Once More with Conviction

conviction

It’s no secret that here at Oohlo Labs™ we love us some Hayley Atwell.

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Her antics on social media are the stuff of legend. The second season of Agent Carter was as charming as television gets. And, by all accounts, she is a brilliant woman who embraces her status as a role model for women of all ages, while still being a renowned lover of snacks.

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Really, what’s not to love?

Her new procedural on ABC, Conviction, which rose from the premature cancellation of Agent Carter, has split the team here.

Some of us believe that this new show is network-amalgamated claptrap that is below Hayley’s talents and we refuse to watch in order to play a part in its cancellation so Hayley can move on to resume her role as Peggy Carter or something that isn’t a cheesy procedural. Others of us feel that even a role unworthy of Hayley on our TV is better than no Hayley on our TV at all, so we’re willing to give Conviction a shot; you know, for science! I fall into the “for science!” camp, so, on Monday night after an evening of sportsball, I fired up the DVR to see what Conviction was all about. In the balance, the show is exactly what people feared it would be from the moment the series was announced, and reinforced by that trailer cut from the pilot episode – it’s a huge mess.

Don’t get me wrong; as “Hayes Morrison,” Hayley is as charming as ever (despite her squeaky American accent), but the rest of the show is … too much.

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The central conceit (revisiting cases to see if people have been wrongly convicted) is interesting, but a team getting only five days to review and reinvestigate what is, essentially, a cold case is a little incredible. Atwell’s character is this combination of Chelsea Clinton’s backstory (dad was president, mom is running for Senate), Lindsay Lohan’s social skills (booze and cocaine), and Amal Clooney’s career path (tops in her law school class and has an insane success rate for a defense attorney). You throw in whatever sexy past her character has with the D.A. and it all gets to be a bit silly.

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Her investigative team doesn’t escape unscathed, either. They were all slightly better than cardboard cutouts, though there was, at the very least, some potential with the team dynamic. In classic Conviction style, they were all given a Dark Secret in the last 90 seconds of the episode, because of course.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of fat to be trimmed from this series before it approaches anything resembling tight, coherent storytelling. There’s some potential in the core concept (minus the ridiculous deadline), but that’s going to take time that this show doesn’t look like it has. After lackluster debut ratings and plenty more “Hayley is great, but this show is rotten” reviews where this came from, Hayley Atwell might be back in the Peggy Carter business sooner rather than later.

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(Cindy: *insert certain other Oohlo Labs™ personnel cheering here*)

Craig Wack

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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  • Jelinas

    ZOIKS, what a mess. Atwell is FANTASTIC, though; her screen presence is incredible. Even the lackluster dialogue can’t dull her shine.

    Eddie Cahill has aged well. But I was kinda surprised to see that he has, indeed, aged. He looks older than Jennifer Aniston now.

    I like Merrin Dungey and was happy to see her getting work. I thought Emily Kinney was okay, too (I really did not care for Beth Greene on TWD). It’s really a shame that the writing on this show is so cheesy. I can’t say that it’s quite bad; that feels too harsh. But I did find myself rolling my eyes a lot. The most egregious example was that scene where Frankie Cruz (Manny Montana), the ex-con, blows up at Hayes for not taking the case personally enough. It felt forced. Unfortunately, Montana didn’t quite sell the scene — I could practically feel his embarrassment at having to deliver these lines. But I can’t say that I blame him.

    I probably won’t be sticking around for this one.

  • ChainedVase

    I realized yesterday that this was on and I briefly thought “Oh I should set the DVR” but then I just couldn’t. I loooove procedurals and I love Hayley, BUT. Out of respect for both, I cannot support this. I cannot.