Life season one review
"Life is the name of the game" sang Bruce Forsyth "and I want to play the game with you". "Life" sang Amy Winehouse "is like a pipe". She continued "And I’m a tiny penny rolling up the walls inside". All well and good but for Charlie Crews life means Life in the life without parole sense of the word. Crews was an honest cop who served 12 years for the senseless slaughter of a family he counted as friends. As barely needs pointing out in TV these days he NEVER DONE IT and has just been fully exonerated by DNA evidence with the help of his sexy lawyer who also helps him sue the living shit out of the LAPD for an undisclosed sum which apparently runs into the millions. But how can you adequately compensate for countless jailyard beatdowns and the loss of 12 years? Well, $5 million in the bank isn’t a bad start.
Charlie has been changed by his time inside. He’s now knee-deep in Zen philosophy and it soon clear we’re in wacky cop who plays by his own rules territory. He’s a little bit Dr House, a little bit Richard Fish and the clear implication is that his prison inspired perspective on life GETS RESULTS, DAMMIT. Though while he preaches detachment and karma, a vengeful rage eats away at him and he privately reinvestigates the murder that sent him to hell and killed his friends.
"Dani likes to randomly fuck strange men she picks up in bars – she’s a conflicted addictive personality, see."
You may be wondering why Charlie is still working homicide when he has more money than he can count. That shows how little you know about maverick cops. Beyond mere perversity, he wants to keep an eye on the colleagues who sold him down the river for the triple murder. Just who was involved in the frame up and to what extent is the enduring mystery of the first season. Crews had a sexy new detective partner – a recovering alcoholic called Dani Reese . Dani likes to randomly fuck strange men she picks up in bars — she’s a conflicted addictive personality, see. The fiancee of Charlie’s estranged father is played by Christina Hendricks who Aerial Telly may have mentioned in passing in his Mad Men review. He will comment no more on the texture of that particular pastry, preferring to allow the pie to speak for itself.
"The conspiracy behind Charlie’s incarceration unfolds so slowly and is so weak when it is finally revealed that it seems like a big wasted opportunity."
This is a pretty good first season. Charlie is quite a likeable character and the murder of the week he and Dani work on is usually diverting enough. The trouble is the supporting characters aren’t particularly strong and the conspiracy behind Charlie’s incarceration unfolds so slowly and is so weak when it is finally revealed that it seems like a big wasted opportunity. When you’ve been raised on the labyrinthine conspiracies of Prison Break and 24, Life’s effort seems a bit, well, lifeless.
Which is not to say it’s not worth watching – it is. Just don’t bump it to the top of your ‘to watch’ list.
The best thing about it: The ever-increasing list of Deadwood alumni
The worst thing about it: That Zen shit could get annoying
The verdict on Life: : Perfectly agreeable.
Marks out of 10: 7