August 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm #294139
Low Winter Sun (AMC)
Premiere: Sunday, August 11, 10 p.m. after Breaking Bad
Cast: Mark Strong, Lennie James, James Ransone, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Sprague Grayden, Athena Karkanis, Billy Lush, David Costabile
Premise: Murder, deception, revenge and corruption that starts with the murder of a cop by fellow Detroit detective, Frank Agnew.
Metacritic: 59/100 (27 reviews)August 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm #294141
Chief among the reasons to be patient with Low Winter Sun is its best character — the crumbling, haunting beauty of Detroit, which is a majestic visual criterion equal to the use of New Orleans in HBO’s Treme.
The corruption, rot and pride that Detroit exudes is metaphorically significant to the characters in Low Winter Sun, which centers on two detectives who come to the conclusion that killing a fellow detective is the only answer. The answer to what, exactly, is a question that unspools slowly in Low Winter Sun and frequently works against it.
Sun, a series adaptation of a British miniseries (which also starred Mark Strong) is, after the two episodes I’ve seen, a unremarkable in itself: a paint-by-the-numbers serious-cable series where all the numbers indicate a shade of black. It follows the tense, claustrophobic internal-affairs investigation after Frank is led into killing another cop by his partner, Joe Geddes (Lennie James). It has the outer trappings of quality drama, but no seeming animating ideas beyond: Damn, this is dark, am I right? Damn! Dammmmmmmmmmn.
Sun aspires to the breadth if not the depth of The Wire. But it’s so self-conscious in its existential misery, lacking the leavening humor and humanity of a modern classic like Breaking Bad, that it often feels more punishing than provocative.August 9, 2013 at 6:01 pm #294142
lennie james + mark strong + Amc
What could go wrong? I’m in for this.August 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm #294143
Really hoping that this is a great starring vehicle for Mark Strong.August 10, 2013 at 10:29 am #294144
sounds good.August 11, 2013 at 9:58 pm #294145
Most of the marketing emphasized Mark Strong, but if anyone, I thought Lennie James felt like the star of “Pilot“, and he did have the standout performance. There’s no doubt the cast is very good. This was a bleak hour of dirty cops digging up dirt on other dirty cops. The story was good enough to get things started but the characters didn’t really grab me. There’s not much to distinguish these cynical guys from each other yet. While I thought this was, on merit, a better hour of televison than the Ray Donovan pilot, I’m not sure I see as many seeds of potential here as I did in that show.
Smart (or lucky) move, getting David Costabile on screen early while the Breaking Bad fans were still waiting to see their next episode preview!
B-August 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm #294146
The thing I disliked most about this pilot is something that the
Hollywood Reporter review cut the writer(s) a little slack on: the fact
that we’re dropped into the middle of things with no explanation as to
who anyone is or what their chief motivations are. Right now, the shows
and its two leads revolve almost entirely around a single murder; this
isn’t necessary a bad thing, except that we don’t get even a glimpse of
who Joe (Lennie James) and Frank (Mark Strong) are before they do the
deed, and therefore have little to no concept that they are “men pushed
to their limits” or even “victims of circumstance.” Instead, they
immediately come off as generically dirty cops, which does not bode well
for the audience’s sympathies or for their tolerance for the show in
general. Unlike Walter White, neither of these men can claim to be doing
things for the good of the family they are leaving behind. Unlike Don
Draper, they can’t claim to be lonely men stuck in their time, though
the scarred-souls-in-a-scarred-city metaphor is not lost on anyone
watching, I’m sure. They killed someone, and that’s as much material as
they’ve been given to chew on so far.
Granted, we see Frank and
his girlfriend/wife in a cheesily-shot flashbacks, and we are meant to
consider that dead cop McCann did something to her, but boy does that
feel like a thousand other cop shows, reheated in a microwave to give it
that “something more” flavor that AMC really hasn’t been delivering
with its newest batch of dramas. Even the subplot, which follows a batch
of criminals that McCann was passing off drugs to, gives me the feeling
of “been there, done that…. many, many times.” I’ll be interested to
see if showrunner Chris Mundy can flesh out our lead characters and make
the two-and-a-half hour British miniseries stretch across 10 – 13 hours
of American television. Right now, I don’t feel very confident. But
hey, I’m all for being surprised.August 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm #294147
I am a little disappointed, a product of AMC pretend to be a FX drama, I don’t understand why.August 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm #294148
Woah, AMC has the full pilot episode available for free streaming on YouTube worldwide.