Culture of Pop

Review: Battle Creek Premieres on CBS

Battle Creek is CBS’s new procedural starring the handsome Dean Winters (Oz), the handsome Kal Penn (House), and the excessively handsome Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas). The show was created by Breaking Bad‘s Vince Gilligan and House‘s David Shore. It has a gritty look to it and CBS is playing up the Gilligan connection, but at its heart it feels like the kind of feel good procedural you’d see on USA.

The premiere episode started off slow. At first, it felt like it was trying a little too hard to be quirky and dragged a bit. The opening scene shows the cops winging it with a stakeout. They improvise and resort to busting in on a school play to borrow a camera and using baby monitors as recording devices. None of that is actually as amusing as the show needs it to be.

But, things got exponentially better halfway through, once the main characters, police officer Russ Agnew (Winters) and FBI agent Milton Chamberlain (Duhamel) were actually paired up together. These characters pop and together their dynamic has a great, snappy back-and-forth. This show should make a good replacement show for anyone who misses White Collar or the delightful but short-lived Common Law.

Milt seems too naive and innocent to the cynical, world-weary Russ. In one scene, he says that Milt must’ve had two happily married parents and never had a goldfish die, there’s no way anything bad ever happened to him. The show definitely successfully made me intrigued to find out  more about what’s really going on with Milt. Everything about this show is extremely familiar territory and I don’t want to make it sound like it’s significantly shaking up the cop show formula, but it was fun to have the naive optimist be the one who’s always proven right, instead of him becoming disillusioned and coming to understand Russ’s cynicism.

After a slow start, the final stand off with this episode’s criminal-of-the-week had some very fun snappy writing that made me feel like this show will be worth watching.

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