NBC wants more from “Life”


Yesterday you put up with my rant about the possibility of an untimely end to Battlestar Galactica. Today I have decided to grace you with a whiff of positivity. The same folks at NBC/Universal who are messing with my Starbuck fix have granted me more of Sarah Shahi, much to my pleasant surprise.

Recent news of a scheduling shift for Shahi’s freshman series Life had me concerned about the ultimate fate of the show. (OK, Shahi isn’t the “central” character, but she’s close.) My original thought was, “Great, they’re trying to wrap up what’s left in the can so they can move on to other things.” See, usually when I get sucked into a new show early in its run, I end up bemoaning its death after half a season or less. It happened to me last year with Studio 60, and it’s happening again with Bionic Woman. At least in the case of Bionic Woman, it didn’t take me long to jump off the bandwagon.

Well, as it happens, the decision by NBC seems to be a move for future ratings gain behind the Heroes juggernaught. The news was announced this week that NBC has placed a full season order for Life. Journeyman, the show currently occupying the post-Heroes slot, did not get the same happy news. Perhaps the powers that be are at last smiling upon one of my new program obsessions.

What has me and others so obsessed? Shahi is only part of the reason, though I must say she is a good portion of the reason. Much as I liked Carmen, I love Dani Reese. This is a rich character with so many facets for Shahi to explore, I find myself drooling at what may lie ahead. And as I mentioned before, the central story doesn’t even revolve around her. (Though we have learned that anyone and everyone may have been involved in poor Charlie’s frame job.)

One of the other things that has me hooked is the dry wit of these characters. The wit is so subtle that sometimes I don’t laugh until three sentences later, but that’s what I love about it. It’s funny without trying too hard to be funny. These characters see the absurd in their lives, and rather than be frustrated by things beyond their control, they laugh at it and themselves. In Damien Lewis‘ portrayal of Charlie Crews, you understand that he could have spent his time in prison growing angry or growing wise. He chose to grow wise. Doesn’t mean he isn’t plotting his revenge, but he’s doing it patiently and with a sardonic smile that makes you wonder what he’s thinking.

But the real fun for me has been watching Robin Weigert as Lt. Karen Davis.

Recognize her? Niether did I, and it bugged the heck out of me. So I looked her up after the pilot.

Cleans up good, don’t she? I loved her in Deadwood and am enjoying the chance to see her with less goodirt on her face.

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