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Does Herc Take A Shovel To Fox’s New Greg Kinnear Dramedy RAKE??

Published at: Jan. 23, 2014, 4:53 p.m. CST by hercules

I am – Hercules!!

A new Fox dramedy about a debt-riddled criminal defense lawyer from writer-producer Peter Tolan (“Rescue Me”) and director Sam Raimi (“Oz The Great And Powerful”), “Rake” is based on an Australian series created by screenwriter Peter Duncan (“Children of the Revolution,” “Unfinished Sky”) and stars Greg Kinnear (“Baby Mama,” “Anchorman 2”), Miranda Otto (“I, Frankenstein”), John Ortiz (“Luck”) and Tara Summers (“Boston Legal”).

Given the talent behind the series (Tolan wrote the pilot and 23 other episodes of HBO’s incomparable “The Larry Sanders Show”), I was prepared to love it, but I didn’t even like its first episode as much as I enjoyed the pilots for flawed-hero dramedies “Bones,” “House” or “The Finder.” (Some say the original “Rake” pilot, which will air as the fourth episode, turned out better.)

Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall compares the first episode of “Rake” to the kind of series you’d find on USA and TNT, and I think that’s a fair comparison. If you like the ever-so-slightly quirky procedurals that routinely grace those channels, I believe there’s an excellent chance “Rake” will appeal.

Hitfix says:

... if it wants to be a show you fold laundry to, like the bulk of what USA and TNT program these days — then that's no sin. …

HuffPost TV says:

... At times, "Rake" seems to be running from the fact that it is, actually, a law procedural. It works hard to cover that up with other bits of business, but why not just make the central case really interesting? Instead, we're treated to a lot of gags involving a fish and one more serial killer narrative in a TV scene that reached peak capacity in that arena some time ago. Perhaps the law stuff doesn't seem all that fresh because "Rake" is more interested in being a character study. Fair enough, but that aspect of the show features another set of tropes that have been nearly exhausted in the last decade and a half. … …

The New York Times says:

... a clever look at just how stupidly even smart people behave. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

... promises to be this year's midseason breakout. Not since "The Rockford Files" has a character so delightfully swung between self-defeating defects and accidental heroism. …

The Chicago Sun-Times says:

... a fun, entertaining spin on the legal procedural and an ideal showcase for Kinnear’s rakish charm. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... Kinnear is great in the role because he doesn’t look like a loser — quite the opposite--and that’s important…

The Washington Post says:

... easily one of the more confident network dramas to come our way of late. It’s a procedural (in an episode shared with critics last year, Kinnear’s character — Keegan Deane — defends a cannibal against murder charges), but it’s just un­or­tho­dox enough to make me eager to see more. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... as Fox shows go, "Rake" is not all that edgy or innovative. … if "House" is the model, "Rake" is a somewhat stale successor. …

The Boston Herald says:

... seems to suggest the character darkness found in such cable hits as “Breaking Bad,” but it pulls its punches too often and opts for the co¬medic tap on the shoulder. … There might be a good drama in “Rake,” but right now the jury is still out.

The Boston Globe says:

... The degree to which viewers will enjoy the new Fox series “Rake,” will depend on how high their threshold is for watching a charismatic, talented person repeatedly sabotage himself while trying the patience of those around him. …

USA Today says:

... whatever made this character work in Australia has been lost. Shifted to a new hemisphere, he feels less like a person than a grab-bag collection of problems and quirks, with his flaws and skills equally exaggerated beyond tolerance. …

Variety says:

... Although TV has no shortage of roguish ne’er-do-wells, they are seldom as entertaining — at least initially — as the protagonist in “Rake,” a lawyer/womanizer/compulsive gambler whose life is a runaway train wreck occasionally interrupted by high-profile, slightly bizarre cases. Alas, the quirky legal shenanigans that give the series, presumably, its procedural foundation are also the least interesting aspect of the show, which features Greg Kinnear’s comic abilities with a tone that perhaps most closely resembles CBS’ “The Good Wife.” …

9 p.m. Thursday. Fox.

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