Graceland- Pilot Review


STARRING: Aaron Tviet, Daniel Sunjata, Vanessa Ferlito, Brandon Jay McLaren, Manny Montana, Scottie Thompson

DIRECTED BY: Renny Harlin

Last summer, USA unsuccessfully debuted two new series. One was Common Law, the other was Political Animals. So, Graceland has a lot riding on its back, in order to break the trend of being cancelled. This new series has me curious about future episodes, but I’m also worried about longevity. USA shows thrive on unique engaging characters, and Graceland doesn’t have anything you haven’t seen before, nor does it have “bold” character choices.

Mike Warren (Tviet) is a brand new FBI agent with insane test scores and tons of hype. He’s sent to live and work as an undercover agent at Graceland, a beach house that serves as a cover for several undercover agents. He’s supposed to be learning the ropes from Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata), a living legend. Mike expects suit and tie, and gets surfer dude/laid back/oversleeping Briggs. Together, they solve cases (with the help of the supporting cast of agents who also live at the house). There’s a season long arc about the agent who Mike is replacing getting shot, and his partner (Scottie Thompson) trying to solve that case and get some payback.

The thing about Briggs, he still feels like an FBI agent, even when he’s “laid back”. I don’t know if that’s the point, but I would have much rather appreciated a Point Break approach to it, by picking someone unexpected like Ashton Kutcher or something for the part of Briggs. Don’t get me wrong, I love Daniel Sunjata, and I’m super happy he’s been given his own show. I just think this show will quickly devolve into a standard procedural by the end of the season, because the characters aren’t loud enough. House managed to seem different for its entire run because of strong characters. Graceland has bland characters. Tviet especially is still struggling with this “tv acting” thing, having come from Broadway. Nothing he does as his character is particularly convincing.

I’m probably going to check out another episode, but I have a feeling I won’t be finishing the season.

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