“Raines” Supreme.Posted: March 23, 2007
Raines is too good for TV, although not too good for HBO. But it’s not on HBO, it’s on TV, and therefore I fear for its life. The dialogue is too smart, Jeff Goldblum’s brilliantly comic performance is too subtle, and—worst of all—it looks far too expensive to survive. An inordinate number of scenes involve L.A. exteriors, not cheaper soundstage shooting. And unlike Law & Order, which “grabs” shots on the streets of New York, nothing looks grabbed about the cinematography in Raines. Every exterior is lovingly composed and lit. It looks like a movie, and there’s no way they can keep this up week after week unless the show draws in huge revenues to justify the expense. Maybe lollipops will start growing on trees, too.
Raines is a police detective with a vivid imagination—he hallucinates murder victims and has conversations with them. There’s nothing supernatural about it, which makes it different from Medium. We understand, as does he, that in no sense are these victims the “come from beyond the grave” type. They’re merely figments that allow him to think aloud; his conversations with them clarify his thinking and get him closer to a solution. Plus, he needs the conversation. He’s a lonely guy.
This promo clip from NBC doesn’t really do the show justice, but it’s the only thing I could find. The first two episodes aired on Thursday nights at 9 Central, but the show is moving to Friday nights at 8. That worries me, too. Not so many people watch TV on Friday nights. It could win its timeslot, but still not draw a high enough absolute number of viewers to justify the kind of ad rates that could justify the expensiveness of the production. I probably should spend more time worrying about my own problems.