New Fall Show Review: "Standoff"

My this mini review should be in the Arts Corner, but I cannot be bothered. I watched "Standoff" last night on Fox, just after missing the "House" season premiere. Damn you, Central Time Zone! I am stilled super pissed about that one. Caught the last 15 minutes - Lisa Edelstein lookin' hot.

Ah well. "Standoff." Yada yada, FBI negotiators sleeping together - doesn't matter. It was shit.

I was just in it for Ron Livingston. He is both wonderful and fabulous but, alas, he cannot support a show when the writers will not support his wit and timing. How is it that he was funnier in "Band of Brothers" than in this show, something intending a "Moonlighting" feel but just not getting there? He would have been better served keeping Damian Lewis as his partner, coz this chic Rosemarie DeWitt - other than possessing a charmingly hooked nose in a land of cutie button noses - is TERRIBLE.

So why bother? Because Ron Livingston in all of his disheveled, sarcastic glory smelled her hair. When she wasn't looking. In the middle of a negotiation when they are supposed to be at top form... his character just couldn't help himself. He smelled her hair with his eyes closed and... well, shit but I'm a sucker for that sort of nonsense. I'd get that sort of ultra girly reaction looked into if I didn't know it would impair my ability to write romance.

So as long as the writers just forget to write the stilted dialogue ("You wanna know what I feel? I'll tell you what I feel." - Brilliant!) and just put them in situations where Livingston can be unexpectedly infatuating, then I'm stuck.

Oh, and the writer's can forget about plot too. Holes the size of craters abounded. The speed with which these negotiators are supposed to work is apparently unrelated to the speed at which regular people and computing equipment function. To detail these flaws would be to hurt my wrists with needless typing, but suffice it to say that computers will not boot in two minutes, let alone allow you to find the detailed specs of a homemade explosive device. And apparently FBI agents never have to wait on hold while trying to reach a real operator. But oooh, they're so FAST and IRREVERENT! Sigh.

Gina Torres a la "Firefly" and Michael Cudlitz, also of "Band of Brothers," brought nothing to the table. The former exists as Livingston's hardass previous partner, now in charge of both the unit and looking angry yet lovely, while the latter serves as the brutish, over-masculine dude with a gun to counter Livingston's smerts. And you just know that the pattern of "piss off boss," "have sexual tension," "place one another in jeopardy to further examine their depth of feeling," and "have turf war with the gun-laden rescue squad" will simply repeat each week.

If the show aired on, say, a Thursday night, I would never see it. But "House" is the lead-in, so I'll have the TV on already. And if he had not smelled her hair, I could just walk away. Crap.


Pacze Moj said...


Just checking in. I'm back from a long summer, with trips to both U.S. coasts, and a bunch of odd jobs done here, there, and everywhere. I let my blog fall asleep...

Not a lot to post about, though. I watch the occasional movie (nothing good) and have been slowly reading Atlas Shrugged for months, and months, and months.

Glad to see that you "came out of the closet" about writing romance! I've been a closet sci-fi short story writer for a while -- recently started sending out to magazines. It's a nerdy thrill. I harbour a secret ambition to one day write a novel, too.

How's your novel coming, by the way? What's writing one like? Do you hate your characters yet?


Pacze Moj

carrie_lofty said...

Glad to hear that you are alive and kicking. Atlas Shrugged - that's some summer reading material! As for my book, I hope to post about the completion of my first draft yet this weekend. I have just plotted the last chapter and have the dialogue written. Writing one is... work. I do not know how I thought, for the last ten years, that I could just piddle around and finish it somehow, as if by magic. Hours a day, everyday, since the first part of July - and that's with the historical research completed at an earlier date already. The characters... I just want them to ride off into the sunset, coz I love them and I don't want to start the hatin' - I feel it closing in, that lack of concern for their well-being. Maybe that's what drives literary authors to deny their characters happy endings: sheer boredom. Certainly would explain Hardy's God complex. :)

Fang Bastardson said...

Three things:

I, too, don't see how Ron Livingston's new show can possibly go the distance. In addition to the obligatory weekly plot elements you cite, I was burned out on hostage negotiating this weekend just between the pilot for this show and "Inside Man." How the hell are they going to keep hostage situations fresh every week?

Two: Slogging one's way through Atlas Shrugged is well worth the investment, especially if one is still forming one's world view. My advice is, like the Bible, look for the message(s) but don't take it all literally!

and Three: I also have the creative writing itch. My first project got so out of hand I am now the proud papa of a completely useless (though brilliant, of course!) 14-hour miniseries spanning the entire latter-half of the XVIII Dynasty in ancient Egypt.

"There is no try, there is only do." -Yoda

Also: "Be careful what you wish for." I think everybody has said that at one time or another.


carrie_lofty said...

Hope to see you back again, fang. I enjoy your comments :)

Keven said...

The second episode of Standoff was better.