APB Early Impressions

Originally posted to Facebook on 3/23/17

I know I’ve talked about it before, but I want to do a more thorough review of the tv show “APB” so far. Like always, I appreciate any and all feedback in regards to the show and my writing style. 

This first paragraph is just a copy paste of the premise from last time I wrote about it, but everything after will get into how the show has progressed: The show follows a billionaire industrialist engineer (totally not Tony Stark) who, after a tragic accident (again, not Tony Stark) decides to put his good looks, charm, and most importantly wealth and gadgetry towards helping the people of his city (ok, he’s basically a rip off of Tony Stark). But rather than building a suit like his clear inspiration did, this character decides (though tv hand-waving) to privatize a police district in a rough area of Chicago. Upgrading this squad with top notch gear and equipment, and giving it’s citizenry free access to the titular APB smartphone app, he sets off to clean up these streets. He uses several “inventions of the week” and his close partnership with one of the detectives who gives him lessons from how cops operate without resorting to high tech gadgets.

After two episodes I thought the show had a strong start and an engaging premise. It had good performances despite the occasional bout of cliche dialogue. Now, 7 episodes in, I stand by my initial assessment. The parts I like about the show (plots, performances) have continued to shine and even get better, while my complaints (dialogue mainly) have been getting ironed out. What’s really a testament to the show’s quality is that, in general, I am not a fan of procedurals. What makes a procedural shine for me is that it has to have strong, continually evolving characters which APB has in spades. In addition to the main characters Gideon Reeves (Justin Kirk) and Detective Theresa Murphy (Natalie Martinez) whose chemistry drives the show, the show is filled with a strong supporting cast that gets better each episode as they get more to do and start to have their characters solidified by the writing. While many have already gotten to stand out in various plot lines, the one I’m really looking forward to getting more attention is Gideon’s hardware engineer, Pete (played fantastically by veteran character actor Abraham Benrubi).

For me, this is already high up on my list of my favorite procedurals along with Psych, Monk, Castle, and Person of Interest (…maybe I like procedurals more than I thought). So far, they’ve kept the stories fresh and the tech interesting and cool. Already we’ve stepped out of the bounds of reality as far as the tech goes, but since the meat of the stories are well grounded and since the tech has always been a little bit too advanced for realism, it hasn’t been distracting or taken me out of the experience at all. Not to beat a dead horse, but the tech feels very Tony Stark. As in, it often has a somewhat plausible reason for working, but based on tech that is either completely fictional or well past anything that we are capable of at the moment. When it eventually goes too far (as all future tech stories do at some point), I hope that it is eased into over time so it’s not too jarring, or else that may be the beginning of the end for the show for me.

I’m hooked and looking forward to seeing what direction the show takes going forward. I recommend it if you are looking for an enjoyable, low impact show (in that it won’t be emotionally draining like Black Mirror) that has cool tech and fun characters.

New mid-season shows

Originally posted on Facebook on 2/17/17

Sam’s thoughts on TV shows (since there’s nothing else to do while I’m sick).

Holy shit, Powerless.

I was really hoping that show would find its groove soon after its first 2 episodes were middling at best, but I never expected the turnaround to be so quick. Episode 3 was very good. It really hit the tone I was wishing for (Better Off Ted with superheroes). Not only was the tone and comedy world’s better, but we finally began to learn about the characters. Danny Pudi is still one of the least developed, but that’s ok, because every generic line he is given he plays up with an Abed-esque devotion to camp. Alan Tudyk’s ‘Van Wayne’ character was allowed to shine some and show that he is not just the “buffoon boss” trope, and actually does things right (in amidst his buffoonery). Overall a very solid episode that I hope will open the door to more great episodes to come.

On the other end of the TV spectrum is APB, a cop show with a twist. The show follows a billionaire industrialist engineer (totally not Tony Stark) who, after a tragic accident (again, not Tony Stark) decides to put his good looks, charm, and most importantly wealth and gadgetry towards helping the people of his city (ok, he’s basically a rip off of Tony Stark). But rather than building a suit like his clear inspiration did, this character decides (though tv hand-waving) to privatize a police district in a rough area of Chicago. Upgrading this squad with top notch gear and equipment, and giving it’s citizenry free access to the titular APB smartphone app, he sets off to clean up these streets. He uses several “inventions of the week” and his close partnership with one of the detectives who gives him lessons from how cops operate without resorting to high tech gadgets.

Overall, I felt that the show had an interesting premise, and 2 episodes in, I feel it delivers on that. Not unlike the early seasons of Person of Interest (I comment only in the early seasons, since that’s all I’ve seen, through no fault of the show), it starts off strong and hits the ground running. The dialogue can be a little rote sometimes (especially when they get into technobabble), but the main character is as charming as can be in this role (or at least how charming someone who isn’t RDJ can be), and the tech is fun to watch in action. I’m hooked so far, and will likely continue to be as long as the little flaws get ironed out over time and don’t become gateways to larger issues.