Fox // 2010 // 566 Minutes // Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // June 9th, 2011
Sunny with a chance of homicide.
I don't watch very much television, so I'm not surprised that I wouldn't have heard of some show called The Glades that I get in the mail to review. When people I know who watch a ton of TV are oblivious to it, it's a little more worrying. Watching the first season of the series, though, it's easy to see that, even if these people had actually seen an episode, they would have immediately forgotten about it. The Glades is some seriously milquetoast programming that is generally watchable, but totally lacking in character.
After a disagreement with his boss sends him packing, Chicago homicide detective Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore, McLeod's Daughters) heads off to Palm Glade, FL, to find a fresh start at an easy life. It's not all golf and beaches, though; murder is a reality of life in this sleepy town, too. Whether it's greed, lust, or something weirder, Longworth is always on the case.
While one might assume that cable channels allow dramatic shows to tell edgier and more original stories, The Glades proves that these stations are as capable of airing programming that is as formulaic and flavorless as anything the networks can muster. A&E's police procedural feels like something that was pitched to the networks in 1992 and didn't get picked up for two decades. It's an innocuous series, certainly not the worst television you can find, but there's no heart and nothing to distinguish it from countless other detective shows over the years.
The best thing The Glades has going for it is the performances, which give the series whatever charm it actually has. The characters may be cookie-cutter, but the actors are all game for the material, putting some good efforts into completely underwhelming roles. Jim Longworth is your average TV detective, rough around the edges, smarmy, and irritating to everyone around him, but charming and inscrutable in his job. He's a nameless, faceless cliche that has fronted countless programs and this time he works in Florida. Matt Passmore carries the weight of the show pretty well, though, and is solid even when the scenarios are lame. Longworth's heart is fixed on Callie (Kiele Sanchez, Insanitarium), a lovely young medical student with a knack for observation and a sharp wit. Her involvement in police matters seems a little far-fetched, but she has a kid, adding both a hurdle to their relationship and a kid, which producers love, so the character is clearly necessary. Sanchez is cute and bubbly, doing a good job with a totally unnecessary character. The main cast is filled out with Carlos Sanchez (Carlos Gomez, Desperado), the chief medical examiner, and his assistant Daniel (Jordan Wall, The Sacred), who is a nerd.
In spite of the fact that, in the opening narration, Longworth claims that he doesn't work well with others, he sure does partner up with people a lot, including people who have no business working on homicides. In general, that concept should make up some of the main character's frustration in the show, but the detective seems to pretty readily accept his orders, even coming to them for help when he's stumped. All lip service aside, this is no lone wolf. There is a lot of this type of inconsistency in the characters; none of it is a deal breaker, necessarily, but it's irritating every time it occurs. It may be a case of the writers trying to get their feet under them, but it's really not compelling enough of a concept to sustain the number of such character contradictions in the show.
Even if it could, the format is old and holds little appeal for me. Every episode is identical. In the opening, a random person finds a body. After the opening sequence, we get a little drama and then the investigation starts. Longworth interviews likely suspects, uses a little bit of forensics when it's convenient, and solves the case within 45-minutes, saving enough time for a few quips along the way. The only important story that's carried over through episodes is the romance, which is the least interesting part of the show. Otherwise, it's a reset every week, something I though we'd gone beyond in modern television.
The fourteen episodes comprising The Glades: The Complete First Season come to us on four discs from Fox and it's a decent package with a few decent extras. The image quality is good across the set, with the clarity and detail you would expect from a new series. The sound is strong, as well, featuring a solid surround track with good separation around the channels. Nothing here will wow you technically, but there's nothing to complain about, either. That's basically how I feel about the extra features, too, with little to write home about but a decent group. Audio commentaries have been recorded for two episodes, the pilot and the penultimate episode of the season. They're informative enough, but nothing special. Across the discs, we get sets of deleted scenes that, as always, were unnecessary to the program. We also get a pair of featurettes. The first runs fifteen minutes and is about the casting of the show. We get screen tests and the actors talking about each other, none of which is terribly thrilling to me. The second runs eight minutes and details the production style (such that a style exists here) of the program as well as the details of filming in the Everglades. This was more interesting than the first, but not terribly essential. Finally, we have a gag reel, which is as pointless as every other gag reel, and I could care less about it.
The Glades is not a total waste, but it isn't worth a lot of your time. The show appears to be aimed at people upset that Murder, She Wrote is off the air, and is as bland as the food at the nursing homes where the show is being watched. It's been renewed for a second go around, though, so either there's a market for toothless detective work that I'm not seeing, or A&E is really hard up for programming.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 566 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated
* Episode Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site