Smith -- an early look
Regardless of how good Smith is - and I'll say right from the get go that it is good - the big question is, are viewers going to give yet another show about a bunch of clever crooks a chance, after shows like Heist, Thief and Hustle? I'm not convinced they will, but if they base it on quality and entertainment value, Smith should be given a chance.
The plot: Ray Liotta is a loving husband and father...when he's home, anyway. But he's often on the road,
selling plastic cups for the company he works for leading a gang of professional thieves as they pull off various robberies around the world. He wants to do just a few more jobs and then retire to a normal life. The first episode opens with an elaborate museum robbery and a shooting, and flashbacks reveal exactly how we got to this point.
The cast: Liotta comes off as a good lead, but he does something interesting with the character. He's not just the typical crook-with-a-heart-of-gold you'd see in a show like this, he's actually kind of a prick, especially in the way he treats his coworkers at the cup factory and the way he carries himself; Virginia Madsen is his wife, and she has a secret or two of her own, as we see later in the pilot; Simon Baker, who viewers might remember from The Guardian and L.A. Confidential, is the surfer assassin you really shouldn't cross; Amy Smart is the woman of the group, using her looks as well as her brain. The rest of the gang (Franky G and Jonny Lee Miller) bring their own personalities and quirks to the mix too.
One of the gang is shot in the pilot, but I won't tell you which one or what happens to him/her.
Thoughts: This is a slick show, with just enough cool camera angles and neat cinematography to add a lot of style to what's going on. Of course, we also get several pop songs on the soundtrack, like most shows today, but they aren't the annoying, well-known ones. They actually add something to the atmosphere the show is trying to set. And the use of flashbacks means we get to see what different things mean at different times, how something came to be, why someone was delayed, why someone was acting a certain way. That's clever stuff.
I was wondering where this show would go at the end of the pilot. Would we have stand alone episodes (like Hustle), or is there some bigger plot going on (like Heist)? It's more of the latter, as we see why Ray Liotta is doing what he's doing, how all of the gang are related to each other, who likes who, who dislikes who, who are "good" bad guys and who are the "bad" bad guys. But I can also see where each show would be enjoyable by someone who doesn't know the overall plot, because each episode and each heist can stand on their own and be enjoyable. I really hope that viewers (and CBS) give the show a chance.
Now, a question for those who have seen the pilot: the scene where they are all on the airplane and there is a slow, electronica-ish song playing (but with vocals). Who is singing that?
(Smith premieres Tuesday, September 19, at 10pm.)