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Thandie Newton's Cop Drama Series 'Rogue' Debuted This Week; Did You Watch? Thoughts?

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
April 6, 2013 12:09 PM
18 Comments
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I'd forgotten that this new series was to premiere this week - on Wednesday. And it did, by the way. I really didn't see very much marketing for it online, or much conversation about it on all the social media sites that I'm practically connected to 18 hours a day. 

I suppose those folks with DirecTV, where the series is airing exclusively, likely did see promos for it leading up to the premiere episode. 

Did anyone with DirecTV watch it? And if you did, your thoughts?

What I don't understand about DirecTV's marketing strategy for it is why they didn't take a page out of Netflix's House Of Cards release plan, which I think would've drawn more attention to the series, and maybe encouraged more new subscriptions to DirecTV. What Netflix did with House Of Cards was that they released episode 1 of the series online for FREE for one month, so even if you didn't have a Netflix account, you could still go to their website and watch episode 1 without having to sign up for the service.

DirecTV should maybe have considered a similar strategy. I can't say whether the move benefited Netflix in any way (they haven't really shared much about the impact of the series on their bottomline yet), but if part of DirecTV's intent is to attract new subscribers, by launching its very first own scripted original series, then why not take that chance? 

As it stands, only DirecTV customers have seen the series, and, while I can't speak for others, the series just isn't enough of a draw for me to want to sign up for DirecTV just to watch it. I like Thandie Newton in most things I've seen her in, but after watching a 10-minute preview of the series (which we posted on this site a few weeks ago), there just wasn't enough in what I saw to really entice me. But maybe if I watched one full episode, I might want to see the rest.

Or maybe not. Signing up for DirecTV is a lot more involved and more expensive than a Netflix streaming account.

You can watch episode one of the series online, on DirecTV's website, but, again, you still have to be a subscriber to do so.

The reviews haven't been great either, which certainly doesn't help matters. Here's a sample:

From the Los Angeles Times

DirecTV's 'Rogue' is a wreck of a crime drama... Overwrought execution and overextended characters, including Thandie Newton's grim-faced cop, deal the Audience Network drama a death blow.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

In DirecTV's first drama, Thandie Newton comes across more escaped supermodel than undercover cop as she chases implausible Caucasian gangs in Oakland... Ultimately what happens, as Rogue can’t find traction in its story, is that you realize nobody has the necessary magnetism to force a rooting interest. It’s not like Newton is a badass detective. 

From Variety:

“Rogue” is an unfortunately distinctive name for such a me-too crime series — one that mistakes nudity, violence and profanity for edge and daring. DirecTV has cut its teeth with shrewd acquisitions — including the final season of “Damages” and “Hit & Miss” — but this original effort to play in the pay-cable game skews toward the ho-hum, guy-oriented offerings on Cinemax, without quite the unabashed sleaze factor.

And there are more reviews just like these 3. So, overall, not a good look at all for Thandie Newton's new series. At this rate, DirecTV may be wise to make the series available on VOD - like on Amazon.com's service. I'd consider paying the $2.99 each for the first 2 or 3 episodes, just so I could check it out myself, considering that I'm not a DirecTV subscriber.

The cop drama series sees Newton starring as an undercover cop, who, in a personal vendetta, comes face to face with a high-profile gangster, after her son is killed in a drive-by shooting.

The series debuted on Wednesday, April 3.

The official synopsis reads:

ROGUE revolves around Grace (Newton), a morally and emotionally conflicted undercover detective who is tormented by the possibility that her own actions contributed to her son's death. Grace's search for the truth is further complicated by her forbidden relationship with Jimmy (Marton Csokas), the crime boss who may have played a hand in the crime. A smart, complex, character-led thriller, the show explores loss, grief, identity, family bonds, second chances and redemption. Both Grace and Jimmy not only struggle with who they are, they also struggle with who they want to be. Both cross the line - morally, emotionally, sexually - with devastating consequences for their own lives and those around them.

In addition to Newton and Csokas, the cast includes Ian Hart, Claudia FerriJoshua SasseJonathan HolmesSarah JeffreyIan TraceyJarod Joseph, Matthew Beard, and Martin Donovan.

The pilot episode was directed by Brian Kirk (LuckGame of ThronesBoardwalk Empire).

From what I can tell on DirecTV's website, you can actually watch the first 3 or 4 episodes online, if you're a subscriber, which some of you may have already done. Again, if you watched episode 1, or more, let us know what you think of the series so far.

For the rest of you, here's the 10-minute extended preview that I posted about a month ago; and following that, you'll find a 23-minute "Script to Screen" special:

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18 Comments

  • c | April 8, 2013 9:47 PMReply

    @Gina. You're right, this is 2013 not the the 1920's so black women should no longer have to play the role of the white man's sexual plaything. If you view black women being required to satisfy the sexual fantasies of white male viewers as progress then we have a different definition of that word.

  • Gina | April 8, 2013 6:14 PMReply

    all you people that want to constantly go on about black women and white men this and that... so what you don't like... who cares... if you don't like it then don't watch it or any other show that has a black woman paired with a man other than a black man... I'm a black woman and I thought it was a great first ep.... this is 2013 we aren't living in the 1920's...

  • Nick Hamm | April 8, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    I am the showrunner of ROGUE. first off, i will not even discuss with your readers what they think of the show. Does it even matter? Now — there are some very good reviews to the show, they just don't happen to the LA Times. Who cares. I am from London, England (get a map!) and industry towns don't frighten me. Not at all. What matters is the blogger on the street. The bloke who likes a pint, likes women, and doesn't want to be challenged after a long day on the forklift. ROGUE is for that kind of viewer out there. People who like to work hard, and party hard. Like we did on the set of ROGUE. We worked damn hard and I don't like people saying that our effort fell short. DIRECT TV doesn't think so! Make your own show is you're so smart!

  • wtf! | April 7, 2013 8:38 PMReply

    @Tee:You have got to be kidding. Zoe Saldana, Kerry Washington, Thandie Newton, Halle Berry, Joy Bryant, Vanessa Williams,Nia Long, Sanaa Lathan, Gabrielle Union and virtually every other beautiful sister in the industry has been paired with MULTIPLE white men. It seems like there is an unspoken rule when it comes to fine black women: They must do a sex scene with a white man. On Shameless these season Vanessa Bell Calloway has sex with her white son ln law while he performs oral sex on her daughter. I think this may represent a new low for black women in television.

  • Melissaenafriwue | April 7, 2013 7:02 PMReply

    I'll check this out although I'm not really a fan of Thandie's acting. Loved her in Flirting though, an Australian movie from the 1990s. And in The Journey of August King which required her to look frightened and vulnerable the whole time.
    But that's about it. Oh... and in the Thomas Jefferson story, as well as Beloved. And The Leading Man. Geez... she's been in a lot of movies as the white guy's girl (like other black actresses).

  • tilly | April 7, 2013 4:19 PMReply

    Since I'm a huge Thandie fan, I Loved the 1st episode and I'm looking forward to loving the remaining episode. Maybe those critics would've appreciated the show a little more if there was some waif looking blonde bitch cast instead of Thandie.

  • Melissaenafrique | April 7, 2013 6:58 PM

    To reply to one of you below comments. No that I care either way, but I've only seen Thandie paired with a BM once and she's done a plethora of movies. Same with most black actresses. Even Whoopi Goldberg. Mostly paired with white guys so this is nothing groundbreaking or new.
    ps. i'm a black woman.

  • Tee | April 7, 2013 6:50 PM

    I couldn't agree more with this poster. I watched one episode of 'Rogue' and was hooked. Thandie is fantastic in the lead role and Marton Csokas is a revolution.

    I think DirecTV did not market this show as well as it should have. For the last 2 months I received my DirecTV mailings and there was so advertisement for 'Rogue'. WTF?? This is their own show, right? It looks like they did huge billboards in Hollywood and nowhere else. Not good enough. This show of excellent actors deserves much better.

  • v | April 6, 2013 10:19 PMReply

    It really seems like every attractive black woman has got to screw a white man in order to work in this industry. Some things NEVER change.

  • James | September 27, 2013 9:12 AM

    As usual the industry seems to set shows up to fail when they have a Black protagonist, even one as beautiful and talented and Thandie. The marketing for this show was abysmal. I wouldn't even be aware of it if I only stuck to normal channels. I don't even recall seeing any interviews on the top talk shows.

    @TEE, I think you need to look a bit harder before you make such a general statement. Truth is American television has a problem with showing ethnic couples period. They also have a problem with Blk men and white women, and if you notice most black men while paired with non-black black women seem to be paired with another non-white ethnicity. White guys of course end up with any attractive actress across the spectrum. There's nothing to applaud Ms Newton for, how many actresses would turn down a starring role?

  • Tee | April 7, 2013 6:52 PM

    I see more brothers in movies with non-black actresses as love interests than the opposite. I applaud Thandie Newton for taking such roles.

  • Miles Ellison | April 6, 2013 5:34 PMReply

    Implausible caucasian gangs?

  • James | September 27, 2013 9:15 AM

    Some people would like you to believe that a Caucasian gang is implausible under any circumstances (of course we wouldn't be talking historically; nor including syndicates and the mob, or neo-nazis).

  • getthesenets | April 7, 2013 1:35 PM

    racist MFers always throw in the sly prejudiced jab in their reviews....can watch 15 films/tv shows where a sole white guy defeats platoons of enemy soldiers with their bare hands...and NEVER ever think of using the word "implausible"....but concept of a gang of white criminals in the Bay Area is just too much.
    ===================================

    F a "critic"

  • Miles Ellison | April 6, 2013 11:27 PM

    White criminals are so non-existent in Oakland that it's "implausible" that there would be a gang of them?

  • The Answer | April 6, 2013 7:15 PM

    Implausible IN OAKLAND.

  • PhredG | April 6, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    GREAT WRITING!
    Ignores all of the vengeful-cop-with-a-tough-boss-going-u.c.-with-baaaad-people-alienating-self-from-family stereotypes.
    My favorite line: "It's Arson! ARSON!"

  • miktal | April 6, 2013 1:58 PMReply

    Whoa, she said, fuck and showed her tits! A real badass.

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