Fast, slick and at times adventurous, the two-hour bow of this new hourlong series succeeds on several levels as it endeavors to capture the intricacies of TV newsrooms. Though style often overshadows substance, a first-rate cast of believable principals and the familiarity of the subject -- viewers need only turn to their favorite local newscast to witness some of the dopiness lampooned in the seg -- should help series score with the armchair crowd.

Fast, slick and at times adventurous, the two-hour bow of this new hourlong series succeeds on several levels as it endeavors to capture the intricacies of TV newsrooms. Though style often overshadows substance, a first-rate cast of believable principals and the familiarity of the subject — viewers need only turn to their favorite local newscast to witness some of the dopiness lampooned in the seg — should help series score with the armchair crowd.

Bow pivots around the murder of the wife of a businessman and political heavy-hitter whose clout keeps the cops quiet on the progress of the investigation and the circumstances surrounding his wife’s demise.

Add to the mix a newly hired news director (Jeff Yagher) who uproots his family to move to L.A. to steer the “Re-Action” news team, obstinate station management, on-air personality egos and the pressures of beating the competition , and the show’s writers have plenty of material.

But show’s eager-beaver team of cameramen, Fast Eddie Santini (Michael Watson) and Tommy Greer (Hill Harper), drive the show with their get-the-shot-at-all-costs mentality.

The team also is most often used to illuminate the pack journalism currently practiced by the media and the increasingly tabloid nature of TV news.

But scribes Dan Guentzelman and Steve Marshall don’t strive to articulate a point of view about the biz; rather, they alternate between indicting the process and praising it.

Show’s heavy reliance on music should help it stand out from other comers. It uses tracks from artists as diverse as Annie Lennox and AC/DC to lift sagging segs or snap viewers to attention.

Director Colin Bucksey guides a diverse, skilled cast through its paces, though the series preem featured few standouts. Eddie Velez as the ethnically challenged, Armani-sporting reporter who also anchors the noon newscast offers an entertaining take on the profession; Sam Anderson as the holier-than-thou conservative commentator is wickedly over the top.

But the stars of this series are likely to be the production personnel, such as production designer Richard B. Lewis, art director Richard Reynolds, d.p. Robert Stevens and editor John Martinelli, who team to create a vivid and enticing offering, even when the onscreen action lulls.

Live Shot

(Tues. (29), 9-11 p.m., UPN)

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles by Rysher Entertainment in association with United Paramount Network. Exec producers, Steve Marshall, Dan Guentzelman, Scott Brazil; writers, Marshall, Guentzelman; director, Colin Bucksey.

Crew

Editor, John A. Martinelli; production design, Richard B. Lewis; director of photography, Robert Stevens; art director, Richard Reynolds; sound, Maury Harris; music, Art Ford, Karl Lundeberg.

Cast

Cast: Sam Anderson, David Birney, Wanda De Jesus, Hill Harper, Spencer Klein, Bruce McGill, Cheryl Pollak, Rebecca Staab, Eddie Velez, Michael Watson, Jeff Yagher, Tom Byrd, David Coburn, Antonia Jones, Dion Anderson, Casey Biggs, Ron Canada, Maria Marshall, Laurie O'Brien, Monte Russell, John Schuck, Richard Yniguez, Terry Kiser, Otto Coehlo, Debra Eisenstadt, Morgan Hunter, Molly Orr, Fred Pinkard, Naya Rivera, John Sanderford, Eric Boles, Carlease Burke, Claudine Claudio, Monica Ford, David Drew Gallagher, Suzanne Goddard, Derik Ross Hixon, Dathan Hooper, Michael Lazar, Bud Leslie, Skip O'Brien, Joseph Reale, Sonya Stephens, Jerry Winsett.
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