TV Review: Blue Bloods

TV Review: Blue Bloods

Blue BloodsRATING:  MDISTRIBUTOR: TenRELEASE DATE: Wednesdays, 8:30 PMBlue Bloods could stand as one of those dividing line between Australian and American culture. When the series premiered on CBS in the USA it blitzed the other channels with an audience of 12.7 million. However its performance on Australian television has been far more lack-lustre, dipping as low as 377,000 […]

By Mark HadleyMonday 21 Mar 2011TV and StreamingReading Time: 2 minutes

Blue Bloods
RATING:  M
DISTRIBUTOR: Ten
RELEASE DATE: Wednesdays, 8:30 PM

Blue Bloods could stand as one of those dividing line between Australian and American culture. When the series premiered on CBS in the USA it blitzed the other channels with an audience of 12.7 million. However its performance on Australian television has been far more lack-lustre, dipping as low as 377,000 in past weeks. It’s not just a proportionately bigger audience on the other side of the Pacific. Americans see something that is escaping Australian viewers.

Blue Bloods marks the return to the small screen for Tom Selleck, former star of the 70’s hit Magnum PI. Selleck is still working in the law enforcement arena though this time he is Francis “Frank” Reagan, New York’s Police Commissioner. His oldest son is a police detective; his youngest a rookie officer; his daughter an assistant to the D.A.. Even Reagan’s father is a ‘blue blood’ – a former police commissioner who hands out sage advice to the younger members of the family. Every part of the Reagan family ‘bleeds blue’.

You would think that this forced mixture of public and private lives would result in compelling drama. Unfortunately Blue Bloods seems to have passed over any original ideas in favour of picking through the cast-off scripts of Law & Order. The plots are predictable; the dialogue is tired. The Reagan family seems to be populated by cardboard cut-outs that have been wandering through cop dramas for decades. Even the background characters are clichéd with plenty of two-dimensional drug dealers, spoilt upper-east side kids and trench-coat wearing FBI agents to spare. If there is a distinct difference, though, it’s to be found in the religious make-up of the Reagan family.

The Irish-Catholic police officer is also no new find for American crime dramas. Blue Bloods, however, builds this background into a key plot device. The Reagans’ religion infiltrates every episode, from the grace they say together at the dinner table to the lines of inquiry they take in a murder investigation. But as prominent as their faith is, it colours more than controls their lives. Frank Reagan is on a first name basis with the local cardinal who offers to pray for him as he seeks to solve a particularly convoluted crime. The commissioner responds that he would welcome “any help he could get,” – and that is where God remains, an additional support for men whose first faith is in efforts and integrity of those who wear a badge. Maybe American audiences have more respect for Tom Sellick; maybe they attach more significance to religion as part of a normal family life. Either way, neither is seems to impress their Australian couch-cousins.