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'Lethal Weapon' Is a Bad Show That's Very Fun to Watch

By Dustin Rowles | TV | December 8, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | December 8, 2016 |

I don’t remember who among you is responsible for this, but in the comments section here and over on the Pajiba Facebook group, people keep mentioning the new Lethal Weapon series on Fox. When it was released, I didn’t give it a thought. It sounds like a terrible idea.

And it is! However, Clayne Crawford’s performance on this season of Rectify combined with recommendations from our readers compelled me to put aside the last two episodes of Gilmore Girls (again) and check out the pilot. I’m seven episodes deep now, and I’m really bummed that I’m about to run into the show’s winter hiatus.

Lethal Weapon is … Lethal Weapon, only there’s no Joe Pesci character (yet), and Mel Gibson has been upgraded to Clayne Crawford and Danny Glover has had a serious downgrade to Damon Wayans.

Fun Fact: Danny Glover (41) was 15 years younger than Damon Wayans (56) is now when he first uttered the line, “I’m too old for this sh*t.”

The series is a procedural, and like any procedural, it relies on the chemistry of the two leads. Crawford is honestly outstanding as Martin Riggs. He’s funny, and personable, and at times suicidal, but Crawford sells the poignant moments. The series is colored by the sudden death of Riggs’ pregnant wife, who is seen in flashbacks in most every episode. The pilot is particularly good, and watching Riggs continue to wrestle with his grief gives the series a heavy dose of pathos.

Wayans’ Roger Murtaugh is far less impressive. He doesn’t have the gravitas of Glover, and because of the way his character’s stories are written — he’s usually dealing with a personal matter within his family — it often feels like he’s coming off the set of a bad family sitcom. But even that works sideways to add a level of comfort to a procedural that otherwise devotes each week to tracking down a grisly murderer.

There’s a big, cheap action sequence in every episode where you can almost see Crawford leaping away from a green screen, and not a week goes by when Riggs and Murtaugh aren’t causing millions of dollars in destruction to the city, but that’s part of the show’s charm. Jordana Brewster plays the police department’s shrink and probable love interest for Riggs, while Mad Men’s Kevin Rahm plays the naysaying captain.

From any objective standpoint, Lethal Weapon is not a good show, but there’s something about it that hits the exact right spot. It’s a funny, quick-paced cop show that has an energy similar to the first couple of seasons of Castle, before it got bogged down in the series-long arc and the will-they/won’t-they of Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic’s characters. There’s no such impediments to Lethal Weapon (at least not yet), and while I would hardly qualify it as must-see television, it gets the job done while you’re making dinner or folding laundry.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.