Good Try, But I’ll Pass On This Battle

I’m a generous guy.  Well at least I think I’m a generous guy.  I’m not necessarily talking like giving money and gifts. However, I do love shopping for Christmas gifts more than shopping for myself, and I LOVE shopping for myself. And, I’m not talking about being generous with my opinion, because I am more than generous with that.  I’ll give it to you any time, any place and any way, regardless of whether or not you asked for it.

No, what I mean is I try to give people a chance to win me over.  I may not like you when I first meet you, but I’m willing to acknowledge that maybe you’re having a bad day, or maybe, just maybe I’m having a bad day.  I have had a few bad days. I mean, like I probably average around 180 of them a year.  I also try to give all TV shows at least two outings before I decide it’s not my cup of Bloody Mary. Sorry I don’t drink tea, so I’m just keeping it real. Sometimes that pays off. It did with this little show called Breaking Bad. Maybe you’ve heard of it, it was kind of a thing a few years ago. I heard it also won a few dozen or so awards.


Well Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, has created a new show that airs Sunday evenings on CBS, Battle Creek. I really wanted to like it. It’s got a great pedigree. Gilligan is producing it along with David Shore of House fame. It stars Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas), Dean Winters (OZ, L&O: SVU), Janet McTeer (Damages) and Kal Penn (House). I mean this show should be awesome. It’s always so sad when a show should be awesome and instead it just isn’t. I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m just not saying it’s good. It just is.

The premise even has promise. Battle Creek is a financially strapped city in Michigan with a police department that has been forced to cut budgets and go without. Winters plays a hard edged police detective that is struggling to do the best he can with what little he is given. Duhamel plays an FBI agent re-assigned to Battle Creek as the special agent in charge of its office there. Together they are going to use their individual skill sets to clean up the crime ridden streets of Battle Creek.


Both Winters and Duhamel are playing to type here. Winters is really good at playing street smart, sarcastic rough guys with a hidden heart of gold. Think of his Mayhem character in the State Farm commercials. Duhamel, who is probably one of the most classically handsome actors working today, is good at playing the good looking charming trusting guy. So perfect casting. Their chemistry is even good. It’s just that I’ve seen that show before. I mean, I’ve seen that show A LOT before.


The catch with this show is supposed to be that the cases are going to be interesting, fun, strange cases. For instance the second episode deals with a guy who is drowned in a vat of maple syrup. Wow, how weird is that. I mean I have never seen anything that unusual on television before. Well except for on Bones, Castle, The Mentalist, and just about any other procedural out there. About the only thing unusual about the whole thing is the whole concept of an FBI agent working with the local police department on standard murder cases. I’m not an expert on these things, but I don’t think that’s a thing. Is it? Nope I checked, it’s not.

Like I said there’s nothing there. It’s not bad. The quality of the production is good. It’s beautifully shot and lit. The cast is ….. good, maybe. McTeer, a two time Oscar nominee, is always stellar and she has some moments as the chief of detectives. Penn, who was hilarious as Kumar in Harold and Kumar (I won’t say he was hilarious in the sequels, because no one was) is so misused as one of the police detectives. I’d like to tell you more about the rest of the cast, but they haven’t shown us enough to really be interested in them yet. So all I can say is that they apparently all showed up as per their shooting schedule. Yep, I’ll say it again. Battle Creek is a show. Not good. Not bad. A show.

So, if there’s nothing else on TV, I guess I’ll watch another episode. Like I said I’m a generous guy. I’ve talked to plenty of people that I don’t dislike. I mean I may not like them, but I don’t dislike them so, why not have a conversation with them. Who knows they might win me over down the road? I’m just not counting on it.


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