Judge Gordon Sullivan enjoys a good drama about room deodorizers.
Our review of The Glades: The Complete First Season, published June 9th, 2011, is also available.
Murder is back in season
Despite the fun-in-the-sun image that most vacation spots want to project, where everyone is happy and healthy and tan, tourists are like giant beacons of crime. Sure, criminals are everywhere, but tourist towns present a unique situation: Many of the victims are both distracted and transient. By drinking or being on the prowl for fun, potential victims are easier to come by than in cities that don't cater to tourists. Then, once someone has become a victim, they usually don't have the resources to remain indefinitely, making them more likely to write off smaller crimes than if they were local. It's no surprise, then, that so many cop shows take place in tourist towns. No, we don't have CSI: Provincetown yet, but with shows set in Miami, Las Vegas, and numerous California cities, it's obvious that police shows love some tourist spots. Obvious, however, isn't always a good thing, and though The Glades isn't a bad show per se, it takes the whole "being obvious" thing a bit too far.
Facts of the Case
Jim (Matt Passmore, Son of the Mask) is a Chicago cop who's ousted from the force because he was falsely accused of sleeping with the wife of a superior. He decides to take the easy seeming job of joining the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He imagines an easy life of busting women for wearing their bikinis too small, but he quickly realizes that even the sunny beaches of Florida have a dark underbelly of crime. Aside from the usual episodes of crime, The Glades: The Complete Second Season spends a lot of time on Jim's love life, especially his on-again/off-again relationship with Callie (Kiele Sanchez, Insanitarium).
We've got so many cop shows on the air right now that avid viewers could probably program their DVR to ensure that they could spend twenty-four hours a day just watching new cop shows. We've got everything from hard-hitting drama about horrible crimes (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) to hardcore shows about forensics (pick your flavor of CSI). What's somewhat disappeared from television listings in the twenty-first century are the lighter cop shows. No, not the comedy ones like Reno 911!, but fare that harkens back to shows like Moonlighting (which was a private detective show, not a cop show, but it's close enough). In that era, crime was really just a backdrop for romantic entanglements rather than serious drama. Today, viewers have shows like Bones and The Glades to fill in the gaps.
That means it's impossible to judge The Glades against most other cop shows. It's aiming for a totally different goal. Though also set in Florida, this is not Dexter. Instead of high crimes and dirty deeds, this series is all about style. There's the wisecracking cop, his hot love interest, and a boatload of banter in a beautiful setting. On that count, The Glades succeeds. Matt Passmore does a good job being the strong-jawed cop who's quick with the comeback, and Kiele Sanchez is perfect as the almost-attainable love interest. The show's producers made the wise choice of filming in Florida, so a native like myself can see some of the authentic Florida-only features that California usually fails to double. Finally, the mysteries are mysterious enough to serve their function without offering anything too distracting from the main event, the quips and romance.
The Glades: The Complete Second Season is also pretty solid on the DVD front as well. All thirteen episodes of this drama are included on four discs, with is a healthy amount of room for each 50-minute episode. Consequently, these thirteen episodes look good; the standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers are bright and clean, with a decent amount of detail and solid black levels. No digital artifacts show up to mar the image. Similarly, the Dolby 5.1 Surround track is excellent as well. Dialogue is clear from the front channel, while the surrounds get used for ambient effects. The low end comes in a bit during action sequences. Overall, it's a very listenable track.
Extras start with a commentary on the "Moonlighting" episode, and continue with an extended version of "Family Matters." There is also a pair of short featurette on the policing and romance in the show, as well as a set of deleted scenes and a gag reel.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The Glades is not at all a bad show. However, it is a bit bland. Each episode pretty much follows the same formula of "dead body + investigation" with some romance sandwiched in there at some point. There's not a lot of focus on character development (aside from the aforementioned romance), so continuity between episodes can be weird. Perhaps that's exactly the point, as the show harkens back to a period of TV history without elaborate back stories and season-long arcs, when viewers could tune into a show without having to worry about where every character is emotionally. Also, I'm not sure how long the show will be able to go on. With a "are they or aren't they" romance at the center, The Glades could run into the same problems that troubled Moonlighting once its stars got together.
If you've been along for the ride (and based on viewership that's a lot of people), then The Glades: The Complete Second Season is more of the same from Jim and his cohorts. This season offers more mysteries and more romance, with a solid DVD set in the bargain. Those unfamiliar with the show don't absolutely have to start with the first season, but it's recommended. For casual viewers of the show who want to see all the episodes, this set is easy to recommend for a rental.
Not great, but not guilty.
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