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'Murder in the First' on TNT


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#1 OFFLINE   Steve

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 05:04 AM

From today's New York Times:

 

 

When a series follows one murder investigation for an entire season, the conceit can sometimes look like a European refinement. “Broadchurch,” “Spiral” and “The Fall” are just a notable few of the many imported shows that proved so broodingly intense that it sometimes seemed as if networks and basic cable here could never catch up.

 

Murder in the First,” a new TNT series that begins Monday, might therefore seem like a belated imitation. But this 10-episode series is actually a direct descendant of “Murder One,” a 1995 ABC show by Steven Bochco that was a beloved breakthrough, even though it lasted only two seasons.

 

And while this new show is not as innovative as its predecessor, it is, in its own way, similarly well paced and compelling. There aren’t a lot of smart, occult-free crime thrillers this summer, and that makes “Murder in the First” all the more enjoyable.

 

[...]

 

“Murder in the First” doesn’t really find its groove until the second episode. [more]

 


/steve

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#2 OFFLINE   Drucifer

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 02:09 PM

I like and hate these shows. Once you start, it's hard to give up on it, because you need to go all the way to the end before you actually judge it.


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#3 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 12:18 PM

No, really, you don't.

 

There was a time when I was vexed by the maddeningly slow pace of new Lost episodes; I couldn't remember what had happened and it made it difficult to understand some of the characters' motivations. I could not keep the thread.

 

But then I realized that it didn't matter. I was enjoying each episode for itself, as a self-contained story. Because as good as JJ and the gang are at serialization, they know episodic as well.

 

And that is the key. If you are a writer-producer doing long-form television in a serialized format, you have to do two things, you have to continue the over-arching story, and you have to make every episode entertaining for those who just parachuted in. If Lost had not done that, they would have screwed the pooch, and the show would have been cancelled because by about year 3, we all would have been completely frustrated at ABC doling out the shows that slowly, and would have Lost (no pun) interest. People that I know that could not enjoy each ep for what it was did lose interest, and the audience did erode.

 

And Lost taught those writer-producers who could understand that concept, just how important it was to do that. Or maybe they got it from some other source, either before or after Lost, and maybe some never learned that at all.

 

So ask yourself, "am I enjoying this ep based on this ep?" and if the answer is no, do yourself a favor and stop watching. Ask "am I enjoying spending time with these characters?" for any drama. Ask "have I laughed enough, or even at all?" for any comedy. Brain surgery, it ain't.

 

But this is Bochco, and he seems to be smart enough to know all of this. Hill St and NYPD Blue were serial procedurals, but you could still watch any ep as a new viewer in a vacuum and come away entertained. Maybe not so much with Cop Rock.


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#4 OFFLINE   Galaxie6411

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 08:20 PM

I'll give it a look.  Replays of ep. 1 Thurs. night and Sat. morning.  Sure is nice compared to network one and done and hope you can find it online.


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#5 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 03:51 PM

I think it has promise. I do not understand the significance of the dying wife, or how that may relate to the story or to Taye Diggs' character's motivation; it feels more like an unconnected, unneeded B story, and a depressing one at that, possibly some way of a writer who experienced this in real life getting his own personal closure, which does not belong in the show. We don't need DIggs to have a huge personal loss to be invested in the character or understand why he does his job the way he does, or to set up his availability for a tryst with his partner. The tech guy seems a bit stereotyped and one-dimensional as well. Both things make me question the focus of the writing.

 

This feels like something the junior varsity team in Vancouver might be producing, good enough for summer but not able to make the big league of in-season cable or network. The end-of-show promo makes me hope there is much beyond what was shown us in the pilot.

 

Of course the obvious comparison would be to Murder One, circa 1995, also by Bochco, which was brilliant and captivating and helped launch the careers of a number of actors, including Mary McCormack, Gregory Itzin, Daniel Benzali, and Dylan Baker. And by comparison to that, this one is pretty shallow.


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#6 OFFLINE   1980ws

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 04:01 AM

Good to have Kathleen Robertson back on my screen.


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#7 OFFLINE   Drucifer

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 12:22 PM

I'm going record it and watch as a whole at the its season.


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#8 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 11:42 AM

Good to have Kathleen Robertson back on my screen.

 

Kinda yummy, no?


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#9 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 07:55 PM

...This feels like something the junior varsity team in Vancouver might be producing, good enough for summer but not able to make the big league of in-season cable or network. The end-of-show promo makes me hope there is much beyond what was shown us in the pilot.

 

Of course the obvious comparison would be to Murder One, circa 1995, also by Bochco, which was brilliant and captivating and helped launch the careers of a number of actors, including Mary McCormack, Gregory Itzin, Daniel Benzali, and Dylan Baker. And by comparison to that, this one is pretty shallow.

 

OK, I am ready to revise my opinion. This show is starting to develop a style, and a personality. It has a tone to it now, and it now feels like a very polished production. Not many shows ever achieve that. Maybe it is the Bochco pedigree shining through; I just have no way of knowing. But without the story or plot or acting really having improved much, the show is getting better because it seems to have found a pace and is settling into a groove. Nice to see that.


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#10 OFFLINE   Supramom2000

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 10:23 PM

I agree Tom, and I also think you were right about your first review regarding the death of the wife.  What was the point?  I haven't seen it impact any portion of the show currently.


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#11 OFFLINE   Supramom2000

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 10:47 PM

And for an update - is anyone still watching this show?  Last week I was bored and lost track of the plot.  This week, I think I'm done with it. 


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#12 OFFLINE   Drucifer

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 12:10 AM

I'm still waiting until the season ends. It's the only I can watch these stretch out plots.

 

But how is it ratings?


Edited by Drucifer, 15 July 2014 - 12:12 AM.

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#13 OFFLINE   yosoyellobo

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 08:20 AM

Still watching and enjoying it.

#14 OFFLINE   oldschoolecw

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 08:26 AM

Same here, I'm still watching and enjoying it. I haven't watched last nights episode yet, but will sometime today after watching Longmire 1st, Under the Dome 2nd, 24 Live another Day 3rd then I will get to it. 


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#15 OFFLINE   Steve

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 10:33 AM

Ditto. It's not the first show we watch, but it's still holding our interest.
/steve

#16 OFFLINE   Supramom2000

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 12:36 PM

Must just be me then. Although last night I did enjoy some of it.

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#17 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 03:28 PM

I still find that it is among the top 5 available programs that I want to watch when I browse my program list. I probably watch it the same day or within the next two. James Cromwell is amazing, and the writers are giving him amazing lines.

 

What I have noticed about this show that I have not often noticed elsewhere is an attention to fine detail. Very little things are depicted, such as the way a person fails to notice another person is trying to get out of a row of chairs and reacts lately by eventually scrunching out of the way. I have seen half a dozen little extra touches such as this that help to color in the personalities. The end result is that the characters are pretty 3-dimensional, because these little things help to give the impression that this is real rather than a staged drama, and as it turns out, that has a lot of value.

 

But I also agree that the entire story is too short for the number of scheduled eps, and that too little movement is occuring in each ep. They could beef it up with more side stories, but that would just be cheating, and they are already doing that too much. What they really needed was a story that deserved the number of eps they scheduled. Too late, probably, to fix that.

 

I also will be disappointed if I have already figured out the killer and "big reveal" expected somewhere near the end. They have been good about not too many red herrings though, which implies talented writing in itself. And I think the writing is top-notch here.


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#18 OFFLINE   Drucifer

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 12:14 PM

OK, I believe this season is over. I have it all in the can. Is it worth watching in one sitting?


Edited by Drucifer, 12 August 2014 - 12:15 PM.

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#19 OFFLINE   oldschoolecw

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 01:13 PM

OK, I believe this season is over. I have it all in the can. Is it worth watching in one sitting?

I stopped watching about 3 episodes ago and cancelled the series. I enjoyed it at first then it just got way to out their for my liking.


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#20 OFFLINE   Supramom2000

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 01:42 PM

I almost cancelled it.  But I kept it on while doing computer things and last week, I liked it.  I think there is only 1 left, so I'll finish it out.  But for me personally, I wouldn't do it again.


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