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Hercules Bites Into FX’s Latest Hourlong: TERRIERS, From The Creators Of OCEAN'S ELEVEN, THE SHIELD, ANGEL And DRIVE!!

I am – Hercules!!
A new FX dramedy created by Ted Griffin (“Ocean’s Eleven,” “Matchstick Men,” “Rumor Has It”), “Terriers” follows an ex-cop and an ex-thief who now make their livings together as unlicensed San Diego private investigators. Other writer-producers involved with the project include “Angel” vets Shawn Ryan (“Nash Bridges,” “The Shield,” “The Unit,” “Lie To Me”) and Tim Minear (“X-Files,” “Firefly,” “Drive,” “Dollhouse”) as well as Phoef Sutton (“Cheers,” “NewsRadio,” “Boston Legal”) and Jed Seidel (“Dawson’s Creek,” “Veronica Mars,” “Gilmore Girls”). It stars Donal Logue (“Grounded For Life,” “Zodiac,” “The Knights of Prosperity,” “Life”), Michael Raymond-James (“True Blood”), Kimberly Quinn (“House,” “Two and a Half Men”), Laura Allen (“The 4400,” “Dirt”), Jamie Denbo (“Weeds,” “Brothers,” “The Life and Times of Tim”) and Rockmond Dunbar (“Prison Break”). Mostly “Terriers” makes me miss “Veronica Mars,” which was darker and funnier and also dealt with low-rent private investigators in a sunny hunk of Southern California dominated by sinister local businessmen with abundant cash reserves. The first two “Terriers” episodes feel like dumbed-down “Chinatown,” but the series improves considerably with episodes three through five. And while the original “Terriers” theme song is not as good as the one for “Mars,” I will say it’s kinda catchy! The always-endearing Logue (remember when he played greasy Jimmy the cabdriver in those MTV promos a million years ago?) looks to be half the man he was when he starred in “The Tao of Steve.” He exudes a Lebowski-ish vibe throughout. For those with commitment issues, I predict FX will keep this on for eight years. FX (like USA) doesn’t cancel anything not called “Damages.” (And, for the record, I am in no way peeved about the cancellation of the excellent but super-low-rated “Damages”; it has migrated to DirecTV 101, where we can now hear Ellen Parsons call Patty Hewes “cunt” to her heart’s delight.) If you find yourself embracing tonight’s “Terriers” pilot, let me point you also toward Ivan Passer’s outstanding 1981 Jeff Bridges thriller “Cutter’s Way,” a project “Terriers” reminds me of. USA Today says:
… nowhere near the top of the big-dog pecking order. It's unlikely to topple Mad Men from its Emmy perch or American Idol from the ratings peak. It can't match HBO's upcoming Boardwalk Empire's budget or any network premiere's publicity push. Yet when it comes to scrappy, scruffy charm and sheer entertainment value, Terriers can run with the best of them. You just have to give it a few weeks to prove itself — because like many cable series, it's a bit of a slow build. …
The New York Times says:
… has a genetic disposition at once vaguely melancholy and eccentrically sprightly, but the good mood always seems to prevail. This is a welcome love child, one we are eager to embrace rather than put up for adoption. …
The Los Angeles Times says:
… a wonderfully well-conceived, well-made and well-played series about a pair of soft-boiled downmarket private detectives in over their heads in San Diego. In a fall season overly populated with cops and criminals, there may be more stylish or quirky or elaborately premised series coming your way, straining to cut an edge or push an envelope. But "Terriers," whose virtues are more traditional, is to my taste easily the best of them, and one of the brightest lights in the whole freshman class. …
The San Francisco Chronicle says:
… only a little bit dark, a whole bunch of intriguing and plenty funny. It even - gasp - seems familiar in a breezy, light, buddy film kind of way. … Griffin has a knack for smart and snappy dialogue and knows how to craft a complicated mystery. …
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… feels like another step outside the network's comfort zone, albeit one that may prove a more comfortable fit with some viewers weary of dark-themed shows. …
AOL TV says:
… the late, lamented 'Veronica Mars' had a high school detective exposing the ugly side of the oceanside paradise. The diverting and enjoyable 'Terriers' occupies a different stylistic territory, but there's a noir strain underneath its shaggy exterior. As the best detective stories do, it features a smart, flawed lead character who is too stubborn and inquisitive for his own good. …
HitFix says:
… terrific … much of what makes “Terriers” appealing is that bond between Hank and Britt, and the fantastic on-screen chemistry between Logue and Raymond-James …
The Washington Post says:
… At long last, I have a favorite crime show, sort of: "Terriers," a funny and gripping new dramedy …
The Boston Herald says:
… bears the stink of a series conceived by two buddies on a bender and rushed into production the next day. The premise is nonsensical, the characters little more substantial than fog and the central seasonlong mystery is less a whodunit and more a why-bother. … In the first two episodes, there are moments when almost everybody on camera comes off as if they’re waiting for something better to do. The title, one could guess, might be a reference to the pugnaciousness of the investigators, their sheer doggedness in tracking down felons and solving cases. That never comes across onscreen. … the kind of mutt that needs to be put down.
The Boston Globe says:
… Like its lead actors, Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James (Rene on “True Blood’’), this comic drama is scruffy, unconventional, and irresistible. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… The writing is generally witty, the tone light, the tempo satisfying, the sense of place -- palm-reading shops, dead-end bars, beach-town slackers -- well drawn. … Like the Elmore Leonard-inspired Kentucky noir of FX's "Justified," this is a cops-and-robbers show that's pleasing, driven by casting and good writing that will satisfy fans of the form without giving the team behind "The Wire" much to worry about. …
Variety says:
… Terriers" is an odd duck, in (mostly) a good way. On its face, there's nothing remotely new about the show -- a buddy dramedy about small-time detectives scrounging for work, one an ex-cop with an ex-wife and past booze problem. The tone, however, is reminiscent of an independent film, dragging those with enough patience through nuanced little twists and turns. While FX ought to have a hard time selling a concept this low -- one can envision network notes pleading "Raise the stakes!" -- the series proves aptly named, inasmuch as there's a surprising amount of fight in this underdog. … In a TV crime universe that's fond of neatness and morals couched in black and white, credit FX with gambling on a show that's messy, melancholy and gray -- a bit of a mutt, perhaps, but based on the five previewed hours, far from a dog.
10 p.m. Wednesday. FX.
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