THE SHOW “Lethal Weapon”
WHEN | WHERE Premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Fox/5
WHAT IT’S ABOUT Wow, car chase and gunplay in the very first scene! Then, an unspeakable tragedy. Whatever else might be required in a modern hour of lighthearted/heartwarming plainclothes police action — buddy bonding, wife wisdom, colorful locations, common crimes and vast conspiracies — arrives comfortably before the conclusion of Wednesday’s episode.
What TV’s new “Lethal Weapon” doesn’t have, of course, is the blockbuster ’80s big-screen tandem of wounded wacko-bird Mel Gibson and grounded older guy Danny Glover. This belated small-screen version casts Clayne Crawford (from Sundance’s underappreciated “Rectify”) as the bereaved wild-dude courting death, alongside Damon Wayans (“My Wife and Kids”) as the elder partner needing a kick in the pants to get back in the game. They’re an odd couple without an even keel, yet they seem able to solve crimes no one else can.
MY SAY So here’s the question. Do we need this “Lethal Weapon”? Did we need last fall’s Fox series “Minority Report”? We could reach back further, or forward to Friday’s Fox launch of “The Exorcist.” The answer is too often the same: Why bother with the remake/reboot/spinoff/continuation? Didn’t we see this story already?
There should be a point to telling it again. That point, in Wednesday’s McG-directed pilot, is tough to spot. Certainly, weekly TV does offer the opportunity to delve deeper into troubled souls or their social circumstances. Fox got it right years ago with “Alien Nation,” probing the culture clash of current-day humans and outer-space immigrants in more penetrating ways than its 1988 cop-film source.
Though this new “Weapon” deploys concerned relatives (Tony Plana), earnest colleagues (Jordana Brewster) and even an adorable baby, depth does not resound. Crawford and Wayans display little rapport. That leaves racing cars, speeding bullets and wannabe wit to prop up an essentially superfluous show.
BOTTOM LINE High body count. High cute quotient. Extreme yawn value.