July 17, 2006Feature
A Little CW Preview
Reviews of The Game and Runaway
A lot of industry eyes are fixed on The CW, the new network touting itself as the best of the soon-to-be defunct WB and UPN. But what the new network lacks is new programming.
Let's not mince words: The Game is bad. Really, really bad.
Every plot development, every character is a pale shadow of a better show. There's the meddlesome mama, the rookie's girlfriend, the star's trophy wife. There's the false crisis with an attractive groupie, and the stiff setup involving the womanizer. It's impossible to say at this point whether the show will get better — after all, there are great shows with mediocre pilots (Sports Night) and mediocre shows with great pilots (Commander in Chief) — but considering The CW has buried The Game at 8:30 Sunday night, it's questionable whether the San Diego Sabers and their women will last out the full season.
Darren Star's Runaway offers a much more enjoyable diversion, but it's not without its problems. Starring Donnie Wahlberg as the patriarch of a family on the run for a crime he's accused of, the show is ambitious in its scope and certainly has quality production values on its side. It likely will appeal to fans of shows like Prison Break or 24 (the mom is even played by Leslie Hope, who played Teri Bauer in Season 1 of 24), but it's easy to see the central conceit of the show wearing thin by midseason.
Still and all, there are interesting character moments and the mystery at the root of everything seems promising enough for at least a few episodes. (Then again, remember last season's ill-fated Reunion, which started off with such a strong concept and mystery and shortly descended into unwatchable melodrama?)
Runaway is set to air at 9 Monday nights, putting it in competition with NBC's new supernatural drama Heroes (which is already picking up good buzz) and Fox's 24 (once that starts up) and new drama Vanished (which looks to be another short-timer). After viewing the pilot, it's safe to say that Runaway is TiVo-worthy, but not yet appointment television.
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