Though we are looking for something like the target audience of shows like Ally McBeal and The Practice (only, you know, the new people who are now in that demographic), The Deep End seems to be also trying to spin in elements of other popular shows, like Boston Legal and L.A. Law (ultimately for a somewhat older group).
But wait, there’s more. The show also kicks out the jams, the hot cars, and has a lot of sex everywhere. There’s something weirdly Melrose Place about someone’s living quarters, and The Twilight Series’ Rachelle Lefevre, and True Blood‘s Mehcad Brooks are in the line-up, though just left of center. Tina Majorino is cast as much for her ability to hook the right viewers as anything else as well. Billy Zane and Clancy Brown throw at each other as the big dogs of the law firm who are at each other’s throats, and possibly because a lot of people won’t know who they are, and a lot of other people will say, “Oh my God! Clancy Brown!”
What’s really curious, at least in the pilot, is that you can really feel the show trying to bring in the vibe of at least ten different shows, and it’s a bit uncomfortable. We’re looking at first year associates, so we need to be pushing “youth,” but we have this group of them that are going to be a very tight circle, and we want a sort of The Practice style insofar as how they do things. They aren’t jaded yet, and have morals and whatnot when it comes to dealing with clients. But, they’re just little nothings at a giant firm that makes tons of money, so it’s like The Practice went to work for Boston Legal, but they’re all brand new lawyers. But, one of the two big shots at the firm is very “causey” and “pro bono,” so these new kids have a chance at not being swallowed by corporate law… even though that’s where they work.
Obviously, trying to forge something with what has worked elsewhere is likely to result in something that works. But, is The Deep End going to suffer from trying to be everything to everyone? You can’t tell from the pilot. There’s a lot that’s good, but there’s also a lot that’s weird and feels like it’s trying too hard. There’s also just plain a lot. The show tries to establish so much that it has a pace that might not be sustainable. While a good deal of the show is a lot of fun, much of the pilot is devoted to bouncing around so much that it’s hard to get your feet under you. Look, I can’t care about everything.
The opening ten minutes or so are a bit rough, and this may be a show that requires four or five episodes before you can make a solid commitment, but there’s hope. After we’ve gotten through most of the race, and a pretty cool case involving a custody issue, that scene walking up to the doorbell is a win. It’s brisk and fun, and has characters that allow you to want to get to know them better, but it may be a few weeks before a verdict can really come in. There’s some question about how it will all gel, and at some point they’re going to have to let you take a breath, and the judgement is going to come when you see how you feel at that moment.
Considering everything involved, this is a show that you don’t want to miss the pilot. It’s worth finding out if this is something that will work for you, because if it is, I suspect you’ll love it… eventually.
Take a look at a few of clips to get you as informed as possible. These are all great clips, but I’m going to warn you about the last one – it’s pretty late in the game, and there’s a sense in which it is rather spoilerish.
Are You Screening?
*all images courtesy ABC