Saturday, April 23, 2011

TV TOPIC: "Bones" Spin-off Starring Geoff Stults, Michael Clarke Duncan, & Saffron Burrows

This week during “Bones,” viewers were treated to a sneak peek of a potential new crime series, which FOX is referring to as a “Bones” spinoff. They used the series’ usual airtime to introduce a trio of investigators led by a man they call The Finder (Geoff Stults). Since Booth and Brennan are more accustomed to finding criminals and not lost items, it made a little sense that they had to hire someone else for the job. Booth, however, wasn’t too pleased about it. He had previously met Walter, The Finder, when he was arrested for going AWOL in an attempt to see his son Parker be born. Walter found him and interrupted his family moment. Needless to say, Booth was holding a grudge.

Brennan, on the other hand, didn’t believe in what Booth referred to as Walter's “magic” gift. So to prove his ability to both Brennan and the viewers, Walter promised to find a science fair medal she lost when she was a kid. During his search for the treasure map that pertained to the case they were working on, he succeeded in finding that medal along with a newspaper clipping of a photo of Brennan with her mom at the fair. Thus, winning her over and gaining her rare stamp of approval. But did he win viewers over too?

Not so fast. The problem with new crime shows is that they tend to tread the same ground as all the others with a few tweaks that allow them to consider themselves unique. During one scene, someone refers to Walter and his partners as a makeshift Mod Squad. But the trio they reminded me of were actually from a more recent series, USA Network’s “Burn Notice.” Check out the similarities below and get to know these characters before the new series (possibly) debuts:

Walter a.k.a. Wally (Geoff Stults from “October Road”)
Burn Notice doppelganger: Michael, the team leader who is the mastermind of all plans.
Skill Set: He served two tours in Iraq and after a serious brain injury, he gained the innate ability to find anything and anyone in the world—a skill that’s a cross between Sean from “Psych” and the title character of “Monk.”
Flaws: His condition makes him extremely paranoid. He’s suspicious of everything. If someone calls him, he doesn’t only ask who’s calling, but questions how they got the number. That’s not that unreasonable, but when he decided to rudely insinuate that a waitress could be asked for decaf and choose to bring non-decaf, it just started to sound a little petty. And week after week of that could get annoying.
Cool Factor: 6/10

Leo (Michael Clarke Duncan from The Green Mile)
Burn Notice doppelganger: Sam, the old fogie who advises the team leader and talks him off the edge when necessary.
Skill Set: He’s their legal advisor and their muscle when things get sketchy.  
Flaws: They’re trying a little too hard to bury Duncan’s meathead reputation by making him a well-read, prose-spouting, law degree-carrying pacifist. It's fine to try new things, but it gets a little annoying when he spontaneously quotes literature. He also tends to list every charge that can be brought against Walter for whatever crime he's committing in the moment. I can get used to both of those annoying habits. What I can’t get used to is their attempt at saddling him with some tribal cultural background that compels him to start sentences with “My people...,” or "Where I come from..."
Cool Factor: 2/10
Ike (Saffron Burrows from Deep Blue Sea)  
Burn Notice doppelganger: Fiona a.k.a Fi, the foreign pretty face with a mean-streak and a way with weapons and gadgets.
Skill Set: She has a similar skill to Walter in that she can learn a lot about a person just by looking at them and the way they live. She has a keen eye for surveillance and security, and can spot a con from a mile away. Plus, she's a pilot.
Flaws: Her Cockney accent is a little hard to understand half the time, and she’s playing a lot younger than she actually is. Her attire and behavior would suggest late 20s/early 30s, but she’ll be 40 next year. And I'm not sure if her suggested age or low class accent is the reason she says words incorrectly, like "philialsophical" and "enabilizer," but it's a little offensive that the girl is the "dumb one."
Cool Factor: 4/10

Despite their low scores, I do like Stults and I like his method of investigation, trying to walk a day in his missing person's shoes to figure out how they live and think minus the sound effects and visual signifiers of a clue discovered. I prefer zany, dramedy, crime-solving shows over the “Law & Order” and “CSI”-type police procedurals, so I’d give it a shot. But I think it should be a summer series. That’s where all the light and fun shows go to flourish.

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