Forget slings and arrows. These days, Cupid is packing heat. Things are so bad on Earth, what with wars, financial crises and technology-driven relationships, that even the gods of love have itchy trigger fingers and no job security. Such is the premise of “Valentine,” the new comedy from Kevin Murphy and Media Rights Capital, the fledgling independent studio. The anchor to the venture’s new brokered Sunday lineup on CW, “Valentine” will certainly need divine intervention.
Set up like a procedural cop show, each episode introduces viewers to couples who, for whatever reason, have narrowly missed hooking up with their soulmates. The fates, still on the side of mortals but bogged down by too many other issues, enlist the help of none other than the goddess of love, Aphrodite, who now goes by the name of Grace Valentine (Jaime Murray).
Grace is sexy and smug, but even she is out of her league given the current state of human affairs. It seems email dating and text-message relationships have all but killed true romance. With the help of Leo, formerly known as Hercules (Robert Baker); her son Eros, aka Cupid, aka Danny (Kristopher Polaha); her prognosticating daughter Phoebe (Autumn Reeser); and the Oracle of Delphi (in the form of a bubbling hot tub), the group intervenes to bring people together. A dysfunctional family on a mythical level, the family business is not run as a good-will charity — gods who become irrelevant become mortal and die.
This isn’t the first time Hollywood has looked to the heavens for inspiration. Jeremy Piven did a turn as a god of love in the pre-“Entourage” series “Cupid,” but one would have to go back to “The Charmings” — about fairy-tale characters living in Burbank — to find a plot this contrived.
That’s not to say the show isn’t without a few moments. Polaha is funny as the smarmy Danny, the bad boy who often fires his love gun prematurely. Besides a few screwball scenes and hints at a possible pairing a la “Romancing the Stone” between Danny and moony-eyed romance novelist Kate Providence (Christine Lakin), the rest feels rather ridiculous.
Murphy’s previous credits include “Reaper,” and maybe it says something about the world when the devil on Earth makes for better material than love and all that mushy stuff. Mortals, Danny complains, are constantly creating substitutions for human interaction. Judging from this show, one can hardly blame them.
Jaime Murray and Kristopher Polaha star as a mother-son pair of heat-packing love gods in ‘Valentine.’