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Welcome once again to our annual "first look" at the broadcast networks' offerings for the 2010-2011 season. Each day we'll walk you through one of the new series set to premiere next season (or one that didn't make the cut) and go over our initial impressions after viewing the pilot. Keep in mind that a lot can change from what's being screened right now - recasting, reshooting, etc. - but we still want to give you a heads up on what you should (and shouldn't) keep on your radar in the coming months. So enough of our rambling, on with the show!
[IMPORTANT NOTE: The following is based on the original sales presentation which was screened to us privately or supplied by a third party NOT an informational, not-for-review screener provided by the network in question.]
THE ODDS (CBS)
(written by Jeff Wadlow; directed by Kenneth Fink; TRT: 42:56)
The network's description: No official description has been released...
What did they leave out? ...so everything. Plus, Carrot Top makes a cameo as himself.
The plot in a nutshell: Anywhere else the following would be described as odd: a prized Ted Williams baseball literally falling out of the sky and hitting a collectibles dealer in the head, a human liver turning up on a discarded room service tray and a co-ed being found dead in her room with a samurai sword buried in her chest, Seppuku style - all at the same hotel. But this is Las Vegas where the odd is the ordinary. Solving the aforementioned mysteries then falls to Tyler LaSalley (Donald Faison), the newly instilled lieutenant of the Metro Police Department. He's a by-the-book family man, with a supportive wife (Sarah Jane Morris) and an adorable daughter, who's been brought in from Washington, D.C. to take over for his scruffy, rule-breaking predecessor, Wade Cooper (Sullivan Stapleton).
Wade nevertheless has agreed to stay on as he's more than happy to watch Tyler fall on his face. You see, the murdered girl in question, Heather, turns out to be the estranged daughter of real estate mogul Devin Chambers (apologies as I didn't recognize the actor) who's demanding fast results. Thankfully Tyler proves to be technically savvy as he hacks into her e-mail account and they manage to track down the last person who talked to her. It seems Heather had been turning tricks to pay for her tuition at UNLV, not to mention get back at her father, who's cut her off. Meanwhile, bickering detectives Holt McCready (Kevin Rankin, who calls his partner "Menudo") and Sergio Vargas (Jacob Vargas, who calls his partner "Col. Sanders") are tasked with the baseball incident, which will ultimately prove to be related to Heather's murder.
The same goes for the liver, the thief of which (Girard Swan) is fingered by an overly helpful hospital administrator (Robert Picardo), who says the ex-addict stole it from his morgue to pay for his drug habit. Aiding them/standing in their way from tying it all together then are ADA Tanya Jin (Kelly Hu), who's always cleaning up the legal messes Wade often creates, and Becca (Emily Swallow), Wade's ex-wife, a bounty hunter hoping to cash in on Devin's reward money. Plus the media has gotten wind of the fact Tyler thinks they only have 72 hours to solve the case as that's about as long as the average traveler stays in Vegas. Yup, Tyler and Wade are going to have to set aside their differences to solve this one.
What works: "The Odds" tries to bring a fun, ramshackle energy to the usual police procedural...
What doesn't: ...that never quite manifests. Sullivan and Faison try their best Riggs and Murtaugh shtick but it doesn't come alive. The former's "you can't win if you don't play" tagline is eye-rollingly cliche as he gleefully tackles suspects and kicks open doors without a warrant in the name of closing cases, complete with tough guy wit ("If what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, who do you think cleans up the mess?"; "You picked the wrong day to come out of the closet buddy."), while the latter's straight-laced brand of techno justice (hacking into a suspect's phone via Bluetooth, no problem!) is forgettably bland.
To its credit, the show tries to give them some depth - Wade has a teenage daughter with Becca who hates him; Tyler, in a closing reveal, apparently has some skeletons of his own in the closet; and Tyler's father-in-law, Ed Sumpter (Alan Thicke, yes, that Alan Thicke), turns out to be the City Council member who got Wade demoted - but it's all relatively shrugworthy. Throw in some genuinely cringe-worthy dialogue (Tyler, thinking other working girls might recognize Heather's killer: "Get McCready and Vargas back in here and start booking rubdowns." Wade: "Now that's a happy ending!"; Tyler: "Don't knock Pilates buddy, you should try it." Wade: "I tried it once, my balls kept on getting in the way.") and at best...
The bottom line: ...it's a swing and a miss.