Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Flipping Channels: The Killing Returns from the Dead

Posted by on Wed, May 29, 2013 at 5:33 AM

Seldom has any television show angered its audience more than AMC's The Killing did a couple of years ago by not revealing the murderer's identity in its season finale. Veena Sud, in conjunction with Fox Television Studios and Fuse Entertainment, had up to that point done a mostly solid job of adapting the show from the Danish TV series Forbrydelsen (The Crime).

But after audiences faithfully watched the investigation by Seattle homicide detectives Sarah Linden (Mirelle Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) into the murder of Rosie Larson for 13 episodes, there was an uproar that resonated online for days when the finale did not provide definitive answers regarding either the murderer or reasons for the crime.

The show never regained its momentum in the second season, despite finally revealing the desired solutions. AMC acknowledged the PR fiasco by ultimately canceling the show following its second year. But things changed after Fox Television Studios approached both Direct TV and Netflix about reviving the program.

Eventually AMC decided to resurrect it, and a third season of The Killing returns 8 p.m. Sunday for another 12-episode run with some significant changes. The biggest involves Linden, who has resigned from the police force and tried to put that life behind her. Her former partner Holden is heading a search for a runaway girl, but then stumbles into a series of murders that are somehow connected to a previous investigation headed by Linden.

While Linden has zero desire to be a detective again, she reluctantly agrees to help Holden, mainly because she's also curious about aspects of the case. She soon finds herself right back in another controversial high-profile investigation — and at odds again with Holden.

Before the initial season's disastrous finale, The Killing had been AMC's second most popular show, but the bottom fell out in season two. Whether this new run can restore the program's popularity will determine if AMC has rescued a once-popular hit, or permanently damaged what could have been a consistent programming asset.

A&E staples return
Neither of A&E's crime shows The Glades or Longmire is innovative or exceptional. But both have proved to be solid entries, thanks mainly to strong ensemble chemistry plus lead actors able to transcend their formulaic settings. If you missed the season premieres Monday night, you can catch up with them back to back this Sunday morning starting at 8 a.m.

The Glades kicks off its fourth year begins with a tale about a so-called "haunted" plantation house where a murder has been committed. Transplanted Chicago detective Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) has gotten pretty used to his Florida environment after three years, but there remain some aspects he'd rather avoid, ghosts being one of them.

In its first season The Glades broke A&E's record for most-watched original drama with 3.6 million viewers for its debut episode. It has steadily grown into a consistent winner. An element that has been part of its success is the relationship between Longworth and Callie Cargill (Kiele Sanchez), which has evolved despite sizable obstacles. These have included Cargill's jailed husband, her desire to have a medical career, and her subsequent relocation. Their future will be one of the questions answered this season.

Longmire is based on author Craig Johnson's popular Walt Longmire novels. It stars Robert Taylor as the title character, who's been sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming for many years. Trying to lose himself in his work following the death of his wife, Longmire also faced internal tension in the first season, with his deputy Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) opposing him in his re-election campaign at the behest of his father Barlow (Gerald McRaney).

There were also the constant suspicions of deputy Victoria Moretti's (Katee Sackhoff) husband that she was having an affair with her boss. Plus Longmire had to deal with his daughter Cady (Cassidy Freenan), who insisted he's working too hard and refusing to deal with his grief.

The opening episode of the second season sees Longmire heading into the mountains after a gang of escaped convicts — a vicious crew that includes a serial killer. But he soon finds himself in as much trouble due to the elements as his quarry.

Longmire was the summer's top-rated original drama on cable last year. The scenic splendor (it's filmed in New Mexico despite the supposed Wyoming locale) has certainly helped, as well as the fact it has attracted a large number of Johnson's readers. The show isn't nearly as vivid or exciting as Johnson's books, but it's a decent way to spend an hour.

John Schneider goes to OWN
John Schneider's certainly picked an unusual TV locale for his latest project. He's the villain in the new show Tyler Perry's The Haves and The Have Nots, which shows 8 p.m. Tuesdays on OWN. (The first episode reruns tonight at 9.) This is the first show developed via the partnership between Perry and Oprah Winfrey's OWN network.

Schneider's character is a judge willing to do anything in his pursuit of Georgia's governorship. He's an adulterer and the ultimate immoral politician with only one redeeming quality: he loves his daughter Amanda (Jaclyn Betham). But she'll soon discover just how low her father can sink, though she's unaware her current roommate is also both a call girl and her father's latest escort (Tika Sumpter).

If you've ever seen a Perry film or TV project, you know what's coming here. The far more interesting question will be if this show can be the huge hit OWN's been seeking ever since it debuted.

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