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TV Review: Smith Series Premiere

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By all appearances, the Stevens family have a picture perfect suburban life. Bobby Stevens is doing well enough in sales — at least with wife Hope's income as a dental assistant — to afford them a comfortable lifestyle for them and their two kids in an upscale suburban neighborhood where all the houses look the same.

And that's what makes Bobby, well, a little bit crazy.

The pilot episode of Smith explores the ramifications of duality without offering much in the way of its moral implications. This is familiar territory for Goodfellas star Ray Liotta, who portrays Bobby Stevens. Here, he plays the frustated suburbanite who happens to be a master thief. Virginia Madsen (Sideways) is cast as his wife Hope, who may or may not know that his frequent "business trips" are actually excuses to cover up his heists. Hope has secrets of her own, which are merely hinted at in the pilot.

The pilot also introduces us to Bobby's crew — Johnny Lee Miller as Tom, the electronics expert; Simon Baker as Jeff, the psychopathic weapons expert; Frankie G as Joe, the transport specialist; Amy Smart as Annie, the decoy, and Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog) as Charlie, the fence. If all this sounds a bit like Ocean's 11, it's much more akin to Reservoir Dogs in execution. These are not sympathetic characters — they do their job with precision, without moral regard. It is difficult for the viewer to feel any empathy for the principals, but I don't think that was producer's John Wells' (ER, The West Wing) intent. Rather, it reflects the prevalent social clime of nothing — and nobody — is what it seems on the surface.

While the premiere episode is laden with plot holes and incongruities — two million dollars split five ways is not a large chunk of change, especially after you figure in preliminary costs — Smith does have potential. CBS is taking a huge risk here, however. This being network television, pilots serve to set up the series, and not much else. If Smith turns out to be heist of the week with the Feds in dogged pursuit, there's not much hope for it.

If, on the other hand, Smith focuses more on the mysteries and motivations surrounding the characters, and less on the gratuitous nature of the heist, this could be a series to follow. Either way, things can't turn out well for the Stevens family.

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About Ray Ellis

  • pnl

    interesting. can get a good show or can go down hill.
    who was the singing group–acapella (sp)
    really good

  • Dennis

    If you find out, please e-mail me…would like to hear more

  • Dennis

    Found it…you probably already already know…it’s “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap

  • Rick

    Hey..you should review the song in this premiere..those where great.