If there’s one new show you can take off your watch list, it’s NBC’s new series “The Mysteries of Laura.”
The first reviews for Debra Messing’s (“Will & Grace”) return to TV are back, and critics say it’s among the worst new shows the fall is offering.
“The Mysteries of Laura,” premiering Wed., Sept. 24 at 9 p.m., follows Messing as she tries to juggle life as both a homicide detective and a mother of two twin boys.
NBC suggests the show is a hilariously authentic look at what it really means to be a ‘working mum’ today.”
Critics aren’t in agreement.
Newsday’s Verne Gay gives the pilot a C+ saying the show has no idea what it wants to be.
“This jarring, discordant opener (comedy? cop procedural? mystery thriller? who knows?) features a grating Columbo wannabe with an obnoxious ex, and a deplorable brood, yet insists that we find the inherent charm in each of them. This series, which blends and bends genres, tries to balance sketchy character development with a sketchy tone, then ends with a payoff that’s rushed and implausible.”
Vulture’s Margaret Lyons comes out and says it in her headline: “‘Mysteries of Laura’ is a Bad Show. It’s a Bad, Bad Show.“
“Good lord, does the show fail in its execution. The mystery is bad, the police work is bad, the home-life stories are bad, everything is bad. This is a bad, bad show.”
“Laura’s main character trait is that she’s frazzled, and that’s not really enough to hang a show on; wearing Spanx and having a messy car does not a full character make. She keeps momming things up at work, accidentally leaving juice boxes around the precinct and all! Classic mum. Aren’t mums always just momming everything with their momness? I’m like, Mum!”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman is particularly brutal.
“In this case, nobody had the guts to say, ‘This is a terrible script. It should be completely rewritten by someone who can write.’ Nor did they say, later, ‘We just pissed away millions of dollars on this crappy pilot. Can we just agree that we’ve made a horrible mistake, not pick this up and pretend it never happened?’ Instead, everybody must have ignored the striking warning signs and said nothing when given the chance. Who knows anymore. Maybe a pig stood on a buzzer at some audience testing facility, and here we are.”
Time’s James Poniewozik puts it pretty bluntly.
“You can be a terrible cop show and a terrible parenting show. You can be a ridiculous drama and an unfunny comedy. You can try to glom on to the legitimate problems of working mothers yet insult them, and your audience in general, in the process. NBC only sent the pilot episode of Mysteries for review, and that’s usually not enough basis to write off a show completely — if the problems are on the level of writing, plot and execution. So to be generous, the pilot of Mysteries is bad in ordinary ways that might eventually be fixed by better scripts.”
Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall can’t figure out why this show made it to air unless NBC is doing Messing a favour.
“The Mysteries of Laura” is trying to be big and comic and goofy even as it’s trying to sell its heroine as both a badass cop (the opening scene involves her shooting to wound a hostage-taker after he taunts her by saying, “Bite me, b—-!”) and a caring mum. Nothing flows together, the main character is abrasive, the suspects are all caricatures, the frequent plugs for a certain big box store are clumsy even by the standards of modern product integration and nothing in it works.
A bigger mystery than ‘How can a woman be a cop and a mum?’ is why in the world NBC picked up this show.”
Variety’s Brian Lowry doesn’t see a reason for viewers to stick around:
“While it’s really no mystery why the network chose to gamble on ‘Laura,’ the riddle that goes unsolved is why anybody who watches the first hour should be inspired to return for another.”
The New York Times’ Neil Genzlinger is a bit more forgiving:
“The premiere doesn’t always get the balance right — the crime of the week is bland, and a lot of the “cute” comes off as trying too hard — but a few savvy scenes suggest there’s potential for improvement.”
“The ingredients here need time to jell, and the writing needs to move beyond generic glop and take advantage of Ms. Messing’s full range of talents.”
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