King & Maxwell: TV Review

King & Maxwell TNT TV Still - H 2013

King & Maxwell TNT TV Still - H 2013

TNT has a formula that it sticks with, but even this latest cookie to fall from the cutter may not have enough originality to keep an audience.

Jon Tenney and Rebecca Romijn star as two disgraced Secret Service agents who start their own private investigative firm.

Has anyone ever loved the ampersand more than TNT? Let’s see, Franklin & Bash. Rizzoli & Isles. And now King & Maxwell.

Even if that’s a little too Lame & Cutesy to be tolerated indefinitely, it’s doubtful TNT would change much right now because it has found a formula that works – witty banter, a bit of drama that doesn’t offend and tidy endings all around. That “blue sky” format also has done well for some other cable channels (USA especially), and until it fails, viewers are likely to get more of it. Which is to say, it’s still 1970s-era television on some of these cable channels.

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King & Maxwell (Mondays, 10 p.m., starting June 10) is about two disgraced Secret Service agents who start their own private investigation firm. Sean Maxwell (Jon Tenney) was on duty when a political candidate was assassinated (that’s all that’s said so far, but since the Secret Service only protects “major presidential and vice presidential candidates,” we’ll have to guess that he messed up pretty badly). Michelle Maxwell (Rebecca Romijn) had someone she was watching get kidnapped, and since that person also wasn’t the president, we’ll have to assume that major candidates for office no longer feel safe with the Secret Service.

Ah, but clinging to reality is really not what TNT and all its cheerful series traffic in. These shows are meant to entertain, not challenge, and so you would tune into King & Maxwell if you want to see Tenney play a forgetful charmer and Romijn play a babe who is also a badass.

Or, because it’s just too much fun to bypass, here are the character descriptions provided by TNT:

King: “A former Secret Service agent and attorney, Sean King is now a private investigator with his friend and partner, Michelle Maxwell. Armed with his charm and quick wit, Sean can talk himself out of almost any situation ... usually because he's forgotten his gun. And while they may differ in style and methodology, Sean is at his best when working together with Michelle.”

Maxwell: “Also an ex-Secret Service Agent, Michelle Maxwell is as dangerous as she is beautiful. While she may be a bit of a slob with an impulsive streak and a hair-trigger temper, she knows how to handle herself in a tight spot. Despite constantly clashing with Sean over just about everything from pop songs to dating habits, Michelle is the true yin to his yang.”

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Look, you’re free to watch even after reading that because if you stumble upon TNT, then you get the whole formula and no one needs to scold you for aiming low. At least the first few minutes of the pilot of this one is action packed, with a man in a beaver suit driving a stolen bus through Washington D.C. and slamming into cars. For a moment, it feels like a big screen action flick. Then the plot unfolds and it’s back to Familiarville.

In the pilot, it’s more of a complicated mess than is worth explaining, other than to say it’s dubious at best and involves high-ranking politicians, the biggest wall of TV monitors you’ll ever see and “an autistic savant” who is like a super computer wrapped in flesh.

If you go in for this soft-headed mush, usually it comes down to the leads. But unlike Rizzoli & Isles or even, gods forbid, Franklin & Bash, there doesn’t seem to be much chemistry between Tenney and Romijn. But it’s only the pilot, so maybe they’ll mesh and TNT will have another hit and then we’ll get the next Bland & Blander next season.


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