Monday, October 25, 2010

Law & Order LA: Time for Tough Love

I’m a big fan of all the shows of the Law & Order brand. But, even a serious Law and Order junkie knows when it’s time for tough love. With four episodes under its belt, it’s time for me to offer my opinions regarding Law & Order Los Angeles – “LOLA” for short.

The original Law & Order had a twenty year run in New York City and earned a place as a national pastime. Before it was canceled, it received a respectable number of viewers for new episodes, despite NBC burying it on Friday night. Many viewers still tune in to TNT when past episodes air. It’s TV’s version of comfort food. After NBC canceled the show, there were no other takers (pause for weeping). I won’t spend time speculating about all the reasons why NBC put Law & Order out to pasture, but I will say that I think NBC made a mistake. Likely sensing that fans would buy a reincarnated show and there were still dollars to be made from the Law & Order brand, NBC green-lighted a change in venue for the drama, and Law & Order Los Angeles came to be.
Media reviews for LOLA have been inconsistent, although most that I've read are skewed negative. When the premiere episode aired, there was some outcry over the absence of the voice over introduction by Steve Zirnkilton, a staple for every show in the brand. This intro was added back at the start of the third episode, to the relief of many. That fixed the first 15 seconds or so, but there is much more that needs work.

Location, Location, Location
Law & Order was centered in New York, and the series made the city just as much of a cast member as the actors. The first problem with Law & Order Los Angeles is – to state the obvious - Los Angeles is not New York. New York was always in the forefront of Law & Order, by using the colorful and sometimes distinctive personalities of New Yorkers, highlighting the way New Yorkers live and work in the city, and the concentrated feel of Manhattan. In New York, many scenes shot on location often included lots of people, lots of noisy traffic, and lots of activity. New York always appeared alive. Law & Order Los Angeles doesn’t seem to have the scenic personality, and it may only seem that way because it doesn’t have New York City’s glut of iconic buildings, bridges, waterways, etc. With the exception of one episode, “Harbor City”, which provided some expansive LA vistas, LOLA looks like it could have been shot in Cleveland. My suggestion – the show needs to get out more, with location shots that show people living and working and moving around, showing that the city is alive. Find logical excuses to fit in an icon or two every now and then so viewers can identify with the city. Sure, one can’t have dead bodies popping up near every major Los Angeles landmark because that would be silly. But, Law & Order in New York always seemed to work something in that reinforced its location. Right now, LOLA’s Los Angeles seems like such a generic, sterile place, devoid of people, traffic, and interesting places. Shows like "The Closer", "Southland", and even the cheesy "NCIS LA" do it better.

A related issue is the differing soundtracks. Watch the mothership – especially on episodes before season 18 - and many scenes seem to be devoid of musical backgrounds. In fact, a lot of the sounds you’ll hear on the original L&O are sounds of traffic, people, sirens – the noise of a big city. With LOLA, the sounds of the city are absent; instead we often get some heavy, sometimes syrupy music over simple scenes like detectives questioning people or in interrogation scenes. If the writing and acting is strong enough, background music isn’t needed to help convey the emotional timbre of most scenes, and should be used sparingly.

These Are Their Stories – And They’d Better Be Good
The tried and true “first half to the detectives, second half to the prosecutors" formula seemed to work well for the first 20 years of Law & Order and can still continue to work. To do so, the show must engage the audience with stories that are relatable and believable. LOLA is heading in the wrong direction, serving up stories that are too twisty and unnecessarily complicated. For example, in the episode “Sylmar,” a meth lab is purposely blown up, accidentally killing two kids sitting in a parked car, the killers being a group of people who converted to Islam who are planning acts of terror because of “godless” Americans, and the blowing up of the meth lab had nothing to do with these planned acts; the DDAs have a battle with the Feds over jurisdiction in prosecuting the terrorists. It’s too much even to write down much less watch. After viewing each episode, I came away with nothing, as if someone is using one of those random story generators in creating the plot. There doesn’t seem to be any meat to the stories, it’s just a series of events that are superficially spliced together.

The set up to a good story can be as simple as the title of an episode. Law & Order LA is using names of cities, places, or neighborhoods, which is not only dull, but it doesn’t convey anything interesting about the episodes. “Sylmar,” for example, was the location where two kids were killed while sitting in a car when a garage meth lab explodes. The location is meaningless when you think about the real issue the episode attempted to cover - who has jurisdiction when it comes to the murder of civilians when the killers are planning more acts of terror? I would have called the episode “Jurisdiction” or something descriptive of the central issue of the episode. With more people using their DVR on screen TV listings to plan their program viewing, seeing an episode titled “Sylmar” may not grab a viewer’s attention, but “Jurisdiction” might pique interest. It’s the old sales method of selling the sizzle and not the steak, and LOLA needs to work on selling the sizzle.

The Actors: Time For a Change …Already?
Some see Law & Order as a generic, cookie cutter show; it follows a formula and will look and feel virtually the same from episode to episode, season to season. This makes it easy for actors to come and go, new ones just falling into pre-set roles. Over the years, the mothership saw quite a few detectives and prosecutors come and go. Some cast members became icons; Jerry Orbach and Sam Waterston are the best examples. For many years, these two served as anchors for their respective half of the show, and when their work partners changed, they helped make the change less jarring to viewers. Both Jerry and Sam didn’t join the cast until after the series had been running a few years. Many times a series doesn’t get casting right the first time, and/or sometimes actors just want out, allowing someone better (as with Jerry and Sam) to come in. Sadly, I see no icons in the future for LOLA with the current cast.

Cast changes with LOLA are inevitable. They already had one cast change shortly after the series went into production. For LOLA, they should make more changes sooner (before season 2, if there is one) rather than later. Neither the TV executives nor viewers have any tolerance for actors that they don’t enjoy watching or that may be prompting viewers to tune to other programs. LOLA may think they hedged their bets by having two Deputy District Attorney teams for the prosecution: Alfred Molina/Regina Hall and Terrence Howard/Megan Boone. But, this may also work against them, as comparisons are already been made between teams. I feel very comfortable with Alfred Molina in his role; he comes across as being appropriately authoritative and commanding. (I also believe he would have made a better District Attorney than over Peter Coyote’s “Jerry Hardin”.) Terrence Howard does not exude that same presence as Molina and I am not sure that he ever will. In my mind, I’ve already made my mental choice of my preferred DDA. Here lies the problem: viewers will have their favorite actors, and some viewers like the alternating roles while others like consistency. This all adds up to viewers making a choice whether to watch an episode or not to watch depending on who is starring. If the choice is not to watch, the network may never get those viewers back.

The two female DDAs have no presence whatsoever. They’re just…there, almost like they’re part of the furniture. They need to either give their roles some substance and their characters some personality, or find replacements. Fast.

Corey Stoll and Skeet Ulrich, who play the detective team, should settle in with viewers over time. Ulrich has a decent (young) fan base (lots of “Jericho” fans out there) and this should draw in the coveted demographic. Stoll is believable in his role and while the younger female demographic may not be swooning over him like they do over Ulrich, Stoll still is very likeable and actually seems the better actor of the pair. Rachel Ticotin, who plays the Lieutenant, hasn’t been on long enough or had enough screen time to make any judgments either way. Bottom line: this segment of the cast should work well.

Engage Viewers And The Buzz Will Come
Law & Order was frequently the topic of discussion because it covered controversial issues. So far, Law & Order Los Angeles hasn’t covered anything which seems to be sparking any buzz. There is an absence of debate about how the detectives handled an investigation, or how the prosecutor worked a trial. Where are the big legal, moral, and ethical issues that used to stir up viewers? Not every episode can be controversial, but there needs to be something in every episode that engages viewers and gets people talking. People love to give their opinion, and LOLA so far isn’t giving viewers much to talk about.

These days, TV shows can be made or broken on buzz or the lack of it. LOLA is like a ham sandwich without the ham. To survive long term, there needs to be some substance for people to sink their teeth into and to feed viewers’ needs to dissect it and discuss it further.

The Same, But Different; New But Not Improved
There is something comforting in tuning into a TV show and knowing what to expect. Law & Order still has a very solid fan base, and it seems many fans have moved over to LOLA. The question is: how long will they stay? The show feels the same as the beloved mothership, and it’s just different enough to make some feel that it’s newer and shinier than the old standby. Newer and shinier is not always better, however. Law & Order set the bar fairly high, and LOLA still has a ways to go before it can even see that bar. Changing the scenery is not enough. LOLA has to make its own mark; it has to find its own style. It also must proceed with caution – messing too much with the standard formula may find LOLA going the way of “new Coke” (a major failure for the Coke brand in the mid 1980s). Many Law & Order fans are still stinging over the cancellation of the beloved mothership, and LOLA so far pales in comparison. Law & Order Los Angeles is in desperate need of establishing its own identity while keeping the best of what made the original a 20 year success. The brand may be over 20 years old, but that is still too young to die.

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Anonymous said...

I agree, LOLA doesn't have it. There is hope if they make changes. Terrence Howard is awful. I don't think Skeet is the guy either. They need a bigger name and think Josh Holloway from LOST would have been perfect.

Anonymous said...

LOLA may need the whole season just to work out the kinks. The legal half needs a retooling and I agree that the female DDAs are bland.

I like Corey Stoll and I didn't expect I would so that was a surprise.

Anonymous said...

You are right on with your assessment ATLAO. There is just something missing. Being from the New York, I must say that I miss the authenticity of the "street characters". The feel of the show is what I miss most.

To the first poster--Josh Holloway would be great. I do hope the rumors of him being the new Jim Rockford will become a reality though.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen this yet - it may not reach the UK! - but I've yet to see any hugely enthusiastic reviews of it. I'm afraid when I saw the first publicity stills, my first thought was 'Oh, it's CSI LOLA'

jj said...

I never watch legal/cop shows and the only reason I tuned in was for Ulrich. And, not because he is good looking, but I find him a compelling - REAL - actor, not the melodramatic camera hogging scenery- chewer that most so-called actors today seem to aspire to (*cough* T.Howard). Unfortunately tv viewers today think that actors running around screaming at people and waving a gun constitutes 'acting'. REAL people don't make nearly as much eye contact as tv directors would have you believe. Sorry for the rant but people seem to be 'one boxers' -- meaning, either an actor is good-looking or a good actor. It never dawns on them that maybe, just maybe, they could be both.

The writing on the first few episodes was weak, and none of the actors had much to work with, plus the Winters character is supposed to be an uptight guy which will come across as one-dimensional and most people don't relate to that or are attracted to that personality type. People relate to the 'smart-ass, sarcastic' characters, and that is TJ. I think Corey Stoll is terrific at this and I love his engaging and smooth line delivery. KEEP ULRICH AND STOLL.

I do agree with the Molina assessment [he's a genuine star and high caliber actor] and the female presence is woefully underrepresented and undynamic. They should add actress Alicia Coppola as a regular. She is engaging, jumps out and grabs the viewer and demonstrates a real confidence. She has real presence on screen. She would have been better as the DDA. Megan is just too young and Hall is just kind of .....there.

Other than that, I like the show and think that it is gaining momentum and finding its groove. I gave them some room to grow as the show was rushed to air and there were some re-casting issues at the outset which could not have made editing easy.

gahks said...

Suggestion: demote Masters to co-exec. producer and give Balcer more of a say in how things are run?

Anonymous said...

So that's what "Sylmar" was. (It's a bad sign for me when I'm too uninterested to google).

Molina apparently didn't want to commit to a weekly show, meaning they needed a second DDA. The way the show has been going, I wonder whether that many actors would be interested in the role. How many seasons did Molina commit to - anybody know?

Are the writers from New York, or used to writing about NY? It might just take a while to figure out what is characteristic of the location, and different from the rest of the country (the Samoan crook, the casual references to moving back and forth to Hawaii are things you wouldn't expect in NYC, or Cleveland, I'd expect). Detroit 187 is doing a good job with using the city and its special circumstances in the plots - I went to college north of there, and it feels true, although locals quibble about the firearms the cops use and so forth. The city doesn't have a lot going for it right now, in terms of providing pretty pictures, although with a harbor, it has possibilities.

As for the featureless females - is that the problem of the actresses, or of the writers? I wondered when "Wheeler" switched partners whether her more subdued manner was because they were writing her as distinctly subordinate to the new lead actor, or because of the physical effects of the actor's pregnancy.

Anonymous said...

All Things ~

This is a tremendously thoughtful and thorough analysis -- one reason I come here is that you offer this kind of deeper analysis that you don't find on most entertainment blogs.

I agree with most of what you said -- all of it, really -- the only thing I disagree with is taste for the ADA's. I really like Howard and am less sold on Molina, but like both. I think one creative thing they could do is perhaps have an episode where BOTH appear and perhaps fight over a case -- THAT would be compelling and cause me to want to tune in even more.

I compmletely agree with you that the two female ADA's are terrible. All the ADAs on the mothership were solid -- from Robinette to Connie. Frankly, it was Robinette, Hennessy, Lowell, Harmon, Rohm, Parisse, and Alana who helped make L&O what it was. The faster they find someone that works there, the better.

I too like the cops -- really like Ulrich and also Ticotin, but feel like an opportunity was missed by not recruiting Ben Bratt. One thought is perhaps he was upset by the LO cancellation he opted to turn it down, because unless the folks are NBC are idiots, I am hoping he was offered.

As for the intro of the show, while they fixed the voice lead in, the lack of the theme song and title cards is offensive to me as a long time L&O franchise watcher -- it is as much a staple of the show as anything else, and to leave it out is a slap in the face, to me. Not only that, it denies newer viewers an opportunity to understand who the cast is. Just stupidity, in my view.

I also think the cancellation of the mothership is hurting LOLA. The reason is that folks like you and me would be more tolerant of the LOLA growing pains if the mothership weren't cancelled. Furthermore, the possibility of truly compelling storylines and crossvers was huge -- much like we saw a tease with SVU and Ulrich. Who couldn't love a McCoy vs. Hardin showdown over custody? Some of the best shows on the mothership were the crossovers with Homicide, becuase you got cops in competing cities. Homicide, in a way was "Law & Order: Baltimore".

Also, why does every show in LA have to be about some stereotypical LA problem? Why not just a regular great crime story?

If I were the head of NBC, I would:

- Give up on crappy shows like Undercovers and Chase and bring back Law & Order. Yes, I know the sets need to be rebuilt for the station house, but so what? All the actors are still available as far as I know, and the've kept the Facebook page up. They're clearly not completely dead on the idea, even though it's definitely in a coma.

- They need to dump the two female aDAs and replace them with someone more compelling.

- They need to bring back the lead in with the theme music.

- They need to decide on a DA team to go with, or have more joint episodes.

- Better stories. Better shots of LA, as you said.

Those are my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Not too late to bring back L & O at least for one more year...try as they may I cannot get into LOLA, I think L & O UK is even beter than LOLA..TNT bring it back...I DVR every show...

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous at 7:08 - Law & Order UK is better than LOLA. The cast is better. Even though the stories are repurposed L&O eps they are written better too. I also can tell that I am in LONDON. Whoever is calling the shots is not doing a good job of showing life in LA.

Shelly said...

Very nice analysis All Things... I think you've hit several nails on the head.

I don't understand why they can't do a better job of featuring LA in the storyline. Unlike the Mothership and SVU, this show could be filmed anywhere given how little they spotlight the flavor and texture of the city. I miss the grittiness of the NYC-based versions. They should really go back and watch the Mothership, Southland or even Homicide (yes, I know it was filmed in Baltimore but it did a great job of capturing the city) if they're confused on how to do this.

Thanks All Things..

Josh Morton said...

I agree with Gahks

You can't have a show without a 'showrunner' and Blake Masters is not the one who should have a hand in writing on LOLA.

We all thought (or some of us) that the character on LOCI Detective Robert Goren would always be wacky and let's just say his 'season 1-5' self. After Balcer left as EP Warren Leight came in and as some fans like to put it: "Leight=Life" (and death), 'Warren Leight' brought life to LOCI and as did BOTH Vincent D'Onofrio and Chris Noth - I saw Noth do things on CI I NEVER saw him to on the Mothership! And Noth became more of a people person than the hardcore cop he played on L&O. I can tell they are trying to do the same thing with Skeet Ulrich's Rex Winters (but Skeet needs to relax a little).

Skeet Ulrich – Rex Winters – An LA version of Mike Logan/Rey Curtis. I get it and don’t like it. The first episode he seemed to have issues with Hollywood stars, the second one his wife gets blamed for coercion, the third one he seems to have issues with ‘rich boy surfers with surplus attitudes’, and in the previous one he seems to have issues with meth labs killing children/Jihad terrorist cells. – So we can tell they are trying to get a story done for Rex Winters and his past – like Logan: issues on the job, the service, life…

Corey Stoll’s Jaruszalski is AWESOME: I personally think if Skeet would ‘take and fly’ the role of Rex Winters they’d be okay as a detective team.

As you said All Things – we have yet to see Ticotin take on her role as Gonzales. Though I would have loved to see Wanda De Jesus in the role.

I’m hopping on to Peter Coyote – WHY ARE THEY TRYING TO MAKE HIM A STRONGER VERSION OF JACK MCCOY?! NO?! BAD IDEA?! LET’S KEEP JACK IN NYC; unless he flies out to LA. (The season finale needs to be a two-part SVU/LA cross over if you ask me, bring Sam Waterston with SVU as well.) Peter Coyote needs to be ‘Jerry Hardin’ and so far he’s been ‘Jack A. Hardin-McCoy’ aka Jack-Ass Hardin-McCoy. Coyote’s believable in the role, but his character needs to be roughed over again, or either his character needs a past to show why he acts like a hard-ass DA.

Regina Hall & Megan Boone – WTF?! They’ve got two pretty ladies who are just ‘carrying water’ to and for Alfred Molina’s Morales and Terrence Howard’s Dekker. Two independent women! MAKE THEM ACT INDEPENDENT – I’m surprised that female viewers haven’t noticed it like I have. If they keep that up they will and wind up having Wolf, Masters, and the crew explain why they seem to violate some Women’s Rights. It just has the appearance that they are just there to BE there, no special purpose behind it.

Terrence Howard – Well, not bad; but not good either. I understand the analysis behind the character Joe Dekker. He’s for the people first and the prosecution can come or it won’t. But it seems they want to try to make Dekker an early version of Jack McCoy, an s9 version of Casey Novak, and s5 version of Ron Carver and it’s not working. And Terrence’s acting makes it worse because like Skeet – he’s trying too hard and he sounds like he’s going to cry in every dramatic scene. And in one scene in “Sylmar” (or “Echo Park”) he appeared to be ‘preaching’ after the defense presented their closing arguments. Terrence would be okay if he’d calm down.

Josh Morton said...


Alfred Molina – NO COMPLAINS WHAT SO EVER! I saw his SVU episode today as Gabriel Andrews – all that hair he had!


Here’s what I think they should have been.

1x1 – Fame (actual working title) [Hollywood]
1x2 – Payback [Echo Park]
1x3 – Territory [Harbor City]
1x4 – Plot/Meth/Attack [Sylmar]
1x5 – Quit (from what I read in PR)
1x6 – Gulf (from what I read in PR)

The SVU simple titles!

Opening Sequence – They don’t need the original L&O’s – the NEED one for L&O: LA. “This is Los Angeles, these are it’s stories.” – Plus why have an ending theme with no intro? - It took me TWO HOURS to do what they can in TWO MINUTES!

LOLA needs help to get to where at least CI WAS! First step, fire Blake Masters! Hire Ed Sherin, Richard Sweren, Fred Berner, or Michael S. Chernuchin.

janethyland said...

Whilst we disagree on many aspects because I really like LOLA and didnt like mothership after its initial years,its good to see so many people with viewpoints. It doesnt matter whether they are negative or not, the fact is people bothered to express them..and thats the sign of a successful show.

Ultimately LOLA will have to appeal to a broader audience than its mothership origins, and I think its already doing that.

The women characters are a problem though because they always seem stereotypical.Maybe they just dont know real women in their lives.

Anonymous said...

Ulrich and two female ADAs are awful. The two women have blank faces most of the time. Megan Boone at the end of Sylmar looked stony faced when she walked into the courtroom hallway. No acting skill there.

Terrence Howard has too high opinion of himself, he's trying to play his role as if he is a crusader and he comes off as whiny. Alfred Molina is playing the DDA perfectly.

The cast is a big part of the problem.

Sara said...

A thorough assessment, something we've come to appreciate from this thought-provoking blog. Admittedly, I stopped watching LOLA after the second episode. I couldn't adjust to the feel of this franchise. With the exception of the outdoor scenes, the rest of the show appears to be shot from a set and a bad one at that. Many scenes from the original L&O were also shot from a set, one that depicted multiple actions. Although the camera might have been focused on the detectives there was always something else going on in the background: a hand-cuffed drunk being strong-armed to his cell, a tearful relative, etc. LOLA's cold, sterile set fails to create the urgency one would associate with a major city's police department.

There are so many serious issues with LOLA it's doubtful they can all be resolved within the short time frame needed to build a loyal audience. To do so would involve expensive re-writes, cast changes and set redesigns to name a few. In today's kleenex world where ratings and demos mean the difference between success and failure, it's much more profitable to move on to the next hit show. If LOLA is renewed for a second season, it will be a miracle.

All Things...

As I typed this comment, the weather reports from your area show a historic low pressure system bearing down on your area of the country. Batten down the hatches and stay safe.

nygma619 said...

While I think most of these are valid points, I feel I need to stress that it's only 4 EPISODES in to the show. I think its a little soon to be judging the show as a whole based on that.

Lets also keep in mind that the mothership, SVU, and CI all got off to rocky starts when they started off. Jerry Orbach debuted on the show as a defense attorney; before becoming the iconic detective that we all loved Lennie Briscoe, and Sam Waterson didn't even join the show as Jack McCoy until it's 5th season.

I'm getting the vibe that some people think that the quality of a show should be great right away, or its deemed a failure. I also think some of the peoples opinions of the show might be skewed because of how they feel about the mothership being cancelled.

The detectives have grown on me, and I think they'll get better as time goes on.

Alfred Molina is the best casting choice this show has made. I agree that Terrence Howard feels like he's trying too hard. And they need to do some retooling of the female DDA's.

As far as the use of Los Angeles, they really need to get into showing the darker side of what Los Angeles can be like, and not just the glamorous side of things.

Personally I'd say wait till half way through the first season to see how things end up, before writing the show off.

janethyland said...

Lots of people like it and lots of people are watching it. Ive no doubt it will get a second season because NBC shows are competing against themselves,not other networks, and there are no other shows drawing in similar interest,whether negative or positive...that doesnt matter. It stirs the pot.

"Outlaws" and "Whole Truth" are already in cancellation.

I do like the fact all networks have made their decision about their new shows already, which indicates decisions are made for reasons irrespective of popularity etc. They gave full seasons to some shows that are very unpopular.

This means all the networks have given a period of security to their shows and that enables them to develop.

LOLA was bound to get comments of reaction from those who loved The mothership...but clearly those involved in actually making the show are fully committed to it and energised.

Anonymous said...

Mothership: Best show in the history of television.

LOLA: Average TV.

End of story.

janethyland said...

Obviously not the end of the story which is why they are now making LOLA.

Those making it have moved on to new stories.Its a challenge for everyone...but that is what makes them successful in TV.

"Dont complain. Dont explain"says Wolf. He moves on and may make another triumph with LOLA...that is why he is successful in his business.

I dont care if LOLA lasts because i have no interest in longevity. Two seasons would be nice,but one is enough if thats all they get.

I just like the challenge.And i admire them for challenging themselves.

xfool said...

four episodes into the series is exactly the RIGHT time to cound the alarm. There is too much negative press out there about LOLA after 4 episode. Look at the ratings for new shows like Hawaii 5-0, which was a remake of a show that fan30 years ago and that one was a hit right out of the chute with two lead male stars who are henerating huge buzz. Law & Order has a long history and there is NO EXCUSE the weak quality the first 4 episodes. ATLAO said that the franchise doesn;t get casting right the first time, and they didn't get it right on L&) and SVU the first season. But they were smart to make changes ober the years. LOLA needs to fix thoses lady DDAs now because they can't act (but it is partly bad writing too)

LOLA should be happy tht The Whole Truth was canceled but where wil lthose viewers go? The Defenders, or LOLA? They are running all of The Whole Truth eps and we may not find out for a while.

I like L&O, SVU, and CI, but LOLA just isn't grabbing me. The legel end is flat, boring, and not worth watching.

nygma619, you may think 4 episodes is too early for critical commentary, but look at how many shows have been canceled by the networks after 4 or less. It is never too soon to sound the alarm. Nobody epected to get a show just like the mothership, but we did expect something that would bring the same "buzz" as ATLAO called it. Nobody I know is tlking about LOLA.

Anonymous said...

Just like nygma619 said "they really need to get into showing the darker side of what Los Angeles can be like", I think they should make LOLA a little bit more "violence",not that "violence" with explosion everyday or bullet fly everywhere, but the "violence" like The Shield or The Wire.
And to the two female DDAs, I don't think Regina or Megan have problem on acting skill.The problem is there are too much main characters(6) appearance in too little times(42 mins).Just like Munch and Fin in nowadays SVU, they seems not indispensable(and Munch already is).

Anonymous said...

I can't help seeing LOLA as a replacement of the Mothership-- and I hate it because of that. I know is childish, and I'll give it a chance, but... I just miss the characters from the mothership too much.
BTW, i love this blog.

All Things Law and Order said...

In case you missed it, here's a link to a video intervie with Rene Balcer where he talks about LOLA and gives some information about the "on location" issues between L&O and LOLA:

Anonymous said...

AllThings - thanks for the RB clip.

"Raymond Chandler," huh? So far it's more "Plastic People of the Universe" (a Czech dissident rock band from the bad old days).

If they want a city to do film noir in, Detroit would seem to be a better place.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I happen to like the show, I think it's done okay for the first few episodes, and its very early to judge the show. Let's be honest, SVU started out horrible, with no chemistry and losing two characters. I think that we need to give the show more of a chance.

And, for the record, they should get rid of Terrance Howard, and give the women more character. Terrence Howard annoys me as the DDA. He's beginning to remind me of Sharon Stone as Jo Marlowe. I'm not digging it. Replace Howard with someone better.

Anonymous said...

I really find LOLA to be awful, but for some reason I watch it. Mostly because I am addicted to television. NBC should bring back Law and Order for a finale it deserves. LOLA just makes me not want to watch any other Law and Order shows. Bad characters, bad city, bad show.

Anonymous said...

just a comment - i wonder how many people here complaining about the locations of filming are from LA?

living in LA (and having now driven past two separate filming locations in Pasadena two weeks ago and in Echo Park a while back), I can assure you that they're filming more in LA than some of the other LA based shows on CBS, etc.

That being said, LA is iconic for a completely different visual than NYC, and it's frankly apples to oranges. As a city-dweller, I recognize parts of LA used in shows as other cities all the time, so what may look like any random city to one person is clearly Hollywood, Downtown LA, Santa Monica, Glendale, Burbank, Long Beach, Palos Verdes, etc. The challenge is LA is so spread out - it's not Manhattan, which much of LO was suggestively filmed in.

And let's also make mention that SVU even was, until this season, filmed in NJ for major portions, was it not?

Anonymous said...

SVU had their studios in New Jersey until recently, but the vast majority of their location shots were in New York City.

dannnflorek said...

there was an episode in season 3 of the mothyership called jurisdiction. at the time i wasnt paying enought attention but it had something to do with stone wanted to prosecute a near retarded person but there were some jurisdiction barriers. anyway LOLA so far just doesnt hold up. i'll still tune in weekly but i hope it makes a fast turnaround. in all fairness, it has significantly improved from its first 2 episodes but that doesnt say much seeing how bad those episodes were.

janethyland said...

Nice review here.

Television review: 'Law & Order: Los Angeles'
Chung-chung comes to Hollywood, the land of ka-ching.
September 29, 2010|By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic

Dick Wolf's crime-and-punishment drama "Law & Order" first ripped a story from a headline back in 1990, the year also of "Twin Peaks" and " Beverly Hills 90210"; of "Vogue" and "The Humpty Dance"; of "GoodFellas" and "Ghost." Nelson Mandela left prison, Germany reunified and the World Wide Web switched on. It has since become an institution — something a viewer might pass through, like high school or college, moving on as other generations move in. I watched it all the time, for a time, some time ago.

Although the original "L&O" was canceled this year — "Law & Order: Classic," as I think of it — various spinoffs spin on. The latest, "Law & Order: Los Angeles," premieres Wednesday on NBC, with last year's "Law & Order: UK" getting a delayed domestic debut Oct. 3 via BBC America. Every cop show applies a singular attitude to the same small pool of stories — that's how we tell them apart — but "Law & Order" brings something more: a mechanism, a method that kept the mother series intact through many changes of cast. (The cast, ultimately, mattered less than the method.) It's a lens, a frame, a template, a process that orders an almost ritual settling of accounts whose shorthand progress is marked by the march of title cards and the implacable chime of the signature chung-chung.

This is the first American "L&O" to be set outside of New York, and I think the choice is apt, for this is the city of Jack Webb's "Dragnet" — "transcribed from official police files" — in which series this franchise has spiritual and stylistic roots. (Indeed, Wolf produced a short-lived remake, "Dragnet L.A.," in 2003.) In "Dragnet," as in the first half of a "Law & Order" episode, a pair of stone-faced though highly ironic police detectives, trailing little or no back story, collect (just the) facts on their way to collaring a suspect — stopping now and again to remark ruefully on human folly, cite a statistic or make a speech.

There is little in the way of running or shooting, or even shouting. At the end, we learn how long the perp is going in for, "Law & Order" stretching what in "Dragnet" was a mere tag into its whole second half-hour, during which there will be more remarks, statistics and speeches.

The current series has fresh air to breathe and new names to drop — Chin Chin, Caltech, Hillcrest, the Edison — and apparently plans to make a meal out of Hollywood. But it hits the traditional notes square on, moving fast in brief scenes and bursts of exposition, and splitting the difference between melodrama and naturalism. The cast includes Alfred Molina and Terrence Howard as assistant district attorneys (hot and cool, respectively) and a very solid Skeet Ulrich, finding a perfect fit for his natural inwardness. Less is more here. To reject this show is to reject the very law and order of "Law & Order."

As ever, headlines will be ripped. First comes a case that mixes the celebrity-targeting Bling Ring with a mother-and-starlet story somewhat resembling that of Lindsay and Dina Lohan — though, also as ever, we are reminded first that what we're seeing is fiction. Next week's episode, the stronger of the two I've seen, joins memories of Charles Manson — old news, but still the local personification of bad vibes — to a story of possible police misconduct, confusing viewer sympathies and staying tense until the last chung-chung.

momandiluvbobby said...

i miss the original so much... the way they ended it was criminal. we, and the characters deserved a goodbye. dick wolf seems to be really good at destroying the wonderful shows he creates (see bobby and alex).