TV Vs. Film: Ten Shows Worth Skipping The Multiplex For
indieWire / May 26, 2011
Judging by the ratings, which never topped a million viewers after the pilot, you didn’t watch “Terriers,” a private-eye show on FX from “The Shield” creator Shawn Ryan and “Ocean’s Eleven” scribe Ted Griffin. And in a way, we don’t blame you.
The title and marketing were baffling, the biggest star was schlubby sitcom veteran Donal Logue, and the premise—an ex-cop and recovering alcoholic with ex-wife problems works as an unlicensed private detective in Ocean Beach, California, with a former burglar—couldn’t have been more generic if it tried. Unfortunately for you, “Terriers” was simply fantastic, and it’s now been canceled.
The show, which co-starred “True Blood“‘s Michael Raymond-James, Laura Allen, Kimberly Quinn and Rockmond Dunbar, started modestly, but soon rolled out a corruption-tinged plot of massive depth and complexity, one that the best neo-noirs would be proud of.
It had consistently unpredictable one-off storylines (the one that guest-starred Olivia Williams is a particular favorite), possibly the best theme tune ever, and a hugely impressive line-up of directors, including Craig Brewer (”Hustle & Flow”), John Dahl (”The Last Seduction”), Clark Johnson (”The Wire”) and even Rian Johnson (”Brick”).
But more importantly, it expertly juggled a mix of tones, and it did what the best TV does: took its flawed, rough-around-the-edges heroes, made you fall in love with them, and then put them through the ringer with a series of truly wrenching plot twists. Its 13 episodes were positively stuffed with heartbreak. It may have been sadly canceled (and, right now, it’s not even scheduled for a DVD release), but it also means that it joins the likes of “Freaks and Geeks” and “Firefly” as untouched one season-wonders.
Must-See Episode: “Asunder,” an atypical episode which sees the heroes holed up in a hotel at which the ex-wife of Hank (Logue) is about to get married, a wedding that eventually has rip-your-heart-out-of-your-chest consequences for his partner Britt (Raymond-James).