The Brief: Four new graduates join a prestigious law firm, basically it’s Grey’s Anatomy with lawyers.
Everything’s trying to be the next Grey’s Anatomy and the more of these shows that come along, the more I realise just how special Grey’s is, because those that try to emulate it are failing miserably.
Problem number one with The Deep End – it’s about lawyers and making lawyers sympathetic characters is going to be an uphill struggle. The ‘grown ups’ are all partners with expensive cars, designer suits and egos the size of their massive corner offices. The youngsters meanwhile seem to spend the whole episode whining about how no one takes them seriously and how hard they have to work. They whine while they sit around the office eating cupcakes, they whine while they have sex with each other, and they whine while they’re downing shots at an expensive looking wine bar (it has a pool in the middle of it). Poor little dears.
The characters all at first glance appear to be completely useless as functioning members of society. By half way through I wanted to slap each and every one of them. A few of them managed to rally by the end of the episode, but this only really brought them to the level of “allowed to survive”, they’re still quite a way off from likeable and sympathetic. They’re all either obnoxious and arrogant, or wet and put-upon and none of them manage to be particularly funny while doing it.
That I think is where Grey’s was remarkable, all those adjectives could equally be applied to their characters, yet somehow you care about them anyway. In fact some of the characters are almost direct steals. Addy (played by the wasted Tina Majorino of Veronica Mars and Waterworld fame) is George the kicked puppy, Dylan has Izzie’s enthusiasm, Liam has Karev’s shamelessness, and Beth has Meredith’s family connections combined with Christina’s confidence. There’s even a character referred to as The Prince of Darkness to parallel Bailey’s Nazi nickname, although he’s more like Burke in his drive and ambition. It’s like they just dissected Grey’s Anatomy and turned it into Frankenstein’s monster.
In addition to the irritating characters the plot threads were nothing to write home about. The pro-bono ‘do good’ case of the week was all over the shop with sudden reveals of utterly random new facts and twists. The moral dilemma case had the potential to be interesting, but was rushed and pushed aside and the other case was just a ridiculous construct to try to show what a character was about. Like with Grey’s the cases are just going to be the enablers of character development, but the cases and guest actors still need to be interesting and real.
This show just doesn’t have the quality of writers that Grey’s has. It doesn’t have the pace and the snap, the ability (or even the potential) to have me crying and laughing at the same time. It’s as if they wrote it on a formula that by the end of the pilot they wanted to have a love triangle, a power struggle, a moral dilemma, an empowering speech and a bonding moment. There’s no life in the direction or writing, the music didn’t do anything for me and I’ve seen the glitzy LA scenery thousands of times before. It’s probably not fair that just because the show is about the lives of young professionals I immediately judge it against Grey’s Anatomy, but life (and network television) isn’t fair and I won’t be tuning in for episode two.