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February 20, 2013

New TV | Pass on Shaq but ‘Boston’s Finest’ worth a watch

The evolution of viral videos has been fun to watch over the years. Equally as entertaining have been the men and women who review and comment on them. Shows like “Tosh.0” take the clips and add another level of hilarity to them.

The evolution of viral videos has been fun to watch over the years. Equally as entertaining have been the men and women who review and comment on them. Shows like “Tosh.0” take the clips and add another level of hilarity to them.

Look no further than Ray William Johnson, the YouTube sensation who has been reviewing viral videos for several years. He has literally made a career out of the process. However, there is something looming on the horizon that threatens to ruin viral video review shows completely.

Enter “Upload with Shaquille O’Neal,” possibly the worst adaption of the viral video review show. There is no short list of things wrong with this show, but the best thing to start with is the host. Sure, Shaq has his moments when he’s trading barbs with Charles Barkley during basketball games, but he’s not one widely accepted as hilarious. Pretty much all of his jokes about the video he reviewed fell completely flat.

The comedic failure doesn’t end there. His co-hosts, Gary Owen from “Think Like a Man,” and Godfrey of “The Mr. Men Show” are there to laugh at their own jokes and continue to do so until a few members of the audience join in out of what must be pity. Seriously, in a 30-minute period neither drew much of a reaction from the studio audience. It was painful.

Never mind the names of some of the segments on the show. The atrociously dubbed “Fall Down Go Boom” sounds like it was the brainchild of someone who got whacked over the head with a bottle. “Shaq Won’t Crack” is the portion of the show where the co-hosts and special guests try to make Shaq laugh. Attention to the writers of this show, should it survive: your objective is to make the audience laugh, not each other.

Poorly named segments, bad jokes and old clips do not a good show make. Trying to find redemptive qualities in this show is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Granted, we were only given one episode to watch, but if it’s any indication, this show will tank in the ratings and Shaq will learn his lesson.

Of course, and this is a terrifying proposition for those that may someday accidentally tune in to truTV in the near future, it may also succeed for reasons inexplicable to all of mankind. Please folks, just watch anything else.

‘Boston’s Finest’

The life of a police officer is full of danger, but it’s also full of good moments as well. Too often, all we get from our unscripted cop dramas is something along the lines of “COPS,” where we see the officers get the bad guy and then it’s on to the next set of officers going after the next bad guy. In short, it’s all flash and no substance with most cop dramas.

However, “Boston’s Finest,” the latest unscripted cop drama from TNT, provides a unique insight into not just how the officers do their jobs, but also how they live their lives.

Perhaps the best place to start with this show is with its scope. Most shows that follow police officers around focus primarily on one division within the entire department. “Boston’s Finest” will attempt to break that mold by showing the work of every division of the Boston Police Department. It doesn’t matter if it’s the drug unit, the gang unit, SWAT or the traffic cops. We’re going to get to see the whole picture and that’s going to create a lot of interesting episodes for TNT to air.

In addition to that, there are the doses of family life we get from the various officers, as well. An officer in the pilot episode refers to his family as the “Brady Bunch.” Not because his last name is Brady, but because he entered into his current marriage with three kids, and his wife brought two of her own. They also have a child together, and when the camera turns on this family, you see just how hectic life is for the parents. Things hit an all new level of crazy when several of the officers’ wives go out for a ladies night, leaving the men to tend to around a dozen children.

That the show has a comedic aspect only helps solidify its status as a unique show. At one point in the second episode, one officer spills her water on the board controlling the squad car’s lights, horns and everything else. This creates an amusing scene where the two continue to drive at night while the car randomly fires off both its lights and horn. Later, the same two officers catch a man urinating in public, and the exchange is interesting, to say the least.

Of course, the show has its dramatic moments as well. The same officer with six kids is shot at during a chase, and while he isn’t visibly shaken, it’s still a tense moment.

Another officer, the one from the water-spilling incident, deals with her twin sister and the child that sister gave up for adoption. The twin sister says she wants to be a part of her son’s life, but in watching the show, it really looks more like the officer is the one trying to stay involved. Still another officer has twin boys, but he and his wife, also an officer, are on alternating shifts and hardly ever see each other.

“Boston’s Finest” is a fresh take on the unscripted cop drama. It’s nice to see the officers do their jobs, but also see who they are as human beings. Doing all of this within the scope of the city of Boston only adds another layer of interest to the show. When “Boston’s Finest” airs next week, it’ll be worth your time to take a look.

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