Wednesday, June 08, 2005

TV: The Inside


Fox's new detective series debuted tonight, and it has been getting a lot of hype over the past month. So, I decided to check it out and let you guys know if it was all it was cracked up to be.

"The Inside" focuses on FBI agent Rebecca Locke (Rachel Nichols, the stoned babysitter in the "Amityville Horror" remake) and her introduction to the Bureau's Los Angeles Violent Crime Unit. However, her placement is in a specific section of the unit headed up by the very strange Virgil "Web" Webster (Peter Coyote). Webster's group is carefully handpicked, and they work for him and not the FBI. He is able to pick his own cases, and as one agent lets Locke know in the pilot, sometimes they don't get solved because Web is easily bored.

The pilot episode centers around a serial killer who has been working in L.A. for the past eighteen months, and has claimed eight victims. The episode begins with the discovery of the supposed ninth victim, who ends up being the lead profiler on the case and is on Web's team. She is immediately replaced by Locke to the dislike of the other three investigators assigned to Web's team. They are agents' Paul Ryan (Jay Harrington), Danny Love (Adam Baldwin), and Melody Sim (Katie Finneran). Within a couple of hours of joining the team, Locke figures out that the agent's death was actually a suicide; she had a bipolar disorder that was not being medicated and lost it in the heat of the investigation. So, the ninth victim is still out there, and the agents hope they can find the killer before they find another dead body.

The mystery itself really isn't that interesting. Serial killers have been done to death in movies and on television over the past decade. So, for one to work, they have to be really damn interesting, but the one in this episode ends up being nothing special. And the identity of the killer is pretty obvious as soon as he steps on screen. What really works well for this episode, and possibly for the series as a whole, are the other things going on outside of the serial killer storyline. Agent Ryan, who has a huge distaste for Web's practices and therefore feels he should be Locke's protector, discovers that Web has some strange reasons for picking Locke. Apparently at the age of ten she was kidnapped and was missing for eighteen months and somehow escaped on her own. She changed her name from Becky George to Rebecca Locke to be able to escape all of the scrutiny and prying eyes that would come from the name, and later on decided to enlist in the FBI. Agent Ryan is curious how in the hell with a history like that she could even pass her psych evaluation, and he discovers that her papers were signed by none other than Web. So, Web has some weird fascination with Locke; he thinks she has some powerful connection with the evils of the world that he can use and abuse for his own gain.

So, the mysteries of Web's motive for everything he does and the mysteries of Locke's past are what the driving force of this series is going to be. So what could have been just another "Profiler" or "Millenium," could be something entirely different. It makes me curious enough to find out what's on the horizon. Executive Producer, Tim Minear, who has been a writer of kick ass shows like "The X-files," "Angel," and the underrated and too early departed gems, "Wonderfalls" and "Firefly," is who many people are citing as the savior of this show. "The Inside" was originally slated to appear in Fall of 2004, and in that incarnation it was a rip-off on "21st Jump Street." Nichols played the character of Rebecca Locke, but she was an undercover agent posing as a high school student to stop drug deals, molesting teachers, and the like. Fox was unhappy with the direction the show was taking and scrapped it; they contacted Minear, and he took it over and came up with this.

So, if "The Inside" does prove to be as good as it can be and a hit, what a strange success story it would make. And like I said, if they can stay away from this just being a serial killer of the week type scenario and turn the show's twisted mythology into something of interest, then this should be one hell of a show in the end. I definately reccomend checking it out over the next couple of episodes to see what direction it takes.

Grade for Now - B


At 6/09/2005 10:32:00 AM, Blogger MaraJade said...

Sorry, no comment referring specifically to this post yet, but I do think you guys should check out this link:

Chris gave me a great idea. Look right below the thought of the day.

(No, I�m not asking for advertising. I just thought it was funny. I might leave it up though. We�ll see.)

At 6/09/2005 04:59:00 PM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

Minear's one of the Buffy/Angel guys I'm thinking we can expect good things from.

Too often it seems that merely working on those shows equals instant credibility. But they weren't all geniuses, people.

I love me some Buffy and Angel...don't get me wrong. And I'm a total Whedonite, after my Firefly experiences. I'm down with Whedon.

And there's no doubt Minear's work on Firefly and Wonderfalls (he created that one, right?) was great. So I'll give The Inside more than a fair chance.

But don't forget Point Pleasant. That show was just bad. And that was Marti Noxin's baby, and she was basically the Vice President of the Buffy-verse...Joss's little protoge. And I think she's good too. My point is that simply having been a writer on one of those shows doesn't always equal a great new show.

But the man I love...the one I think we should all be calling Uber Genius Mr. David Fury. He wrote the lottery numbers episode of Lost as well as the first Locke-centric flashback episode called "Walkabout." Those were two of the better episodes of a fantastic show.

If you look through the IMDB on him, you'll see that he had a hand in some of the all-time greatest episodes of Buffy and Angel too. (Interestingly, he also wrote for HBO's old sitcom Dream On, Pinky and the Brain, and the Wild Thornberries).

He was also a producer on 24's first season and joins 24 as the head writer next season (Question: how do you top the best season of 24 ever? Answer: Hire David Fury.).

And to tie it all together, David Fury is one of the writers of The Inside. Man, these Whedonite writers stick together, eh?

Sounds good to me, though. I'll check it out. Good write-up Jonathan

At 6/09/2005 09:24:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I'm not disagreeing with you in the least on your points, but Martin Noxon did head away from "Point Pleasant" when Fox decided they needed to do a major overhaul. Maybe it was even worse before, but I thought that point should be made.

At 6/09/2005 11:39:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I like the thing you made, marajade. Almost want to put it on the site, but I'm not sure it will fit.

At 6/10/2005 01:10:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

And I like Mike. I wanna be like Mike. Sorry, that was terrible. That is a cool site, marajade.

At 6/10/2005 07:05:00 AM, Blogger MaraJade said...

Thanks. Yea, I tried putting it on my blog, but I'm not smart enough in html to figure it out. I don't think it will fit. It messes up the page layout.
Just bored at work, thought it looked kinda cool.


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