by pat howard

PREVIEW | “Men of a Certain Age”

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Entertainment Weekly sent me a nifty screener on a mixtape-shaped USB drive. Sadly, it only contained the first half of the pilot. Happily, it was a swift, immersive twenty minutes.

At first I had trouble shaking my Ray Barone image off creator Ray Romano’s potrayal of Joe, one of a trio of college buddies now staring middle age in the mirror. But once I let go of that, I was intrigued with these characters.

Joe and his wife are separated; he spends his days putting and playing classic rock on the jukebox at the party store he owns. Andre Braugher is Owen, married with children and heir apparent to his father’s car dealership. As Terry, Scott Bakula is beginning to resemble a live-action Muppet. Terry is a stock character from the perpetually single cad with no discernible career ambitions.

I am not as well-versed in TNT originals; it is sort of the basic-cable HBO to USA’s Showtime, if you were to ask my couch. It is surely quality programming, but I tend to be ambivalent about it. Men does a nice job of maintaining a mood through this first few acts. I’m curious to see where the pilot leads these characters, though I’m not sure how interested I’d be in watching every week. I’d be more comfortable committing to a limited series run, like the original plan for The Starter Wife. It’s a thoughtful approach, however, to a premise we’ve heard before. Perhaps this time, amid the flotsam and reruns of the broadcast holiday hiatus, it’ll take hold.

Men of a Certain Age premieres Monday, December 7 at 10p/9c on TNT.

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