Watch Terriers

2010 October 22
by CajoleJuice

Pro-tip: If your show is actually a buddy-”cop” procedural, don’t advertise it as if it’s actually a show about the dog from Frasier. And yeah, maybe the name makes sense after watching the show for a few episodes, but you have to take the uninitiated into account.

It’s unfortunate that the best show of this television season is getting 1/10th the viewers of The Event, but even Shawn Ryan — one of Terriers‘ producers, and creator of The Shield — admits he screwed up. On the other hand, maybe he didn’t think FX would go full out in their attempt to fool the public about the premise of the show. So all fans of the show can do now is post shit on Twitter or write blog posts to convince people to give the show a shot.

Another problem just might be FX’s fanbase. Look at the rest of lineup: Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Rescue Me, Archer, Louie, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, and the upcoming Lights Out (which looks like a TV cross between Rocky and Raging Bull). Most of these are very obvious appeals to the 18-35 testerorone-fueled demographic. The Shield, the show that put FX on the map, pretty much formed the blueprint. I’m not going to distance myself from such a group — as I watch and love almost of FX’s shows — but Terriers is definitely a beat or two away from badass bikers or loose-cannon cops kicking ass and breaking laws, or oblivious sociopaths wreaking havoc.

The two main characters on Terriers are probably two of better human beings the network has ever featured — particularly Hank, played by Donal Logue. A genuinely compassionate character who cares about both friends and strangers? And a sidekick (but don’t call him that!) who has given up a life of petty crime to team up with him in the private eye business? It sure is a nice break from protagonists that intentionally kill people or at the very least intentionally ruin others’ lives. Louie would be the other exception, but that just features the hilariously miserable bastard that is Louis C.K.

That’s not to say that Terriers is some light-hearted show that is completely divergent in tone from the rest of FX’s lineup. It delves into some dark subject matter, like alcoholism, drug abuse, murder, adultery, suicide — the type of stuff you’d imagine a couple of television P.I.s would get themselves into. And as likeable and good-natured as Hank and his friend Britt are, they aren’t exactly law-abiding citizens. They do just about anything to finish the job, which can include breaking into houses, stealing information, or lying about anything and everything.

But the show separates itself by deriving its humor not from its characters being moronic assholes, but from the sharp, clever writing showcased in the interactions between Hank and Britt. The show is also shot better than any other show on the network other than arguably Louie. And the performance from Logue — playing a character dealing with the need to stay sober, divorce, and a sick sister — is nothing short of fantastic.

Terriers is also more of a procedural than the rest of the FX drama lineup, which lends itself to viewers jumping in whenever they want. What I’m getting at here is that you should start watching the show in whatever way you can. Of course, I recommend starting from the pilot, but the standalone cases are amusing and interesting enough from week to week to entertain any viewer. So get on it.

Wednesdays at 10 pm on FX. Apparently they are showing repeats on Tuesdays at 11 pm, too.

Oh, and its theme song is the catchiest on the network outside of Louie‘s. I can’t help whistling it randomly.

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  • Cornballer

    <3 Terriers. By far my favorite new show. It's a shame that the marketing didn't do a good job selling the show because people are missing out on something great.

    • CajoleJuice

      I haven’t seen Boardwalk Empire the past couple of weeks due to a free 3-month-block of HBO running out, but after the first three eps, Terriers was killin’ it.

  • lordoftherink

    I’d love to check the show out, but unfortunately I live in a place called Canada, where FX is not in any way available. Everything I’ve heard about and seen of the show sounds great, so I will definitely grab the show on DVD when it comes out, I just hope the show is still alive by that time.

    • CajoleJuice

      Poor Canadians. FX is easily my most-watched non-sports network.

      At the very least, you’ll at least get to watch the first season on DVD!