THE ROOKIE Premiere TV Review

The Rookie on ABC, stars Nathan Fillion (Castle), Melissa O'Neil (Syfy's Dark Matter), Afton Williamson (Shades of Blue), Richard T Jones (Santa Clarita Diet), Eric Winter (Rosewood) and more...

The series follows John Nolan (Fillion), a forty-year-old man, who moves from his small town life to the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles to start his life over to pursue what he deems his calling, that of being a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. But being the oldest rookie to ever graduate from the police academy puts him in an ill-fated spotlight. Though his intentions are noble, they are met with skepticism from some higher-ups that only see him as a man acting out some kind of dream and having a walking midlife crisis. This midlife crisis, they feel, is a danger to the force.


For one... I want to like what Nathan Fillion does, I really do, and to date, I've not been disappointed. But The Rookie is threatening that track record.

The show has various camera filming methods that make it interesting, and the show is following three rookies, not just Nolan. It's more heavily focused on Nolan but we get dabbles of the other two trainee/TO teams.

Nolan's motivation for becoming a cop is believable enough and we're not tortured with his going through the police academy.

But I have to get real for a moment.

Normally when a show shoves a ton of character and story details down your throat in the first episode, I've always said that's a warning sign. When a show does not trust itself to let things develop over time or a number of episodes, well, those shows tend to feel like desperate writing in hopes of catching some aspect of various viewers. It's usually a show that does not trust itself to be successful.

And that's what this show did... Instead of focusing on maybe on issue during the premiere, we got many...

We have the commanding officer's total disdain for Nolan.
We have Nolan being treated sternly by his training officer (TO).
We have Nolan acting like a detective already.
We have Nolan experiencing his first victim death.
We have Nolan experience saving an innocent victim.
We have Nolan's little secret behind-the-scenes off in the wings.
We have Nolan's TO onto his secret and warning the situation off.
We've also experienced personal traumatic scenarios for other characters in the line up.

All these things, these story details, great dramatic discoveries, could have been distributed over several episodes and let good writing carry the main theme forward. But instead... well, right now it is what it is, and I'm worried for The Rookie.

Supposedly the show premiered to mediocre ratings, which might say that Fillion does not have as big a draw as they thought. Or that the masses of Firefly fans are not numbering enough to tune in and make the show another awesome Fillion show.

Either way, he must have a nice contract with ABC, since Filliom is also an executive producer, but man, as a Fillion fan, I hope the show develops in such a way that it grows on you. Otherwise it might be a flop.

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