‘Breaking In’ Revamp Reveals Fox’s Bad ‘Fix’ Habit

Fox is getting into a bad habit: Renewing marginally rated series, but then trying to “fix” them.

The last grand experiment, “Human Target,” took a fun, kind of charming show and pretty well messed it up. The latest, “Breaking In,” was less promising the first time around, but the network’s solution, oddly, Breakinginis almost exactly the same: Bringing in a female character who bankrolls (or in this case, buys) the existing entity, trying to tart up the show’s dynamic.

So the security firm featured in the program, headed by Christian Slater, is acquired by a new boss played by “Will & Grace’s” Megan Mullally. All this really does is take a concept that was slightly over the top to begin with and ratchet up the silliness, “Spinal Tap”-style, to about an eleven.

The only really clever bit happens right at the outset, when Slater’s character makes a pitch to sell “Mr. Fox” on his enterprise –- a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to how close the show came to extinction.

But with the changes made, and the series placed behind “New Girl” –- the bright spot in a pretty weak Tuesday comedy lineup also consisting of “Raising Hope” and “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” with “Glee” taking a breather –- my guess is the network didn’t prevent its demise; rather, it merely postponed it.

The larger question is this dubious notion of making shows more appealing –- presumably to women –- by casting female characters and trying to earn a second bite at the apple. Sure, Mullally has a track record, but it’s hard to imagine many people rediscovering this Sony Pictures Television series based on her addition.

The bottom line: Either exhibit faith in a show and renew it, or unless you really have a fresh take, why not just go back to the drawing board and start over with something new?

“Breaking In” might be a second-rate caper, but that doesn’t mean it deserves second-class treatment.

“Breaking In” airs at 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Fox starting March 6.

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