The IMDbTV Blog
Header

CBS’s primetime lineup is a comfortable den filled with reliable procedurals. These crime shows can be thrilling, to be sure. But viewers watch the twisted perps on “Criminal Minds,” “NCIS, “CSI” and all of their related spinoffs do horrible things, with the knowledge that determined law enforcement specialists probably will bring them to justice by the end of the hour, usually with the help of NASA-grade technology.

Contrast these whizbang adventures with the caseload of “Battle Creek‘s” overworked cops, who work in a department so poorly funded that in one drug bust, a detective sends his informant to face a dangerous criminal with a baby monitor because the department’s other surveillance equipment doesn’t work. They do get their man, but not before their star detective gets a nasty shiner for his efforts. (Their Tasers don’t work either.)

Welcome to Battle Creek, Michigan, the world’s breakfast cereal capitol and the quirky setting for a breezy new cop drama from executive producers David Shore, the creator of “House,” and Vince Gilligan, who gave us “Breaking Bad.” “Battle Creek” injects humor and heart into each episode, highlighting the comedic chemistry of its ensemble cast. Sunday’s premiere  is directed by Bryan Singer, who worked with Shore on “House” and directed that show’s pilot.

 
The star of Battle Creek’s brokedown cop shop is scruffy, grumpy Detective Russ Agnew (Dean Winters), a guy who’s fond of spit-shining his commendations but more than a little tired of being forced to make do with substandard equipment. When  handsome, charismatic FBI Special Agent Milton Chamberlain (Josh Duhamel) opens a satellite branch across the hall from Battle Creek P.D.’s offices, the rest of the department is in awe of having a federal agent so nearby, and with such shiny new stuff to boot.

Milt, of course, is happy to help the town’s cops. But Russ almost immediately resents him. Naturally Russ’s boss, Commander Guziewicz (Janet McTeer), teams him with Milt at the agent’s request, creating an odd couple dynamic that outshines that which  Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon are peddling on the same network, albeit on a different night.

Television viewers love to love difficult men, a truth Shore and Gilligan have taken to the bank with their previous shows. Milt and Russ are a lot easier to love than Gregory House and Walter White, of course; Russ is cranky and a little too married to the “old school” way of doing things for his own good, but he wears his working class roots and emotional vulnerability like armor. Winters, whose unshaven, roguish demeanor was marketed to the hilt in numerous insurance commercials (Mayhem!) pairs handsomely with Duhamel’s Dudley Do-Right — although the allure of Russ and Milt’s unconventional buddy cop act is that Boy Scout Milt might not be as trustworthy as he strives to appear.

Nevertheless, Russ and Milt are outstanding together, and they’re even more fun to watch as their relationship develops — especially in later episodes when Duhamel and Winters work with oddballs played great guest stars, including Patton Oswalt and Candice Bergen.

Where other crime shows focus more on the cases than the people solving it, “Battle Creek” appeal is in its wholesale commitment to the absurdity of their heroes’ situation.  Winters and Duhamel forge a solid center here, but the entire cast, which includes Kal PennGrapevineLiza Lapira, Aubrey Dollar and Damon Herriman (who, fresh of his bumpkin act on “Justified,” plays named Niblet) work overtime to make “Battle Creek” a place worth visiting every Sunday.

Battle Creek” premieres at 10pm Sunday, March 1 on CBS.

CBS Sets Its Summer Premiere Dates

February 26th, 2015 | Posted by Melanie McFarland in CBS - (0 Comments)

CBS has set late June and early July premiere dates for its summertime series “Extant,” “Under the Dome,” its new drama “Zoo” and the return of “Big Brother.”

The third season of “Under the Dome” kicks off the Eye’s scripted schedule with a two-hour premiere at 9pm Thursday, June 25 before settling into its regular time period the following week at 10pm Thursday, July 2. Marg Helgenberger guest stars in an extended arc, although how nobody noticed that the former star of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was trapped in the gigantic terrarium surrounding Chester’s Mill along with the rest of these folks before now is, like the Dome itself, beyond understanding.

New summer series “Zoo’s” premieres at 9pm Tuesday, June 30. Based on James Patterson‘s bestselling novel, “Zoo” follows a biologist played by James Wolk as he strives to determine the cause of a worldwide pandemic of animal attacks against humans.

The new season of “Extant,” starring Halle Berry, kicks off at 10pm on Wednesday, July 1. Jeffrey Dean Morgan joins the cast for the show’s second season as J.B. Richter, who aids Berry’s character Molly Woods in a quest to save humanity after she discovers that her actions have “unwittingly put the human race on the path of destruction.”

Meanwhile, summertime staple “Big Brother” returns with a two-night premiere at 8pm Wednesday, June 24 and Thursday, June 25. Thursday’s live eviction show moves to its regular time period of 9pm on Thursday, July 2, leading in to “Under the Dome.” The show’s Sunday edition premieres at 8pm on June 28.


Banshee‘s” Chayton Littlestone has one of the more ironic surnames on television. The actor who plays the Native American gang leader, Geno Segers, is a six-foot-three-inch wall of muscle, and his height is particularly noticeable during season two’s “The Warrior Class,” the first episode in which Chayton appeared.

In “The Warrrior Class,” Sheriff Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) takes on Chayton in single combat, only to be thrown around like a rag doll. Chayton goes down eventually, but not before withstanding two Taser blasts and being choked out with a flashlight. Even then, the sheriff’s department couldn’t keep Chayton in custody for long; the man crashed a police cruiser during an escape, vanishing to parts unknown only to resurface with a vengeance in season three.

“Littlestone”? Not so much.

In Chayton, Segers has created a chaotic force made flesh, driven by rage to start deadly battles on behalf of a lost cause. But the key word in that sentence is “flesh.” Chayton can withstand as much damage  as he can dole out, but “Banshee’s” most recent episode ended with him as an FBI fugitive suffering from a deep knife wound and, possibly, a gunshot. From what we can see in the photo accompanying this post and an exclusive clip Cinemax gave to IMDb, he’s far from invulnerable.

Chayton’s personality is the polar opposite of Segers’, a kind, baritone-voiced man whose last major role before “Banshee” was that of a fun-loving dad on Disney XD’s “Pair of Kings.” Segers has an easy laugh and a deep appreciation for all of the opportunities that playing a frightening Kinaho gang leader has brought his way, including the role of the villain Boar Tusks in the upcoming horror Western Bone Tomahawk.

We spoke with Segers about how he makes the transformation from nice guy into “Banshee’s” deadliest villain, whether Chayton Littlestone can be redeemed, and which TV series he thinks Chayton would most relate to.

Please note: If you haven’t seen the most recent episodes of “Banshee,” stop reading now — this conversation discusses events that are major spoilers.

IMDbTV: Chayton has such a formidable presence, and he seems like a completely different character than who you actually are. Can you talk a bit about what it takes to get into the skin of Chayton Littlestone?

Segers: … I try to start with me and get rid of all the things that won’t serve the character: politeness, concern, a warm interest in people – I have always had a love for people. So I really had to take all that away and sort of just start with what I had that served Chayton. I have some formidable size, I have some athleticism, I have a scary voice, when needed. …I started peeling all that back and realized that I was nothing like this guy, deep down.

So I started looking at people who I thought Chayton would line up with ideologically: I looked some Native American activists, some African American activists. But I even thought about looking at Hitler, in terms of his ideas of purity and a pure race of people. I just looked at everybody, you know…I pulled pieces of this and that, pieces of a couple of family members — (Segers laughs) — to pull this guy together.

…The wonderful aspect of Chayton is that they didn’t want him to be a thug, just a scary, unintelligent guy. He became more of a formidable thinker as opposed to a guy who’s just going to hurt you. He was thinking strategically, which made him much more interesting to me.

IMDbTV:  Chayton has also done some terrible things – he killed a beloved regular character.

Segers: (sighs) Yeah.

IMDbTV: That must have been an interesting day on the set.

Segers: I couldn’t say enough about Trieste [Kelly Dunn]. She’s an amazing performer, and she made it really easy for me to build up that energy, to take the steps we needed to take to get there. She was actually quite happy that Chayton was going to kill her character….she was happy because her character was, of course, a series regular. The fact that Chayton is the one that takes her character’s life is going to make it even more impactful for the Banshee community.

What’s a better way to go than to be killed by this arch-antagonist, as opposed to killed by a random flying bullet?…No one’s going to remember that. But because it was Chayton, everyone is going to remember it and our characters are forever linked as a result of that event.

IMDbTV: We’ve gotten hints that Chayton has a shred of emotional vulnerability, but there is a moment coming up where we actually see that he is physically vulnerable. Is it possible for Chayton to earn back a bit of empathy from viewers?

Segers: I think that viewers are going to see Chayton in a way they’ve never seen him before. They’re going to see him physically vulnerable. They’re even going see him emotionally vulnerable. They’ve never seen real, genuine fear come from Chayton. So they’re going to see this fear come from Chayton in a way that they’re not expecting.

…That said, Chayton has a chance to earn some of that empathy back. But as the episode goes on, he will of course ruin it. He will ruin any chance of that, I believe.

IMDbTV: A lot of people who watch cable know you as the dad on “Pair of Kings,” which was so different. Is it more fun to be the happy, go-lucky guy, or to play a character like Chayton?

Segers: Chayton has probably, to date, been the most challenging character to take on, because we’re so different from one another. I would love to take on more bad guys, because it stretches me as a performer. It’s so not like me. Now, Mason [Makoola] was relatively easy because he’s a lot like me. It was fun, don’t misunderstand me – I enjoyed every moment of [playing] Mason. But it was enjoyable for different reasons. It wasn’t as huge a stretch for me to play Mason as it is for me to play Chayton. But I will say, in all honesty, I probably enjoy Chayton a little bit more because it’s challenging.

IMDbTV: You have Bone Tomahawk coming up. Can you give us some hints about that project?

Segers: I was really skeptical about Bone Tomahawk until I really started thinking about the challenges to me as an actor. Boar Tusks, the character that I play, is the lead antagonist. And he doesn’t speak. So that makes him difficult for me to muster, because I’m so used to relying on my voice to express and to just help me be present in what I’m doing. … It brings all of the performance right to your eyes, and your face, and your expression.

… I thought, “That’s really going to be a challenge.” I wanted to see if I can help bring this Boar Tusks to life and make him as formidable without saying a word as I’ve been able to make Chayton formidable, vocally. That said, one of my favorite scenes with Chayton, he doesn’t say a word. That’s when he goes to retrieve his brother’s body. He doesn’t say a word, but all of the emotion, all of the pain, the vengeance, the anger and the sadness, came through just from him thinking it. That’s probably my favorite scene of season three.

IMDbTV:  Do you think that there is an chance at redemption for Chayton?

Segers: I will say this: Chayton gets exactly what he wants. He can’t have his land back. He can’t beat every single soldier in the United States Army. He doesn’t have the time. So he’s going to take what he can. And Chayton, in the end, gets what he wants.

IMDbTV: Now, the IMDb question. I’m guessing Chayton is very much anti-TV series and movies. But if there were ever a time that he did watch a television show or a film, which film or TV show would he relate to the most?

Segers: He would probably relate to “The Walking Dead,” because he would feel right at home in that scenario, being alive and fighting your way out, fighting your way to live the next day. I think Chayton feels as though he is underwater and he is constantly under siege. He literally has to run, fight, scratch, kill his way to the next day. And I think that’s the beauty of “The Walking Dead.”

A new episode of “Banshee airs at 10pm Friday on Cinemax.


Amazon has picked up “Mad Dogs,” “The Man in the High Castle,” and “The New Yorker Presents” to series, in addition to renewing its comedy “Mozart in the Jungle” for a second season. Amazon Studios also picked up two children’s series, “Just Add Magic” and “The Stinky & Dirty Show.”

“Mozart” is the third half-hour series from Amazon Studios to get a second season, following in the footsteps of “Alpha House” and two-time Golden Globe-award winner “Transparent.”

Among the new Amazon Originals, two are executive produced by veteran showrunners. “Mad Dogs” comes from Shawn Ryan, creator of FX’s groundbreaking drama “The Shield” in addition to executive producing number of other acclaimed and shorter-running dramas. (Rest in peace, “Terriers“…we will never stop missing you.)

“The Man in the High Castle,” which Amazon reported was the most watched of all of its pilots to date, is written and executive produced by Frank Spotnitz, who also was an executive producer on “The X-Files” and created the Cinemax series “Hunted.” It’s based on a novel by Philip K. Dick that explores an alternate version of American history, in which the Nazis won World War II.

“The New Yorker Presents” pilot, produced by award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney, presents a combination of documentary style reporting, an interview with performance artist Marina Abramovic, and a sketch that starred Alan Cumming and  Brett Gelman. Without a doubt it’s one of the more unique selections among Amazon’s Pilot Season crop, not to mention pilot season in general. (HBO’s “Vice” and Showtime’s short-running version of “This American Life” come to mind as points of comparison.)

Amazon’s original series are available for Prime members to stream at Amazon.com/originals, at no additional cost to their membership. A free trial of Prime is available for non-members by signing up at www.amazon.com/prime. Pilot episodes for all of these series can be viewed now by all customers on Amazon.


Some shows go out with lots of fanfare. Many others fade to black with barely a whimper in protest. Then there are those like “The Mentalist,” a neatly packaged procedural fueled by a grim, serialized arc in the form of Red John, the faceless killer who seemed to be everywhere and no place. Who was he? Would Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) ever catch him? “The Mentalist” served up a buffet of red herrings in answer to those questions for more than five seasons.

Maybe its producers stretched out the Red John mystery a beat too long. (Understandable — when the show was in its stride, Red John was one of the most fiendish adversaries on TV.) Maybe CBS, in its desire to keep a once-potent procedural going, couldn’t bring itself to let the show end where it should have. Whatever the case may be, “The Mentalist” will be remembered by a sizable portion of its audience as having two finales: one being the ultimate resolution of the Red John storyline, which aired in November 2013, and the other being Wednesday night’s official series finale “White Orchids,” which gifts fans with a wedding and one last serial killer case for old times’ sake.

Mind you, there are plenty of devoted viewers who stuck with “The Mentalist” all the way through its run. But I also suspect there are a fair number who, like me, intend to watch this week’s finale in spite of the fact that we closed the book on Patrick Jane in 2013.

A season or two ago, “The Mentalist” was inescapable — or, I should say, I couldn’t get away from it. My husband was late in discovering the series, and happened to drop in just in time for the arc that led to the “Strawberries and Cream” episodes, a two-parter that looked like it was going to pay off with Jane finally coming face to face with his nemesis. If you haven’t seen those episodes I won’t reveal whether Jane actually does meet Red John, but they made me like the show much more than ever before.

Not as much as my husband did. Thanks to syndicated repeats on TNT, my spouse became a “Mentalist” junkie; the show made an appearance on our television at some point almost every night, no exaggeration. He even managed to find an episode in dubbed Spanish while were were traveling in a foreign country, and watched from start to finish. The man doesn’t even speak the language.

He didn’t need to. “The Mentalist’s” mysteries have enough of a comfortably recognizable pattern to them that the action transcends language barriers. But a good deal of my husband’s love affair with the show had to do with the idea of Patrick Jane, a former faux psychic/con man turned police consultant who was part trickster, part Richard Kimble, and obsessed with achieving vengeance for the murders of his wife and daughter. There was an element of danger to Jane, but his refined tastes and the care he showed toward his California Bureau of Investigation partner Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), made him more gentleman than scoundrel. That, and his ability to solve crimes using tactics reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s oeuvre (including dramatic speeches that begin with, “I have gathered all of you here because someone in this room…” dramatic pause…”has committed murder“) shrunk whatever dubious qualities he had down to quirks.

All of that was then. Now? Yesterday I let my man know that “The Mentalist’s” two-hour series finale was airing this week and I asked him if he was excited to watch it. “I already did,” he replied. “I saw it, what, two seasons ago?” Actually, it was more like one and a half.

The beauty of procedurals like these is anyone can drop in at any time and not miss much, and the same is likely true of “The Mentalist’s” finale. There have been changes, of course.  Two of the original CBI team, Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti), moved on after Red John was unmasked, but Kimball Cho (Tim Kang) is still around to deliver deadpan fashion advice to Lisbon’s bride-to-be.

Beyond that, there’s a mystery to solve and survive, and a look at Jane and Lisbon on their way to happily ever after… one hopes. Easy to follow and solve as “The Mentalist’s” cases may have been, series finales are often quite unpredictable. If this show proved one thing, it’s that partnering with Jane on the job and in life comes with risks. That’s enough of a reason to tune in for “The Mentalist’s” series finale, even if you already watched the end of the show 15 months ago.

The Mentalists” two-hour series finale airs at 8pm Wednesday on CBS. Click here to see a featurette of the show’s cast saying goodbye to fans.

 

 

 

Cinemax Renews “Banshee,” Picks Up “Outcast”

February 12th, 2015 | Posted by Melanie McFarland in Cinemax - (Comments Off)

Cinemax’s roster of original programming continues to expand. Not only did the premium cable channel greenlight a fourth season of its action series “Banshee” (a personal favorite of mine), it also picked up “Outcast,” a supernatural-themed drama based on a comic book series by “The Walking Dead’s” Robert Kirkman.

A debut date for “Outcast’s” 10-episode first season has yet to be announced, while “Banshee’s” eight episode four season is set to premiere in 2016. That’s a reduced order from “Banshee’s” previous seasons, each of which have consisted of 10 installments.

According to Cinemax, there’s nothing sinister to be interpreted in that reduced episode order; it’s just what series creator  Jonathan Tropper wanted. But the shorter season may have something to do with the availability of “Banshee” executive producer Greg Yaitanes, who has been a driving force in shaping “Banshee” since its beginning. Yaitanes has signed on to direct and executive produce “Quarry,” which was also picked up by Cinemax recently. That show is going into production at the end of March.

As described in Cinemax’s press release, “Outcast’s” main character is Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), a man who has spent his entire life wrestling with demonic possession. Because of this, Kyle has exiled himself from his family and friends to prevent himself from hurting them. As the series begins, Kyle sets out on a journey to get answers about his condition and, perhaps, restore some normalcy to his life. But he soon discovers that his fate is tied to the fate of the world.

The series also stars Philip Glenister as Reverend Anderson, a hard-drinking West Virginia preacher who thinks of himself as a soldier in God’s holy war against the forces of evil on Earth, and Gabriel Bateman as Joshua Austin, an eight-year-old who also appears to be possessed, although in a very different way than anything Kyle has experienced.

A new episode of “Banshee,” titled “We Were All Someone Else Yesterday,” premieres at 10pm Friday on Cinemax. You can preview scenes from the episode here, but be warned: If you haven’t seen the last two episodes, one of the clips includes significant spoilers.

Review: AMC’s “Better Call Saul”

January 30th, 2015 | Posted by Melanie McFarland in AMC | Better Call Saul | IMDbPicks - (Comments Off)

 

Central to “Breaking Bad’s” appeal was the idea that any person, even a mild-mannered teacher who had been kicked around all his life, can twist into a villain. Walter White, the man who became the Southwest’s meth king, started out as a decent husband and father. He was slow to anger, hardworking, undervalued and underpaid.

But let’s not forget that the person who watered the seed from which Walt’s vast meth enterprise sprung was a shady lawyer named Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). Remember? Saul approached Walt in his classroom not long after one of Walt’s dealers was pinched, and advised the teacher not to quit manufacturing crank, but to go bigger.

“I’m no Vito Corleone,” Walt insisted.

“No sh-t — right now, you’re Fredo!” Saul replied. “But you know, with some sound advice, and the proper introductions, who knows?”

No kidding. Not even Saul could have guessed how far down Walter White would go.

That exchange, and so many that followed, make it tough to imagine Saul Goodman as anything more than a devil on a troubled man’s shoulder. But that’s the proposition that AMC’s prequel “Better Call Saul” sets before us. Its 10-episode first season, which premieres 10pm Sunday, February 8 before settling into its 10pm Monday night timeslot on February 9, introduces us to  Saul’s previous incarnation as a struggling court-appointed attorney named Jimmy McGill, a good(ish) man who endured a few slips and falls in life but is just trying to get up and stay up.

Jimmy’s the sort of lawyer that gives public defenders a terrible rep: a sad sack in cheap suits who drives a rust bucket and runs his practice (if you can call it that) out of a dank space behind a nail salon. He’s terrific at putting on a show in court, even for lost causes, but can’t manage to get out of a municipal parking lot without problems.

There’s a touch of nobility to Jimmy McGill nevertheless. A major subplot involves Jimmy railing against the influence of a high-powered law firm, a place built in part by someone close to Jimmy, of whom the firm is trying to taking advantage. Jimmy is desperate for the firm to do the right thing. So, he’s not completely lost as the series begins. But he soon heads in the wrong direction.

“Better Call Saul” was initially pitched as a comedy, but the final product is more dramatic than light.  Some scenes in the opening episodes are outright horrifying but, as is Vince Gilligan’s way, you’ll have plenty of time to see them coming, making them that much more powerful.

In the same way that these tones carried over from “Breaking Bad,” the humor inherent to Odenkirk’s characterization of Jimmy remains immensely satisfying. Much of the comedy in “Saul” stems from the absurdity of Jimmy’s dealings with the legal system itself, a system has left him with few other options than to do the wrong thing to pay the bills. But the series also shows the myriad ways in which the same system that allows wiggle room for wrongdoers to go free if they have legal counsel from, as Jesse Pinkman once put it, “not just a criminal lawyer but a criminal lawyer.”

“Saul’s” not a pure prequel, either. The premiere opens after the events of “Breaking Bad,” with a short prologue stuffed with enough ominous tension to set the show’s intent to jump around in time. “Breaking Bad” used the same device to hint at the terrible places where Walt was headed; here, it grants us a glimpse at the end of the descent before we join Jimmy for his legal career’s perilous climb.

Odenkirk’s performance plays with a lot of variables, and he provides enough shades of Saul to make taking the trip into the darker territory of Jimmy’s grey ethics worthwhile. But “Saul’s” greater accomplishment is that it gives “Breaking Bad” fans a new set of chapters to savor while being accessible to viewers who have never seen the landmark series. Naturally you’ll get a lot more out of “Saul” if you have seen “Breaking Bad” because of the familiar faces popping up — including Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), who shows up in the very different role as a parking lot attendant.

Our look at Mike’s past self gives “Saul” a bit of a bizarro-world feel at first, since it’s tough to imagine the leathery fixer as anything else. But we can trust that Gilligan and his fellow showrunner Peter Gould know precisely how they’re going to shape Mike the lot attendant into the character “Breaking Bad” fans knew and loved. The pair has a firm hold on the story’s development which, based on the three episodes made available for review, becomes clear as the season rolls on. And remember,  “Breaking Bad”  improved by leaps and bounds after its shaky first seven episodes. It’s reasonable to grant “Saul” the same patience to find its footing as well.

AMC wisely scheduled the first two episodes of “Better Call Saul” to air closely to one another, debuting the series on a Sunday before moving it to its regular Monday night timeslot. By the end of that second episode, you’ll probably be glad that AMC has already picked up “Better Call Saul” for season two.

Better Call Saul” premieres 10pm Sunday, February 8. Regular timeslot is 10pm Mondays starting February 9, on AMC.

 

If you haven’t seen the Amazon Original series “Transparent” yet, ask yourself why you’re allowing the best things in life to pass you by.  Then, take comfort in knowing that on Saturday, you can watch the entire series for free on Amazon.com, even if you’re not a Prime subscriber. The free sampling window will be available on Saturday between 12:01am ET and 11:59pm PT by using the Amazon Instant Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/Transparent.

Last week “Transparent” became a two-time Golden Globe award winner, scoring hardware for Best Comedy series and a Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Globe for its star Jeffrey Tambor.

In addition to this sampling opportunity, Amazon Prime memberships will fall to $72 on Saturday, in celebration of the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Created by Jill Soloway, a producer on “Six Feet Under” and “United States of Tara”, “Transparent” is a thought-provoking glimpse at sex and identity as filtered through the prism of a family dramedy, and also stars Gaby Hoffmann, Jay Duplass, Amy Landecker. Tambor plays the family’s patriarch Mort, a man whose decision to make a gender transition leads to each of his children examining their own lives.

Review: Fox’s “Backstrom”

January 21st, 2015 | Posted by Melanie McFarland in Fox - (1 Comments)

The Husband and I have an affectionate nickname for the crime procedurals we watch: pudding.  These are not shows that innovate the procedural genre in any way, but represent the lighter, character-driven side of things. They go down smooth and easy, thanks to charismatic leads that make them distinguishable from, say, the bleak “Law & Orders” and “CSIs” of the world.  Depending on the day or the mood, “Let’s watch some pudding” could refer to “Castle” or “The Mentalist” — more often,  it’s “Castle.”

Fox’s “Backstrom,” premiering Thursday at 9pm, could have been pudding. But “Backstrom” gets something wrong in the mix, and unfortunately that something wrong happens to be its lead character, Everett Backstrom (Rainn Wilson).  Backstrom, the leader of Portland’s Special Crimes Unit, is an unkempt curmudgeon who sees not just the worst in everybody but, as he says at one point, the everybody in everybody. That means he’s not blinded by the weeping damsel in distress or villains posing in heroes uniforms. He sees the perp behind the pretty which, of course, makes him very good at his job. Of course!

Among the qualities that come standard with this model of television character is very little consideration for his health and well-being, and zero cares about offending everyone around him. Backstrom is even fond spewing out racist insults if he knows he can get a rise out someone. (Which is a wonderful trait to show in a cop at this moment in time, what with all the protests about police brutality…am I right?)

The argument for “Backstrom’s” existence and in favor of its possible appeal is that he’s just like Gregory House. There’s something to be said for that; “House” ran for eight seasons before it tendered its resignation, so clearly there was something viewers loved about that frustrating, thoroughly unlikable doc. Wilson does miracles with the dialogue he’s given, although the hammy exposition in the opening episode could make the more discerning viewer cringe. There’s also the device of Everett verbalizing his way through the process of profiling someone, which gets old pretty fast.

That said, the show’s style of humor, dark though it can be, is the kind of thing executive producer Hart Hanson  sells quite effectively on “Bones.”  A few of the punchlines here have an odder landing, especially when they’re served to lighten up a bleak moment, but if “Bones” is your bag, you’ll probably enjoy “Backstrom.”

The show prospects aren’t entirely dim, thanks to its supporting cast. Backstrom’s team members, played by  Kristoffer Polaha, Genevieve Angelson, and Beatrice Rosen, complement of Wilson’s character perfectly, making the detective look at lot more palatable than he should be, and Page Kennedy as Moto, the team’s dimwitted beat cop muscle, creates some really funny moments. The character most worth tuning in for, however, is Dennis Haysbert‘s Det. Sgt. John Almond…not because of anything he says or does, but because of his profile: Almond is a formidable cop who also happens to be a pastor, and Haysbert is the guy so many still love as “24 ‘s” President Palmer. In my opinion, those are the perfect ingredients for some tasty procedural pudding.