Article originally published as ROSEWOOD Review on Seat42F.
This is my review of FOX’s: it is bad. Really bad, wholly unoriginal, and a complete waste of your time. Bad, bad, bad. You can stop reading right now and just skip this one. But if you’d like to know why, and I know many of you want me to back up my opinion with actual information about the show (justifiably so), here’s another 550 or so words about why it’s bad.
First, let’s start with why it’s good. (I tripped you up, didn’t I?) Credit must be given where credit is due, and casting Morris Chestnut as the eccentric lead of the series, Dr. Beaumont “Rosie”, Jr., is a good move. I like Morris Chestnut very much, and have enjoyed his work in such programs as Nurse Jackie, American Horror Story, and V. I would happily watch a show in which he is the lead, and the character of Rosie is a fun one in the tradition of Gregory House or Richard Castle.
I also like Lorraine Toussaint (Orange is the New Black) as his mother, Donna, Jaina Lee Ortiz (The Shop), as the cop he works with, Annalise, and love Gabrielle Dennis (The Game) and Anna Konkle (The Escort) as Pippy and Tara, respectively. Pippy is Rosewood’s sister and Tara is Pippy’s fiancé, and both work for Rosewood. So overall, the ensemble is good. And really, few shows fail to put together a good cast these days, with lots of deserving performers out there, working for their chance.
What stinks is the premise. ROSEWOOD is yet another crime show about a quirky private citizen with mad skills who hooks up with law enforcement and helps them solve crimes, even though Rosewood should never be allowed out in the field with the authorities. This is the third review of a series with this premise that I’ve written this week alone, and I’m getting awfully tired of the Big Four networks putting out more and more of these programs that are basically copies of one another. Make something original!
The pilot of ROSEWOOD exemplifies this well. Viewers are introduced to Annalise. Rosewood meets Annalise and there are instant sparks between them. He pushily forces his way into her case, while she tries to stay closed off and keep him out. After he helps her bring the criminal to justice, she softens and definitely seems like she’ll let him assist again in the future.
Now, what sets ROSEWOOD slightly apart from its peers is that most of the main characters are not officers. Annalise is, of course, and her boss, Captain Hornstock (Domenick Lombardozzi, The Wire), who is not much in the pilot, are leads. The other three are more connected to Rosewood than the police. However, since Rosewood runs a pathology business in which he examines bodies and Pippy and Tara work for him, they will still be used to look into the crime, so it doesn’t differentiate itself all that much. In fact, the official website describes this as a medical procedural, so it sounds like the series will highlight the medical aspects of the investigation more, which has already been done by Body of Proof, Bones, and others. Any variations from the basic format of the other shows in the same vein are cosmetic, not substantial.
In short, ROSEWOOD lacks anything to set it apart, other than its talented cast, but many bad shows have talented casts. If it’s going to compete against high-quality fare on cable and streaming platforms, it has to give us something more than case-of-the-week, and it’s not going to. So, it’s yet another disappointment in a broadcast television landscape growing more and more crowded with them. The only good part about this is that I may finally have time for that Buffy re-watch I’ve been craving!
ROSEWOOD premieres Wednesday, September 23rd on FOX.