The next report card is for the new CBS television series Training Day based off the 2001 film of the same name.
I like that this is a spinoff of the film and not a reboot, and I like how the very end of this episode put a twist on things by saying our protagonist Kyle Craig is going to put our resident jerkass Frank Roarke through the training to become a better person, but outside of that, this was incredibly basic.
Have you seen Rush Hour or Lethal Weapon or any other cop shows? That's this one. There will be a case of the week and they'll solve them while little threads for the overarching story will be told piece by piece until a big blowoff for the mid-season and season finales. This isn't breaking any new ground whatsoever and I already watch enough shows similar to this that are frankly better.
Bill Paxton as Frank Roarke is far too likable of a guy to be anything comparable to Denzel Washington's Alonzo Harris, who was just a reprehensible asshole in mostly every regard. I don't know if that's a flaw in his acting, the writing, or both, but for this to be a show about him being a bad person and for the first episode to make me think he's on par with every other "lovable douchebag" on television means they failed to accomplish what they were going for.
Strangely enough, I like the Kyle Craig character as being the moral high ground a lot more than Ethan Hawke's character Jake Hoyt, but Justin Cornwell doesn't strike me as leading man material to pull off the role super well. He seemed very wooden in every scene. Every other character was completely forgettable. Katrina Law being cast as "obligatory strong female with a bitchy attitude who can totally take care of herself cause we need to check that off our diversity list" is just blah. Lex Scott Davis as Kyle's wife was pretty charming and Julie Benz as a queen of the prostitutes (okay, technically a "madam" but I think my term is funnier) was probably the standout and I can't imagine she'd be more than a special guest star now and again. Who was the random other white guy hanging out with Katrina Law? That guy was pretty pointless and not worth any screen time. Also, please don't ever bring that monkey back to any scenes as that thing was annoying as hell.
VISUALS (FX, MAKEUP, COSTUMES, SETS): B+
Nothing to complain about here. It's a television show, so you can't expect movie budgets, so everything looked fine for what it was.
MUSIC & SOUND: C–
Meh. Nothing stood out to me negatively or positively. This was just generic filler background noise, so I can't really give it a horrible rating for being "bad" but I certainly can't give it a positive rating for being "good" as it was neither. It just simply "was" and that's C- worthy.
TONE & ATMOSPHERE: C
ACTION: Out of these three categories, this was the best one, but it wasn't anything special.
COMEDY: Too much comedy for something based off this source material. I wanted this to be dark and gritty, which would let it stand out from so many of the other shows that have come and gone. Maybe instead of CBS, this would have worked better as a show on Netflix.
ROMANCE: Kyle already has a wife and if she gets too involved into the plot, it will seem like it's forced. Frank flirted a bit with Julie Benz's character, but I don't really want to see a romantic substory going on.
FINAL GRADE: C–
I normally give shows at least three episodes before making a decision to continue watching it or not, but I was so unimpressed with this that I doubt I'll give it another viewing. If I hear amazing things about it picking up the pace and getting better, I'll retroactively go back and watch from episode 2 onward. Somehow, I don't think that will happen. As a mid-season show, they probably knew this was a risky series to try to bank on after seeing how the pilot turned out, which would explain why there doesn't seem to be a big order of episodes for it.