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Stay Tuned
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Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Life" Review: NBC Must Be Joking

In the new NBC drama, “Life,” the main character says that the universe is playing a joke on all of us.

I think it’s actually NBC that’s playing the joke by putting this show on the air…

“Life” centers around Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis), a cop who spent 12 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He sued the police department and received an undisclosed settlement rumored to be around $50 million. And Charlie was reinstated to the force as a detective.

His new partner, Dani (Sarah Shahi), gets stuck with him because she screwed up with drugs. But her lieutenant (who partnered with Dani’s father) gives her a way out if she reports any wrongdoing by Charlie that could allow her to fire him.

And it doesn’t take long to see why Dani would consider that request…

Since “Life” is really just your basic cop show, they try to make it different by making Charlie a little eccentric. He spouts Zen constantly, he eats fruit non-stop and he hires an ex-con (Alan Arkin) to manage his money. I was tired of him within the first five minutes when he started whispering in the ear of a dog and actually waited for him to answer.

And his new discoveries after 12 years (camera phones, IMs, etc.) are funny for the first two, but then they get old really fast.

The show spends so much time on Charlie’s quirky personality that they barely address the most interesting story—Who set Charlie up? We get a small inkling at the end that even sheds a little light on why the lieutenant may want to get rid of him, but by then I was so annoyed by the whole thing it was hard to care.

And using scenes from a documentary to frame each segment is almost as annoying as all that Zen.

The concept of “Life” is a solid one: A wrongly convicted cop trying to get his life back and trying to discover the truth. Unfortunately, the writers decide to play it for laughs and as good as Lewis is, it just doesn’t work.

Maybe I just need to meditate on it…

“Life” premieres Wednesday, September 26th at 10 p.m. on NBC…