Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Pedigree: The show is based on a Spanish series; this version was developed by Jeff Rake (The Tomorrow People), who wrote the pilot and executive produces along with Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Brothers & Sisters), Aaron Kaplan (The Neighbors), McG (Supernatural, Chuck), and others. McG directed the pilot.
The Cast & How You Know Them: The Mysteries of Laura stars Debra Messing (Will & Grace) along with Josh Lucas (The Firm), Laz Alonso (Deception), Janina Gavankar (True Blood), and relative newcomer Max Jenkins.
The Premise: Can a woman be a mom and a detective? (No, really, that’s it. That’s the premise.)
What Works: Um . . . The cast is reasonably strong. It’s a pity they don’t have more decent stuff to do. Oh, and I will say that the solution to the mystery of the week was something I haven’t seen on procedurals very often, so kudos for trying, I guess, but I’d rather have seen the idea handled by practically any other show.
What Doesn’t: Pretty much everything. Honestly, I’d heard that this was one of the worst new shows of the season, but I didn’t entirely believe it, because I often tend to like procedurals more than most critics do. But no, they were right, and this was awful. The premise is boring and out-of-date, but it could have been saved by funny writing or engaging characters or interesting mysteries. Unfortunately, the show has none of that. I tend to like Debra Messing, but her character here was utterly unsympathetic. The procedural half of the show is mostly just boring and flat, with forays into ridiculous unprofessionalism. And the family half provides no respite, as the children are monsters – and not even in a fun-to-watch way, just straight out terrible – and the soon-to-be ex-husband is supposed to still have romantic/sexual tension with Laura, I think, but newsflash: not leaving a woman alone when she tells you to is creepy, not romantic. Though I guess we shouldn’t expect better from a show that’s still trying to figure out whether working mothers can exist.
Our Favorite Line: “Skip? This is parenting, Jake, not Pilates.”
You Might Like This if you want a new procedural to watch while multitasking that won’t take up too much of your attention, and have a very high tolerance for terrible children and also pretty terrible adults.
(Photo courtesy of NBC.)