January 17, 2016

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Angie Tribeca”


ANGIE TRIBECA:  Monday 9PM on TBS (“binge-a-thon” airs through 7PM January 18) – If Nothing Else Is On…

We’ve seen plenty of attempts by networks to “break through the clutter” for their new shows in this era of non-stop premieres, from re-running the pilot in several timeslots to simulcasting episodes on affiliated networks to making episodes available in advance via VOD and streaming.  TBS brings stunting to a new extreme, though, with its launch of ANGIE TRIBECA in a “binge-a-thon” that airs the 10-episodes of its first season over and over for 25 hours straight, interspersed with comedy segments and interviews, and with all the episodes commercial-free (although ads do air between episodes, and one assumes the jokey product placement chyrons during episodes are paid for).  Will this extravaganza create more of an audience for the show’s actual run that begins a week after the marathon ends, or exhaust its appeal?  We’ll find out next week.

Angie Tribeca itself is a harmless piece of silliness created by Steve and Nancy Carell (apart from co-writing the pilot, he directed it, and she has a recurring role as the Mayor’s wife).  It’s meant to be a 2016 version of the late great Police Squad!, a rat-a-tat array of verbal and sight gags within the format of a cop sit-com.  Rashida Jones is the tough-as-nails Angie, and her squad includes Hayes MacArthur as her new partner Jay Geils (get it?), Jere Burns as their Lieutenant, Deon Cole (recently of Black-ish) as Detective DJ Tanner (he has a canine partner), and Andree Vermeulen as the ME.  There are also plenty of guest stars, with Lisa Kudrow, Alfred Molina and Gary Cole among those who show up in the pilot.

The result of all this is likable and amusing at times, just not the clutch-at-your-sides laugh riot it wants to be.  Jones’ comic sensibility is too subtle for her to be the show’s Leslie Nielsen; it’s understandable that she had a hankering to be the front and center source of comedy after years as Parks & Recreation‘s straight woman, but that show had a better sense of how to use her.  A jokebook like this needs an out-and-out clown as its lead, and that’s not Jones, as game as she is here.  She would have been better off in a series like Brooklyn NIne-NIne, which has plenty of wackiness but also some underpinnings of characterization.  The pacing, while certainly not slow, also doesn’t have the blistering speed material like this requires, and works in fits and starts, which in the pilot includes a slapstick parkour chase and a bit where the Mayor’s wife offers Angie an increasingly unlikely procession of refreshments during an interview.

Angie Tribeca was designed to air with TBS’s hit reruns of The Big Bang Theory, and it’s already been renewed for another cycle of episodes, so the effect of the on-air binge won’t determine its fate.  At some point, though, it’s going to need to unlock some inner madness if it’s going to provide the level of hilarity it’s after.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."