Wednesday, September 29, 2004
fall 2004 quick take review: kevin hill
UPN's new series Kevin Hill has a serious serious case of crystal meth addiction. For some reason, the creators, producers, editors and/or network don't seem to have enough faith in eithe rthe show or its prospective audience to just slow the damn thing down a little.
For example: in the first seven minutes, we've established Kevin Hill, played by the lovely and talented Taye Diggs, as someone who has a seriously upscale life, then as a player, then as a powerhouse ball-busting lawyer who can play hardball with big corporations, then as someone who is not only a player but charmingly shy and awkward with the women, then as someone whose cousin has died and then he's been given a baby with all the justifications in the world about why he can't give her up. In the first seven minutes.
In the next 20 minutes, he's brought the baby home to an apartment full of toys that his secretary bought, nearly blown off the aforementioned big corporation and his own client, offended said corporation and his own client, offended the gay nanny -- George Weiss, played by Patrick Breen -- in the process of hiring him, offended his boss and winds up quitting, and then goes interviewing at several law firms through the city. He winds up at a firm created by Jessie Gray (played by Michael Michele), staffed by only women, one of whom happens to be the one and only woman who has ever blown him off in exactly the same way that he has blown off all the women he's dated. He's then assigned to a case on which he worked for the opposite side at his previous firm, which by the canons of law he is absolutely barred from working on or even discussing with his new firm (the show does not mention this particular reality). He then offends his best friend, Dame Ruiz (played by Jon Seda), in discussing his former work situation. In the next 20 minutes.
The express train does slow down a bit in the closing 20 minutes. They do bring out the Anvil of Newly Discovered Parenthood to give Kevin Hill a reason to be invested in a case that he feels is a loser, which is a pretty cheap tactic. (An odd side note: aside from the now-departed show The Practice, most legal shows shy away from the reality that lawyers do the work they do and frequently don't believe or like their clients.
All that said ... if the producers/writers/network can keep from getting back on the express train of plot exposition, Kevin Hill has some promise. Taye Diggs plays the character well; he's likeable and sympathetic when there was a real chance that the audience wouldn't want to give him a chance. The supporting characters look like an interesting lot -- although I wouldn't be unhappy if they could make the nanny just the teensiest bit less Warmly Supporting, and I sincerely hope the resist the temptation to even think about a romance between Gray and Hill (or Hill and anyone else in that office, even if they are the only women he sees for more than two minutes a day). Hopefully, they'll just slow down and let things develop.