Backstrom (Fox)

Professional television critics will usually render an opinion of a new series based on a few episodes. Those of us in the general viewing audience not so privileged to receive advance copies must make our decision to continue watching a series based on less viewing time. If a program appears even a little bit hopeful, we might stick around to see how, or if, it develops.

And so, here we have Backstrom, a cadaver. What is one to say except that Rainn Wilson appears to be a likable fellow, quirky, if his performance on The Office charms you. But as Backstrom, not so much, as the entire show is not so much.

We viewers certainly can appreciate the effort. Hey, irascible but lovable House won over a big audience for years. How about that Sherlock guy, intuiting clues from the vapors? How many lives has he had? Don’t forget good old Bones, lacking social skills in a comical way but, boy, can she draw conclusions from a bag of bones. And, can you believe it, two out of three hits are on Fox! So here’s the pitch, let’s roll all three into one and layer on a bunch of bad habits and even worse behavior. For good measure toss in a cute, serious girl detective to play Backstrom’s foil. Oh, and a personal bodyguard to keep the generally incompetent cop safe, you know, for more yuks. One more thing, smack around those smart-aleck CSI folks who proliferate like bunnies. Can’t miss.

Perhaps in episode two, Backstrom should stare deeply at each actor, and himself in a mirror, to understand how such a fine troupe found anything appealing in the spec script their agents presented them. Surely, at least Backstrom could detect a cadaver from the pasty white of the paper.

Something to delete from your DVR, if you saved it with hopeful expectations. w/c


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