Monday, December 19, 2016

I Watch TV: Private Eyes

(For this review I shall award a (+) for things I like and a (-) for things I don't. Some of these will be explained and some won't.)

Private Eyes(-*) is a Canadian TV Crime show(+) whose first season had ten episodes in 2016. Jason Priestley is a charming ex- Ice Hockey player called Matt Shade(-) nicknamed The Shadow(+) who gets caught up in a mystery while scouting for new players(+). After solving it with some help from a private detective his Dad knows he decides that the world of Ice Hockey is too dirty for him(+) and instead teams up to solve crimes with Angie Everett (Cindy Simpson) (+).

Shade lives with his Dad and also his daughter, who is blind. This dynamic should be familiar to viewers of Castle(+-**). His ex-wife makes her appearance about halfway through the run leading to possibly the funniest scene in which Shade accidentally finds himself roped in to auditioning for a TV show with her, Exes For Breakfast(+).

So if this is a Castle clone, what does it bring to the table to differentiate itself? Firstly, as a Canadian show it is set in Toronto, which is a nice change(+). Sadly other than the waterfront and shots of the CN tower there's little to differentiate it from other North American cities I'm unfamiliar with(-***). There are a few particularly Canadian touches; the first time Angie and Shade go on a stake out she has a sleeping bag to keep warm while he is inevitably cold. Each episode touches on a particular place, scene, or crime in Canada(+), sometimes with actual Toronto celebrities who I do not recognise at all. Many of these are sort of generic(-) others kind of interesting (I mean I didn't know Toronto has a hip-hop scene(+) but obviously it does, and now I do know).

As Private Eyes* they see a lot of different crimes(+) a lot of thefts and missing persons and so on(+) with of course the occasional murder(-****). They work sometimes with, and sometimes at odds with the police(+) who only have two detectives available, but this is Canada I suppose(+). Sadly they are not Mounties(-).

The starting theme tune is the Hall and Oates song Private Eyes(+) but it is a cover of some sort(-) but the end theme is different each episode, usually a good choice and relevant, so the first episode has the original Hall and Oates version(+).

Watch This: For a slightly quirky amusing crime show exploring the seamy underside of Toronto
Don't Watch This: If charming protagonists making light hearted fun about crime in a slightly formulaic manner is not your thing. Or you can't bring yourself to watch a show about private eyes called Private Eyes.
Final Score:
(+) 20 including 3 that were actually for Castle
(-) 11 with 3 of those for Castle.

* Ugh, title.
** Look, I liked Castle(+++). But the premise was dumb(-) and it went on to long (is it still going on? No, apparently it finished earlier this year. Ho hum) so it became formulaic(-) and the will-they-won't-they kept getting reset(-).
*** Full disclosure: I visited Toronto for about five days twenty five years ago.
**** Murder is of course the greatest crime (that you can make a serial show about) but also a specialised one that private investigators shouldn't get involved with. Of course both the police and (mostly) Angie agree with that principle, but they deal with it anyway(+) because television.

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