Sunday, January 10, 2016

TV: Who's tossing shade?

It's not that Jennifer Lopez can't make a mistake -- forget GIGLI, did you see that cringe inducing canary yellow outfit at tonight's Golden Globes.

So we're not saying she's infallible.


Her new show SHADES OF BLUE debuted on NBC last Thursday.

And we're not saying everyone has to love it.

But we are saying she appears to be this season's Ashley Judd.

In 2012, Ashley starred in the effective MISSING which was dog piled by 'critics' who focused on Ashley's face.

SHADES OF BLUE has been met with what they call 'mixed reviews.'

This means some positive, some negative.

And that can happen.

Every show is not for everyone.

But looking at 25 negative reviews, we were struck by something.

These 'critics' who just couldn't stand the genre . . . loved it when it starred a man.

Especially when it was a cable TV show that starred a man.

Sexism comes in all forms.

SHADES OF BLUE finds Lopez playing police detective Harlee Santos.  Santos works under Lt. Matt Wozniak (Ray Liotta) and he and his team -- including Santos are crooked cops, on the take.

FBI agent Robert Stahl shows up when Santos is set up in a sting.  The FBI uses Santos' teenage daughter Cristina (Sarah Jeffery) as leverage to force Harlee to become an informant.

Santos doesn't feel much guilt for extortion or being a crooked cop but she does feel remorse for betraying Wozniak and her team.

And she also feels fear.

Because no one plays crazy like Ray Liotta.

And Wozniak knows there's a rat on the team but thinks Harlee Santos is the one person he can trust and that she can help him smoke out the informer.

The series has various long running elements that should make for a satisfying ride.

Behind the scenes?

The executive producers of  SHADES OF BLUE include Lopez, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Benny Medina -- the three are also producers of ABC Family's THE FOSTERS.  You don't go into a fourth season, as THE FOSTERS has, without knowing a thing or two.

And among the people the three team up with?

Barry Levinson.  The screenwriter and Academy Award winning director has a string of quality films including DINER, AND JUSTICE FOR ALL . . ., WAG THE DOG, BUGSY, BEST FRIENDS and especially TIN MEN.

Again, this is an involving show.

If it were on AMC or HBO and starred a man, some of the same critics slamming the series would apparently like it.

NBC has a tight drama -- melodrama actually -- and there's rooms for all sorts of twists and turns and flips.  SHADES OF BLUE is off to a strong start and is the best hour of television NBC's offered in the 2015 fall - 2016 spring season.

Jennifer Lopez may need to rethink her color scheme for business events, but she's delivering a first rate performance in SHADES OF BLUE and, as a producer, she's got a lot to be proud of as well.

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