Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Take Me To The Pilots '15: FOX's 'Rosewood'

[You know the drill, and I will continue to mention it in each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews may be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show: "Rosewood" (FOX)
The Pitch: "We need something to air with 'Empire.'" "Something compatible?" "Meh. Only on the most superficial level."
Quick Response: Not to accuse FOX of scheduling-by-profiling, but "Rosewood" has essentially been scheduled in a slot paired with breakout smash "Empire" because star Morris Chestnut is African-American and not because anything in the tone, style, structure, pacing or... anything is really joining the shows together. Despite the Miami setting and occasionally flashy director Richard Shepard behind the camera, "Rosewood" is a pretty bland affair, more compatible with TNT or Blue Skies USA's brand of procedurals than any recent FOX successes in general or FOX's midseason breakout Wednesday smash "Empire" in specific. Chestnut's Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. -- it's a name that stays hilarious in each nickname and variant -- is a Private Pathology Consultant, something I know both because the character puts up billboards all around Miami and because he has to keep repeating his professional specifics, because if you don't remember those key distinctions -- "private" and "consultant" in particular -- you'd never guess what the hook was that attracted creator Todd Harthan to this character and this world. The point is that "Rosie" doesn't work for the Miami PD, but he often works with them, so it's a different relationship than it would be if he were just a police pathologist. And because he's able to take his money and channel it directly into his business, he has fancy toys which, at least in the pilot, are only a little thrilling. "Rosewood" may conceivably be hamstrung by being too pseudo-realistic, because nothing Rosie does in the pilot is anything you haven't seen a TV pathologist do before, usually with fabulously flashy gizmos that don't exist yet. But Rosie does it and you go... Shrug. Rosie is also, to put it kindly, really annoying. He's got an array of medical issues that leave him talking about how much he loves life and savors each moment, but he does it with a cocky, optimistic smugness that we're supposed to find lovable because they're coming from Morris Chestnut. And I guess I'm pleased that this is the meatiest role that Chestnut has been given in years and he surely has the swagger of a star, but I don't think the admire-to-pity-to-empathize ratio with Rosie is properly calibrated in the early-going, especially as relates to the supporting characters. I didn't buy his interest in newly returned Miami Detective Villa (Jaina Lee Ortiz), which is bad because it's one of the character's key humanizing relationships. His care for a young girl in his building -- "Ben & Kate" vet Maggie Elizabeth Jones' Bella -- is just straight-up pandering and never feels developed. And it's hard to get what's happening with Rosie's grumpy mentor, played by Clancy Brown. These relationships all fail even though the characters are all reading expositional dialogue at each other, announcing each other's credentials and whatnot. At every stage, I think this pilot needed more development, but FOX needed contenders to go with "Empire" even more.
Desire To Watch Again: Almost none. If the clunkiness and kinks get worked out, I'm still not sure that "Rosewood" plays as more than a generic procedural and it's nowhere near that yet. Some viewers, though, will probably appreciate Rosie's optimism over the familiar House/Rake FOX procedural grumps. And plenty of viewers will be happy just to look at Morris Chestnut. So be it.

Take Me To The Pilots '15: CBS' 'Limitless'
Take Me To The Pilots '15: ABC's 'Dr. Ken'
Take Me To The Pilots '15: NBC's 'Blindspot'
Take Me To The Pilots '15: FOX's 'Grandfathered'
Take Me To The Pilots '15: CBS' 'Angel From Hell'
Take Me To The Pilots '15: ABC's ' 'Quantico'
Take Me To The Pilots '15: NBC's ' 'The Player'
Take Me To The Pilots '15: FOX's ' 'The Grinder' 
Take Me To The Pilots '15: CBS' 'Supergirl'
All of my 2014 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2013 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries


  1. I saw this at ATX. How did you feel about the over the top cliche suspects/villains? How did you like the climatic scene punctuated by fireworks? How long until the two main characters get together? Answer: after the show is cancelled.

    1. I didn't feel especially positive about anything!


  2. Oliver5:54 PM

    The trailer felt like blandified USA show from circa a decade ago. And they weren't exactly full of flavour to begin with.

    On a related note, I find it crazy that Fox didn't move Empire to 8 as lead-in to a new show. I wonder if The Blacklist struggling in its new timeslot has made schedulers nervous? ABC was also super-conservative in its scheduling.

    1. FOX execs swore that "Empire" would have been able to play in the 8 p.m. hour, content-wise, but it's hard to imagine there weren't some concerns along those lines. I think it's also possible FOX didn't have anything that seemed like a clearly compatible lead-out? Because the 8 p.m. Wednesday hour is far softer on several levels...


  3. Somebody better send the writers a couple of seasons of Davincis Inquest. Which basically the Canadian Version of Homicide: Life on the streets set around coroner office and also follow two pairs of detectives solving Homicides.

  4. I really like Morris Chestnut so I was pretty excited for this show, but the pilot was a bit was like they were trying way too hard to establish all the quirks of his character. I will say this though, I thought the same thing about the first few episodes of Hannibal, and that ended up being a really good I'll give it a chance. Oh and I also loved how they used "Go" by The Chemical Brothers during the opening scene - that's one of my favorite running songs, too I'm glad Rosewood and I think alike.