The more I think about Murder in the First, the more I realise that I’m going to watch the pilot at least. From cable network TNT, it’s a detective drama which, in its temptingly short season of ten episodes, follows a single case in San Francisco. After reasonable reviews and viewing figures, it’s finished its American run and has been renewed for a second season. A decent cast includes Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson as the detectives investigating two apparently unrelated murders, with James Cromwell, Richard Schiff, Ian Anthony Dale, Steven Weber, and Tom Felton in the house as well. And the first episode is directed by West Wing alum Tommy Schlamme.
Most of all, though, Murder in the First is created and exec produced by Steven Bochco. He, of course, rewrote the TV drama rulebook with the brilliant and innovative Hill Street Blues – which, by coincidence, started on this day in 1981 in America – following it with LA Law and NYPD Blue among others. His CV has at least as many misses as hits – Cop Rock, anyone? – but as far as I’m concerned his most overlooked show is Murder One, a show I’ve mentioned on here several times, which of course also focussed on a single case. So I’m in for – and reviewing – the first episode to start with (Friday, FOX UK, 10pm).
After all that I’m unable to get too excited about Ascension, a miniseries import from Syfy, about a spaceship which took off in 1963 at the height of the cold war, with the intention of keeping the human race alive should life on Earth be wiped out. Sky is desperate to tout this as ‘Mad Men In Space’, but the lukewarm reviews when it was shown in America would suggest that it isn’t fit to lace Roger Sterling’s drinks. On the other hand the cast includes sci-fi’s go-to actor Tricia Helfer, along with Brian Van Holt, Catherine from Ringer, and Billy off of Ally McBeal. Not for me, but undoubtedly for someone (Friday, Sky 1, 9pm).
In other news, Call The Midwife’s back for more 50’s based ob/gyn fun (Sunday, BBC One, 8pm); and season 8 of Psych starts on the same night (Universal, 7pm).
More next week, including The Mysteries Of Laura; and we’re now only a fortnight away from the return of The Good Wife…