Photo Credit : CBS
Film directors have been moonlighting in television for awhile, but the last few years have seen a dramatic increase in the number and prestige of directors who are involving themselves with new or ongoing television series.
By : SHAWNA BENSON
Film directors have been moonlighting in television for awhile, but the last few years have seen a dramatic increase in the number and prestige of directors who are involving themselves with new or ongoing television series. Within the last year, directors such as Martin Scorsese and Mark Romanek, have shot episodes for “Boardwalk Empire” and for “Locke & Key” (currently being considered for the fall season at Fox). McG has been producing in television for awhile, and has arguably has a better reputation on the small screen than he has with feature films. It’s no surprise then that other directors who see the promise of big money, ongoing producer credits and the ability to set the tone and pace for a show by directing the first episode, have come flocking to TV in recent years. Brett Ratner, who first involved himself with television in 2005 with the series “Prison Break,” is back with a new series on CBS, “Chaos”.
Photo Credit : CBS
There are two things you need to know about “Chaos;” one, the show is on CBS, and two… the show is on CBS. “CHAOS” (named for a division of the CIA which stands for Clandestine Administration and Oversight Services) attempts to break out of the typical CBS show mold by introducing more humor into the story, though it still feels like a CBS show as the team deals with the crisis of the week (in the first episode, there is a hostage in Afghanistan the team needs to rescue). Rick Martinez (Freddy Rodriguez, “Ugly Betty”) arrives at the CIA on his first day of work and is assigned to CHAOS as a mole for Deputy Director Higgins (Kurtwood Smith, “That 70’s Show.”) The team is comprised of agency misfits and miscreants who have come under scrutiny by the Director for their frequent disregard of the agency’s rules, not to mention international protocols.
The premise of the show takes awhile to set up and honestly, they go through it pretty quickly so as to get to the team and their mission. The team is led by Michael Dorset (Eric Close, “Without a Trace”) who has more than a healthy dose of paranoia. Scottish-born Billy Collins (James Murray, “Primeval”) formerly of the British Secret Service (since deported) and Casey Malick (Tim Blake Nelson, “Syriana”) a quiet, unassuming 12-year veteran of the CIA serve on the team with Rick, who is expected to report on their activities to the Director without their knowledge. Rounding out the cast is Adele Ferrer (Christina Cole, “Cane”) Higgins’ right hand woman and Fay Carson (Carmen Ejogo, “Boycott”) possibly the only person, including his teammates, whom he can trust.
The premiere episode swings between over-explanatory, to make sure the audience understands what is going on (I guess the CBS audience needs a lot of hand holding) to rushed and shortchanged, as the crisis is wrapped up in a box from Tiffany’s and topped with a bow. CHAOS is modeled on The A-Team but with less personality and more homogeneity. The typical CBS viewer will probably respond positively to the show, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Storywise, it doesn’t swing for the fences so much as bunt and roll into the infield, which will probably suffice for some people. The chemistry of the actors will likely pay off in future episodes as the humorous tone of the show emerges. As a Friday night show, there’s little risk for CBS with a show like CHAOS, and while there’s not a lot about it to recommend, it could very well hit with the target audience and succeed. If it does, the show will need to step up to the plate and deliver better stories if they want to attract a following and critical praise.
“Chaos” premieres on CBS on Friday April 1st at 8 PM ET/PT.