The new season got off to a bad start tonight as Fox aired the first new fiction series, K-Ville, an over-the-top cop drama set in the slowly-recovering city of New Orleans.
Now, New Orleans was the sort of flashy city that one could put an old, over-the-top 1970s cop show, with casinos and mystics and various forms of cultural richness. Take a look at, say, the Chief Wiggum storyline on “The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase”, or the backdoor Las Vegas: New Orleans pilot, to see the sort of thing I mean.
Problem is that New Orleans now is not quaintly quirky, it is horribly, tragically troubled. K-Ville tries to have it both ways, acting like it takes the situation in the city seriously while adding cartoonishly-evil scheming villains doing ridiculous things for ridiculous motivations. This denigrates the real, base-level human problems at hand. It tries to treat its subject as dark and serious, but there is no depth to the seriousness. Tawdry exploitation of real tragedy. And not even fun tawdry exploitation. (Lucky for me, I can cleanse my pallet with the season closer of Saving Grace, which opens with Holly Hunter having fun while tied butt-nekkid to a bed. Tawdry exploitation, yes, but with fun in place. Now that scene is over, and we’re on to things that we’re supposed to take seriously… but at least I got my moment!)