Thoughts On Last Night's Broadcast TV Premiere Of 'Deception'...

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
January 8, 2013 10:28 AM
21 Comments
  • |

My Twitter feed was all abuzz about it, and I believe it was trending in the USA at one point, so, evidently, a lot of you watched it. I don't have the hard numbers yet, so I can't tell you how well it did in terms of viewership and ratings. But I should have them soon enough, and will post here once that happens.

Reposting what I posted yesterday morning, given that it premiered last night...

“I guess the way it all shook out, (the ethnicity of [Meagan] Good and [Laz] Alonso) is a way of sort of dealing with race without actually having to talk about it... But it’s not something we really talk about too much in the writers room…I just think it is sort of there. I’m not sure what we could put in the characters’ mouths that would speak louder than the fact of what you’re looking at on-screen.”

Words from Deception showrunner Liz Heldens at TCA over the weekend, adding that, according to Deadline, that the show wasn't written specifically with black actors/characters in mind, but that when Meagan Good auditioned for the part initially, "she just walked in and owned it. It was fantastic."

She also described it as a TV hybrid of Donnie Brasco and Sabrina, saying that season 1 would reveal to the audience who the killer is, and season 2 (I guess they're optimistic it'll be renewed for a second season) will be about Good's character, who believes she knows who the killer is, proving it.

Part of NBC's mid-season debuts, Deception (initially titled Notorious, and then switched to Infamous, and now will be called Deception), made its TV broadcast premiere last night, January 72013, during the 10pm - 11pm hour.

It stars Meagan Good as detective Joanna Locasto, a female detective who returns to work undercover investigating the wealthy family she grew up with - as the maid's daughter - to solve the murder of the notorious heiress who was once her closest friend - celebutante Vivian Lawson.

The NBC series co-stars Laz AlonsoVictor Garber, Tate Donovan, and Katherine LaNasa co-starring.

Laz Alonso plays NYPD detective Will Sacovitch, who recruits Good's character, his former flame, to team up and infiltrate the Lawson home - led by Victor Garber as Robert Lawson, and Tate Donovan as his son.

So what did you think, those who tuned in?

I'd already watched the full pilot episode which had been on NBC's website for about 3 weeks before last night's TV debut; but I did watch it again just to see if my reaction would be any different than what it was after the first time I watched it.

And I'm sorry to say that it didn't change. As I noted yesterday, while I'm extremely glad to see NBC take a chance on a primetime drama series with black characters in starring roles, I wasn't at all hooked. It really does play like a traditional soap opera, but non of the suspense and intrigue were suspenseful nor intriguing enough for me to hold my attention.

I won't go into some in-depth analysis of it at this time, since we've only seen one episode. As is custom for me, I do plan to watch the first 3 episodes, and hope that the next 2 impress me more than the pilot did - at least, enough that I'll want to continue watching for the rest of the season. And at that time, I should have a much better idea of what I think about it. 

I'm probably not in the show's target audience anyway, so that could certainly have something to do with it. But I'm hopeful for the sake of the actors, at least, that it finds its audience, even if I myself, am not particularly drawn to it. And based on last night's online social networking chatter, a lot of you were really into it!

If you watched the pilot episode, what did you think of it? Chime in.

The rest of you can watch it below if you'd like:

You might also like:
Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

21 Comments

  • SRenee | January 9, 2013 12:58 PMReply

    Honestly, I was just not that impressed! Nothing happened to catch or maintain my attention. The story line is so predictable, I have no reason at this part to 'Look forward to next Monday!'. I guess I have been a little spoiled by the intensity of Scandal and other shows on TV. I don't believe I will be watching it on Monday but if something gets exciting, let me know!!

  • Akimbo | January 8, 2013 9:48 PMReply

    The writing was weak and clunky, the tone was melodramatically dreary, and the twists were totally predictable. Honestly, every word spoken sounded like it was written by someone with only a vague idea of what they were talking about. Everyone Laz Alonso and younger was weak acting-wise. Meagan wasn't believable as a cop & her character is a bad snoop/spy, the younger brother is all bad soap opera acting, the teen girl is one(obnoxious)-note, and while I normally don't have a problem with Laz's Denzel-lite acting, he was not selling any of that expositional dialogue. The forty-plus crowd put in work, but the show's not really about them, so that's worrisome. I lovelovelove Victor Garber and have come around on Tate Donovan, but they can't carry this thing. It's just not well done or even compelling...yet. I hope they get there, but I have my doubts.

  • lauren | January 9, 2013 1:48 PM

    Perfectly stated...

  • jeni | January 8, 2013 7:12 PMReply

    It was okay, nothing special. I'll give it another chance to see if it settles into a must-see.
    However, I'm just not a big fan of Laz Alonso's acting, no matter how fine he is.

  • jeni | January 8, 2013 7:16 PM

    And I forgot to add that I'm tired of shows having female leads in law enforcement or intelligence (Covert Affairs) that act like dewy baby does in the headlights until it's time to chase down an attacker or intruder, and they turn into She-Ra. It just doesn't work.

  • starry118 | January 8, 2013 4:47 PMReply

    I'll keep watching, because it looks like it's got potential, but they need to step the writing up and get a good hook.

  • Eh... | January 8, 2013 3:46 PMReply

    I watched mostly out of curiosity, but also to support the hour long drama with a black lead. It's a good-looking show, and the director, Peter Horton, has a long track record of directing television going back to "Thirtysomething," but fundamentally the writing is weak and Meagan Good wasn't entirely convincing as a detective. But film and television always put young actors into these roles when I think the reality is often very different. I felt that the writers relied on too many contrivances in order to get the plot going and I would have preferred a slower build to the mystery. For instance, what if she had been a uniformed cop and went to the funeral on her own? It was her best friend growing up, right? And since the family was so high profile, the girl's death could have easily been brought to her attention via television, internet, etc. And then, while at the funeral, she observes things that raise her suspicions and she decides to investigate further (like someone said, similar to Veronica Mars). I find it hard to believe that a police department would fund an undercover investigation like this because of the amount of money involved and the past behavior of one of the brothers and some other things I can't remember because they were also stretches, especially if the death hasn't officially been declared a homicide. It was all just a neat and overtly contrived way to bring the two black characters together so they could (suprise!) have sex at some point. The Laz Alonzo character could have easily been brought in later by Meagan Good, at a moment of desperation and/or crisis, in order to enlist his support of her own investigation. It felt like it was being written to satisfy the fears of network programmers that the audience wouldn't stay tuned if things didn't happen fast enough, but if you craft the story effectively, with conflict and mystery, you can have things develop more believably. And for me, that was the show's main problem.

  • starry118 | January 8, 2013 4:59 PM

    "I felt that the writers relied on too many contrivances in order to get the plot going and I would have preferred a slower build to the mystery. For instance, what if she had been a uniformed cop and went to the funeral on her own? ... And then, while at the funeral, she observes things that raise her suspicions and she decides to investigate further..." Totally agree and was thinking the same thing ... this would have been far more interesting and more effective in drawing the viewer into the story.

  • SAVANNAH MORGAN | January 8, 2013 3:37 PMReply

    Just watched... started a little slow (with tons of exposition) and the writing was just okay. However, the story intrigued me... will stay tuned.

  • michele | January 8, 2013 3:06 PMReply

    I watched the show and enjoyed it. It gave me just enough mystery to want to continue watching to find out what happens.
    When I realized Scandal comes back on the 10th I was like Omg I have two tv shows starring black women to watch this week!!!
    Also, Meagan Good is a pretty damn good actress. (The last thing I saw her in was Waist Deep.......................)

  • Mark & Darla | January 8, 2013 2:59 PMReply

    Typical black female on the internet, always comparing or pitting black female celebrities against each other, why not gave props to both Kerry and Meagan for their achievement to their career forward. First one to say, "Who me don't look at HWOA, got to much class ." Class my ass.

  • Mark & Darla | January 8, 2013 2:59 PMReply

    Typical black female on the internet, always comparing or pitting black female celebrities against each other, why not gave props to both Kerry and Meagan for their achievement to their career forward. First one to say, "Who me don't look at HWOA, got to much class ." Class my ass.

  • Typical Black Girl | January 8, 2013 4:05 PM

    Do you have Tourette syndrome?

  • Mark & Darla | January 8, 2013 2:56 PMReply

    Typical black female on the internet, always comparing or pitting black female celebrities against each other, why not gave props to both Kerry and Meagan for their achievement to their career forward. First one to say, "Who me don't look at HWOA, got to much class ." Class my ass.

  • class of fitness | January 8, 2013 1:47 PMReply

    Not bad, but could be better and leave 'scandal' out of this! not the same show.

  • Hillary | January 8, 2013 12:50 PMReply

    I gave it a chance during my plane ride home last night and it wasn't terrible. But I'd like the writers to make Good's character more a part of the family she's infiltrating. At this point, she really does sort of seem like a stranger who's over-staying her welcome in the family's mansion. I'll always give a show with a black lead character a chance, though.

  • Africameleon | January 8, 2013 12:34 PMReply

    It doesn't have to be SCANDAL ya'll.... I'm glad to have more opportunities to see talented black actors on screen in prime time.

  • PK | January 8, 2013 11:21 AMReply

    I enjoyed it. It took a moment, but I gave it a fair chance. I like a little drama and romance. Megan Good might be doing her finest work since "Eve's Bayou"

    I don't see why it has to be compared to "Scandal". The plot is not similar. Their characters aren't similar. Olivia Pope , for the most part is in control of everything. Megan Good's character Joanna Lacosto starts as a pawn in Laz Alonzo' piece. He's calling the shots on the case. Thematically wise it closer resembles the early 2000's UPN show "Veronica Mars" (sleuth Veronica tries to solve her best friend's murder and suspects her upper middle class family).
    Even the character's name suggest Megan's role wasn't written black (to compete with "Scandal"), the character was probably going to be some Italian agent. "Scandal's " success probably did help casting. Which is a good thing, can't there be more then one black female lead on basic tv.

    Mondays at 10pm is a safe slot. It's not good enough to pull people away from "Scandal" (which first episode was okay in content, good in dialouge), or a better show like "The Walking Dead", but it's a good romantic drama/suspense.

  • lauren | January 8, 2013 10:49 AMReply

    It's no Scandal!

  • Scandal lover | January 8, 2013 10:47 AMReply

    Well Megan wasn't convincing to me as well as Larenz. They are both good actors but It just didn't convince me to believe, and it may have alittle to do with the writing and not the actors. I will tune in next week to see if I was wrong cause I want to learn about the family members a little more and give me a chance cause instead of ex lovers they seem like strangers.

  • Luvly | January 8, 2013 10:46 AMReply

    Race is not a factor, the writing is wonderful.
    I am a fan of the show and if they keep writing in such a wonderful way
    I'm going to change my work schedule just to catch it Monday nights. Lance, and Megan is right for each other. I just hope his character have patients with her work and understand it.

Follow Shadow and Act

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Brazilian Filmmaker Vicente Ferraz Will ...
  • Watch New NSFW Spring Break-Inspired ...
  • Feature Doc On Quixotic Life Of NYC ...
  • Black Movie Trivia - Congrats to our ...
  • Watch 4 Clips From 'Draft Day' + Chadwick ...
  • Take A Trip Through Morgan Freeman's ...
  • International Black Women's Film Festival ...
  • Check Out The Soccer Films Line-Up At ...
  • Taraji P. Henson Drama 'From The Rough' ...
  • Interview: Marlon Wayans Talks Career, ...