Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Chase: All Filler, No Killer
Series that last a full season and then get cancelled are like gifts given and then taken back. An hour a week from September to May, emotional investment, multiple story arcs, maybe a cliffhanger, and it all adds up to nothing. NBC's Mercy was one such show last season, the one-and-done story of a nurse (Taylor Schilling) juggling the chaos of a New Jersey hospital, a marriage, and a colleague who was her battlefield lover. I mention Mercy because I would have loved to see Schilling's live-wire character transplanted to the new NBC show Chase. U.S. Marshal Annie Frost (Kelli Giddish) leads an ethnically diverse team of Texas crime fighters that could swap out with the cast of any other Jerry Bruckheimer production. In the opening scene Annie sets off a cattle stampede while in pursuit of a fugitive; there's a reference to how much damage was caused and then it's never mentioned again. There's some vague mention of Annie's back story, parents don't seem to be a part of her life, but she's essentially an automaton and Giddish plays her like one. Annie is given crumbs of "attitude" (a taste for country music and a soft way with children) but she and her crew live in a fantasy world where the bad guys are charming rogues like Mason Boyle (Travis Fimmel), whom I suspect we'll see again, and where there are no logistical or procedural impediments to the pursuit of the fugitives. The supporting cast includes Cole Hauser as a sidekick who apparently isn't anything more (yet) and Rose Rollins (The L Word) as a second-string badass character yet to be developed. There's little sense of place or regional flavor in Chase; the show needs a big helping of personality and some better acting from its lead to avoid a quick exit.