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K-ville, “Pilot” (1.01)

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One of the series The Signal will be covering with its One Season Wonder series is K-ville,  a New Orleans-set cop drama from 2007 starring Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser. A review of the pilot, written by Jonathan Lesco and directed by Deran Serafian, after the jump…

Having since seen Treme, I can get a sense of how false and flimsy K-Ville must have seemed at the time. There are some pretty good scenes here, but as a cop drama, it’s boring, and as a New Orleans drama, it’s lacking. However, I’ve seen a lot of iffy cop dramas, and a lot of shows exploiting a certain place and time for effect, and neither of these elements is my biggest issue with K-ville.

My biggest issue is that I’ve liked practically everyone here, from most of the regulars to a bunch of the guest cast, and no-one really engages my interest or sympathy here. That is, beyond Cole Hauser‘s Webb, who ultimately is a murderer whom Hauser imbues with a humanity and a sensibility I enjoy. Anthony Anderson‘s Boulet is grating, and the pilot fails to really underline why he’s fighting for New Orleans, unlike Treme (which was virtually an essay on the topic in its pilot). John Carroll Lynch does a decent job with the same character he seems to be given everywhere. The rest are wallpaper. No-one seems to have an engaging character here, despite this being a pretty well-cast pilot. But the greatest joy of television is finding characters and stories who will become like family over the years, and no character or story here seems able to go the distance.

I liked some parts. The idea of the racist casino owner’s daughter destroying her own charities to destroy the neighbourhood was a decent idea, though she never really gets a character beyond the plot points driving her. The horror of the water suddenly coming down the stairs was directed very well by Serafian, and the terror Boulet’s daughter struggles with after the storm was one of the few elements that really resonated with me.

Ultimately, I can see why the show failed. The plotting was simplistic, the characters were boring, and there was no real compelling week-to-week draw. However, part of this project is exploring whether shows with weak pilots showed potential in the episodes beyond (like Bones, which rose above a weak pilot to become a very long-lived show), so I’m curious to dig into the rest of the season.

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