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NBC’s Implausible “Deception” Fails to Impress

 

Whodunnit? Who cares?

That’s my take on NBC’s newest drama, “Deception,” which premieres at 10 tonight on Channel 2 and is unlikely to capture anywhere near the same size audience as “Revolution” did in the same time slot this fall.

How implausible is “Deception”? It makes most of the more absurd plot lines in “Revolution” seem to be as reasonable as why the Bills fired Coach Chan Gailey.

Meagan Good

Meagan Good

I almost fell off my chair Saturday when I watched a NBC promo for “Deception” during the NFL playoffs in which the Wall Street Journal called it “addictive” and another booster referred to it as a “guilty pleasure.”

The only thing addictive about this implausible, predictable and copycat series (see “Revenge,” “Dirty Sexy Money”) produced by two people who used to run the entertainment divisions of opposing networks (Fox’s Gail Berman, ABC’s Lloyd Braun) is that the family involved in it owns a drug company and its members use illegal drugs.

Here’s the setup of a series loaded with flashbacks that supposedly help explain things: Victor Garber, who is America’s version of Hugh Bonneville of “Downton Abbey” fame, is Robert Bowers, the head of the drug company dynasty. His latest wonder drug to cure cancer – invented by his bad boy son Julian (Wes Brown) — may actually kill people in Thailand but he still is looking for FDA approval.

Robert’s party girl daughter, Vivien, may have learned about the side effects before she died of a drug overdose that increasingly looks like murder.

Vivien’s best friend from 17 years ago, Joanna Padget Locasto  (Meagan Good, famous for an  airplane scene in the fifth season of Showtime’s “Californication”), is now a policewoman. She arrives at the funeral and somehow weaves her way into the Bowers “Downton Abbey”-like house so she can go undercover and solve the crime for her former boyfriend with the FBI, Will Moreno (Laz Alonso of “Avatar”).

If you think that Joanna’s sudden interest in the Bowers family and patriarch Robert Bowers’ blind acceptance of her suspicious story about her past is a bad idea, you’re not alone. Robert’s oldest son Eddie (Tate Donovan), who once upon a time was accused of murder, doesn’t like it, either. But Julian loves the idea since he also loved Joanna – or at least had sex with her – back in the day. Meanwhile, just about everyone who works for the Bowers warns Joanna that it would wise to get lost.

Oh, did I mention that Eddie’s marriage seems to be falling apart and Robert and his wife aren’t exactly the perfect couple?

I love a whodunit as much as anyone. And I generally enjoy shows that poke fun at the rich, whether they are set in England or in America. Hollywood writers, after all, give it to the rich more than President Obama does.

But practically every scene and character motivation in “Deception” in the first three episodes is so implausible and inconsistent that the series doesn’t even make it to the level of a minor guilty pleasure even after adding an odd character played by John Larroquette in the third episode.

My advice to you is the same as the advice that all of the people warning Joanna about the Bowers family: Get lost as fast as you can.

Rating: 1 and a half stars out of 4

The recent death of Jean Harris has caused HBO to reprise “Mrs. Harris,” the film in which Annette Bening starred as the woman who killed the author of the Scarsdale diet, Dr. Herman Tarnower. Ben Kingsley played the doctor. The 2006 movie airs at 7:15 tonight on HBO, at 10 p.m. Tuesday on HBO2 and at 11 p.m. Wednesday on HBO signature.

The pay-cable channel Starz announced during the television press tour in California over the weekend that it is producing a new pirate adventure series, “Black Sails,” set 20 years before Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.” Michael Bay of “Transformers” and “Armageddon” fame, is one of the executive producers of the series, which will arrive next year.

Starz’s next original series, “DaVinci’s Demons,” created by David S. Goyer (co-writer of “The Dark Knight” trilogy), premieres at 10 p.m. April 10. It revolves around the “turbulent youth in Renaissance France” of Leonardo da Vinci.

pergament@msn.com

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