What’s with the near simultaneous emergence of two cop shows with Blue in the title. Did someone do the research to discover that Blue is the word most linked with successful cop shows, given the success of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue… heck, even Pacific Blue lasted five seasons. (Off the top of my head, I cannot think of any Blue cop show failures, although the same does not hold true for non-cop Blue – Bay City Blues, anyone?)
Memphis Blues launched on TNT the day after they aired the final episode of Saving Grace, and it seems designed to fill its space in more ways than one. It’s a southern city-based cop show with a very similar visual texture and much the same sense of the ribald camaraderie among police officers, plus the same sense of being invested in the local community. It is lacking, of course, the most powerful attraction of Saving Grace; I quite enjoy Jason Lee and Alfre Woodard, but really, can that beat nekkid Holly Hunter?
The show tries to set up Lee’s character as a cop with a holistic view on life, able to sing Elvis, to get information out of a little girl by playing dolls with her, to do what it takes to work out what needs working out. But the things that are supposed to seem quirky and interesting seem more uncomfortable, There are are some bad production choices, like running a soundtrack over a dramatic scene with Woodard, where the music does not match well with the talented rhythms. It’s not enough to make me run screaming, but I certainly don’t feel like I gotta see more of this.