Saturday, September 16, 2006

Smith: Liotta's Six

Smith is another one of the CBS shows available on Google video (commercial-free) before its premiere Tuesday night, and I recommend giving it a look, either online or on your television. If you liked Ocean's Eleven, but want a bit more character drama with your heists, this is your show. The pilot is full of suspense and sets up juicy backstory on many of the characters that should pay off in future episodes. Amy Smart has a particularly interesting role, not for the history that she has with one of the other members of the team, but for what may be in her own personal history. And while we get almost nothing about Shohreh Aghdashloo's character, a shadowy, maybe crime boss, that's just the way I like it for now. Although I encourage the show to use her more, because there's no point in hiring an Oscar nominee if you're not going to give her a lot to do.

The show picks up the "in medias res" mantle that Alias, home of the "72 Hours Earlier" caption, left behind by starting first at the most exciting part of the heist, then flashing back to sixty minutes earlier, at the start of the heist, then going back to three weeks earlier, when they actually start planning the thing. And while it is good to watch the crime unfold once you've already been introduced to the players, I still think it's bad form to flash back from what is already a flashback. Smith does try to alleviate your confusion by providing some of the characters' names in captions during their introductory scenes, which, for a pilot, is pretty smart. Not smart, however: Ray Liotta's character going over the blueprints for his next job, in a glass-walled office, while his boss watches him. Worst criminal ever?

Ultimately, it's a show with a lot of promise. I don't want to say much more, because you should really see for yourself.