t stand how perfect Chamberlain seems. He even gloats when things don’t always go Chamberlain’s way.
Other characters are played by Aubrey Dollar, Grapevine, Kal Penn, Janet McTeer, Damon Herriman and Liza Lapira. Most of the supporting characters are still feeling out their roles and the plots are slowly giving us some details on each.
Overall, I like the subtle, quiet humor that is delivered via mostly Agnew but at times, also Chamberlain. Their chemistry is still feeling itself out though but I can see where it could go, if you can imagine a sort of “Odd Couple” kind of cop team.
I like it, but you don’t have to believe me. Almost one thousand users over on IMDb have given the show an overall user score of 7.5. It is still early but I think the show may do well over time if given the chance. Or those thousand reviewers could be cast, crew and production staffers.
The initial ratings of the show seem dreadful… pulling in a very, very low 7.46 million viewers, which is not a good thing at all for a series during primetime when the network is up against the other big four nets.
I like it, but it has a quiet tone to it that many may not appreciate. Unless it picks up beyond the stories of organized crime in the maple syrup world, (See what I mean about the subtle humor spin?), it may flounder too much for CBS to stay committed to.