Wednesday, September 19, 2018

TV on DVD Review: Lethal Weapon - Season 2

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: A few episodes capture the first season charm
Cons: Very dark, too little chemistry between the leads, Murtaugh too stupid
The Bottom Line:
Major shift in tone
Took away first season fun
So disappointing

“What’s Wrong with Him?”  “Lack of Banter.”

I was surprised last year by just how much I enjoyed the first season of the TV show version of Lethal Weapon.  The characters and their relationships were wonderful, and the banter between the leads was great as well.  So imagine my disappointment when everything I loved about season 1 went away and we were left with a mess in season two.

The season opens with Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) in Mexico pursuing a lead in his quest to  get revenge on those who killed his wife and unborn son.  Before that is completely wrapped up, Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) goes down south to help him out.  But it isn't long before the two are back in Los Angeles where they continue to get assigned cases that seem to put them in danger.  Among their cases are a robbery at 20,000 feet, a dead body guard, and a jewelry heist.

But dealing with his wife's murder doesn't mean that Riggs has dealt with all of his past.  His father begins to harass him from prison in Texas, and some childhood friends come back into his life, complete with new baggage.  Meanwhile, in the present, Murtaugh must deal with his son going off to college and his wife, Trish (Keesha Sharp) beginning to think he is taking too many risks.

So what went wrong this season?  Multiple things.  First up is Riggs.  I get that he is a dark character with a dark past.  I've seen the movies.  However, they went really dark with his new backstory this year, and parts of that were a little on the disturbing side.  Honestly, it got too depressing.

But the show has some humor to balance things out, right?  Unfortunately, that fell flat this year.  The banter between Murtaugh and Riggs that I loved last season was much harder to find this season.  Riggs was mostly drama all the time, which was very hard to watch.  And Murtaugh?  He was much more comedic than last year, but on his own.  And how did they manage that?  They gave him sub-plots with his family that went something like this - Murtaugh overreacts to something, making a fool of himself in the process.  Eventually, he comes around to seeing things the way the rest of his family did all along.  In other words, his storylines became a Damon Wayans sitcom.  I never watched his sitcoms for a reason.  With a few exceptions, I don't like shows where the husband and father is constantly making an idiot of out himself week after week after week, which is exactly what we got here.  Even worse, this isn’t how the Murtaugh family was portrayed last year.  Last year, Murtaugh was a good family man more often than not, and he and Trish were a great team.

I'm sure part of this change was the well-publicized feud that started behind the scenes between the leads.  The writers, in an attempt to save the show, started coming up with ways to fill the show without the leads having to be on screen more often than they had to be.  But here's the thing, we tune in to watch the duo in action and their chemistry is one of the big reasons we enjoy it.  Take that away, and you take away much of the show's charm.

Honestly, it was only as I learned about what was happening behind the scenes that everything began to make sense.  I knew why I wasn't enjoying the show nearly as much as before this season, but it was only when I figured out why the writers had to change things so much that it truly made sense to me.  On screen, the actors are all doing a good job with their rolls, but the behind the scenes drama bleeds through again, helping to confirm my theory that when actors are enjoying their jobs, we all benefit.

And don't get me started on the end of the season.  SPOILERS FOR THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!  Since Clayne Crawford won't be back next season, based on the cliffhanger, I know how they are going to write him out, which makes me sad.  I would much prefer to see him get a happy ending.  Instead, what will happen when season 3 premiers will undo two years worth of growth for the character.

Now don't misunderstand, there were still a few enjoyable episodes this season.  Unfortunately, most of them were at the beginning of the season.  Still, the show did occasionally get the first season chemistry and make for a fun hour.  Those moments were just too few and far between.

I spent most of season two debating whether I would be back for season three of the show.  Honestly, I'm still debating just to see if the change they made would be enjoyable although it also goes completely against the Lethal Weapon franchise.  I'm leaning toward not watching since there is so much else on I want to try, and I just didn't enjoy this season that much.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your review. In my opinion, Clayne Crawford made Lethal Weapon, & I don't think season 3 will last very long. I really don't plan on watching, only if nothing else is on against it. Probably go back to NCIS.