The Runway – Your 2016 Pilot Survival Guide: FOX Dramas

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lethal weapon

Lethal Weapon

Logline: When Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Riggs suffers the loss of his wife and baby, he moves to LA to start anew. There, he is partnered with LAPD detective murtaugh, who, having recently sufferend a “minor” heart attack, must avoid stress in his life.
Cast:
Creators: Matt Miller (Writer / EP), (D/EP), (EP), (EP)
Studios: Warner Bros. TV, Lin Pictures, Good Session Productions

Though I quite enjoyed the first movie, I never really got into the Lethal Weapon franchise. Not my cup of tea. That said, I was quite curious about this pilot.

We have yet another war hero in Riggs, which is officially the most tiring backstory of all time. It’s the Taken of backstories (see Zoobiquity if you don’t believe me). He’s volatile, impulsive, and suicidal. Murtaugh wants some peace and quiet. This time, for health reasons (he has a heart condition). So far, we’re in sync with the setup of the first film.

But as the narrative wears along, it becomes abundantly clear that Lethal Weapon is playing it safe, perhaps too safe. While Shane Black’s original was dark and edgy, this pilot is far lighter and in the same tonal wheelhouse as Elementary. In trying to gain a wider demo, does Fox risk losing out on Lethal Weapon’s darkly comic qualities?

Like A.P.B., the pilot plotline feels generic, with low stakes. It’s hard to care. In a marketplace crowded with serial-episodic hybrids, Lethal Weapon doesn’t seem to give us enough to pull us back in. While Riggs’ volatility and suicidal tendencies could make the feature suspenseful, it might struggle to power an entire series.

So…execution-dependent (I’m saying that a lot for Fox). It’s all going to come down to the chemistry between Wayans and Crawford.

(PS: Lethal Weapon brings us one of the most fun supporting characters this pilot season: a screenwriter.)

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