The concept behind the new Friday night show Chaos is actually a pretty good one, for something on the Chuck-to-Man from UNCLE range of seriousness and realism: within an intelligence agency whose resources are mostly turned internally in various Machiavellian forms of agency politics, there is a team of able operatives who must go out and do the real work while working to avoid the internal forces that would entangle them.
The problems lie in the execution, the frantic rhythm and the character scenes that are never quite contextually believable. I was already not buying into the pilot before the opening credits… which revealed the name of Brett Ratner on this. Ratner is quite a success in the film world, but his films, while allowing some good moments by giving their actors functioning space, don’t hold together for me. I can rave about the delightful moments where a kinetic Chris Tucker bounces off a silent, amused Paul Sorvino in Money Talks, or talk about a cool moment or two in the Rush Hour films, but the whole never lives up to the parts, and the films more exist as an excuse to glue together those moments rather than a fertile soil from which such moments bloom.
Chaos feels like that. Characters trust one another or distrust one another based not on any history or knowledge or reasonable reason in context, but because it’s what’s needed for the next part of the plot to occur. And due to that, the complexities of their life arise more from their own failures than from the problematic situation they are supposed to be afflicted by.
I assume the network thought this was a no-go; launching a series on a non-sweeps week Friday looks more like a way of dumping ordered episodes than of trying to launch a hit.
NOTE: there are currently three network adventure series with five-letter names starting with CH. None of them are on my watch list. So if anyone out there is planning CHECK, CHEWY, or a remake of CHiPs, reconsider!