Thursday, December 3, 2009

Men certainly age

     TNT will present a new drama created by Ray Romano and Mike Royce (Everybody Loves Raymond) this coming Monday, December 7th called Men of a Certain Age.  It stars Romano, Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise, Quantum Leap), and Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street) as three best friends facing different challenges as they get older.  Joe (Romano) is a recently divorced man with two kids who runs his own business and fights a gambling addiction.  Owen (Braugher) is a happily married man who hates his job working at a car dealership his father owns, competing with a young salesman for leadership of the company.  Terry (Bakula) is an out of work actor, temping, and bedding as many women as possible.  But is it any good?

     TNT has failed to catch me with a good series yet.  They have some critically acclaimed shows (The Closer, Saving Grace), and a number of new shows that are doing pretty well (Dark Blue, Raising the Bar, Leverage).  My favorite show that they've done recently was Trust Me, but sadly it was canned after only one season.  This one wasn't instant attraction, but it has potential.

     Honestly, I was a bit bored by the first two episodes.  My mother, however, who only likes sitcoms and was a big fan of Everybody Loves Raymond, was delighted by it.  To me, it was interesting and well acted, but it just didn't go anywhere.  She prefers those types of shows.  I was, however, sent five episodes, and I can tell you, it does get much better.  Plus, the interaction between Owen and his wife, played by the fantastic Lisa Gay Hamilton (The Practice) is enough to keep you watching.  Here are the two upcoming episodes that you shouldn't miss (after you watch the pilot to find out what's going on, of course):

     "Mind's Eye" gave Bakula and Braugher their best plots yet.  Braugher attempted to enjoy his job, but discovered that happiness came with a steep cost.  How he will cope with his career, and the problems he currently has with it, should prove compelling.  Even better is Bakula's story, where he is suddenly confronted with the fact that he is missing out on a family, and how it affects him.  Those ramifications carry into other episodes, and really gave him a meaty arc that will hopefully pay off in the end.

     "Go With the Flow" was Romano's best.  The entire thing was told in flashback and centered on his first date in two decades.  The girl was played by Sarah Clarke (Trust Me, 24), and the chemistry was wonderful.  We got to see vulnerability and real emotion from them both, and I hope she sticks around for the rest of the season.

     Give the show a chance.  I am certainly interested in seeing how it ages.

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