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Lone Star – CliqueClack preview

People don’t like con artists, especially in this day and age, unless they are actually stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. But they all can’t be 'Leverage', can they?

How do you sell a story about a man who steals from everyone, loves more than one woman, and lies as easily and as smoothly as you and I tie our shoes? Lone Star’s Bob Taylor, supposedly the protagonist, fits that bill. The show, about a con man caught between the two lies and lives that he can’t walk away from, is going to have a difficult time establishing an audience. While it is nice to see Texas on the silver screen again, Lone Star will live in Dallas’ shadow despite the truth that the only things they have in common are greed, oil, and location. I’ve had a chance to see the pilot of Lone Star, and read an early version of the script, and found nothing that will give me pause when the DVR is recording something else on Monday nights.

Most stories, at least most good stories, have a hero and a villain. In the case of Lone Star, there are no heroes, several villains, and a whole mess of victims. The show is going to have to overcome the fact that there is no one to root for, as the main character is one I seriously doubt audiences will connect with. Bob is a thief, a cheater, and, obviously, a polygamist. And as much as Big Love may have introduced multiple wives into the mainstream, the comparison doesn’t bear out in Lone Star’s favor. To be clear, too, Bob can’t even really be considered an anti-hero. He might want to turn onto the straight and narrow (as much as one can with two different lives with two different women), but not even a romanticized modern day Robin Hood act will change the fact that he lies to get through the day.

The main reason my interest was piqued for this show was the inclusion of Adrienne Palicki in the cast. I’m a major fan of Friday Night Lights, with Palicki’s performance as Tyra Collette being one of the main reasons why. Here, though, I was greatly disappointed. She is criminally underused as Cat, Bob’s wife and a Texas oil heiress. I think she’s one of the characters that we are supposed to like, and I was just left with ambivalence. Fortunately they dropped one of my biggest problems with the script, a fourteen-year-old daughter named Grace. It would be difficult to believe Palicki as the mother of a teenager when her character on FNL is barely out of her teens herself.

You’d think Jon Voight, as oil tycoon Clint Thatcher, would be able to bring the story to a higher level, but he’s playing a caricature, and his performance was, honestly, below him (his casting does, though, bring together an interesting Friday Night Lights/Varsity Blues thread, as both were based on the Permian Panthers, and I mentioned last week how much I love Varsity Blues). Thatcher is a bit of a bad-ass though, and is the root of probably my biggest lingering interest from the pilot: just exactly what happened to his brother Roy.

I really wish I could have you walk away from this preview with something positive to say, but I can’t really find anything. Don’t get me wrong, not everything about Lone Star is bad, but what isn’t is not nearly enough to overcome what is.  Audiences are going to find a hard time connecting with the show. People don’t like con artists, especially in this day and age, unless they are actually stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. But they all can’t be Leverage, can they?

Photo Credit: FOX

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4 Responses to “Lone Star – CliqueClack preview”

August 13, 2010 at 1:08 PM

. . . . .

Hrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm …

Seeing the television spots for this, I thought it might be rather intriguing. I understand your point about it possibly being difficult to find an audience, but there is that contingent out there that love their ‘bad boys’.

Let’s see if that group manifests itself into a genuine following for this new show …

August 13, 2010 at 1:22 PM

That’s the problem, Micheal, is that this guy, despite being a lying, cheating, thieving bastard, he’s actually a pretty good guy.

August 14, 2010 at 3:03 PM

What was one of your favorite expressions? “It’s all about the characters”….Sounds like this show will have to reach to get people to like whoever….

August 16, 2010 at 2:03 AM

True that, Tim-1. And there’s not a character here to like.

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