So I’m watching the show and I’m ready to rip it apart, nicely, respectfully. A buddy cop comedy that isn’t funny. A show that needs serious development, maybe new actors, maybe a new director even. I mean, I’m all about Duck ‘N Cover hanging it up.
I wanted to like it, I was primed to like it. The website, duckncovershow.com, is simple, slick and cool. Nice design. Even the credit sequences are cool. They set you up for an action-packed, funny buddy cop show and the graphics are pretty special too. Creators Brian Lerner (writer) and Sergio Pinheiro (director) seem to know what they want and create an expectation that left me salivating.
And then I start watching. And I’m bored. Jokes are just not hitting. The first episode (above), “The Fake Door” has the two guys taking turns knocking at an unhinged errant door and making fun of how the other would approach the occupants inside the home. Detective McKenna played by Matthew Brent rips Detective Miller, played by Michael Holmes for his fastidious squareness. Miller then mocking McKenna for his unprofessional crass-slash-crudeness. Unfortunately the jokes land flat, both by performance and the fact that it’s all done in one shot which kills the possibility of timing to save the perfs.
And ultimately, I’m not getting the show I was sold. Even one of the actors, (I think it’s Holmes) in the half hour radio show clip from IFU on the site says that he wants, “more action in it” like it has in the credit sequence, hoping that, “more money would allow that.” He says the trailer shows this and he’d like to see it in the show. So would I.
And so, with trepidation I move on to a second episode 1, continued, which suffers from the same problems as the first. So at this point I’m pretty disappointed. Not loving the actors and concerned about the director, knowing full well, he might have been able to salvage something in post had he planned better before shooting. I know, according to the radio show that they have budget issues, but planning doesn’t cost much.
Episode 3 is their Halloween ep and isn’t horrible. Interesting cheap effects and some jokes that actually land make it worth a look…maybe. The next one worth seeing which actually shows a little vision and seem to almost approximate the set-up from the fun of the site and the opening credits is “Mornings”, episode 5. Though I doubt you’ll be driven to watch the whole series off this one, but after knowing the characters, I found it somewhat interesting and thought out. And in saying this, I realize that might be the issue with the show. Things don’t seem totally thought out. According to the radio show the boys do a lot of improv and where it works, it works, but where it doesn’t, it kills it. And most of what’s there is dead on arrival.
The episodes are just not funny, they’re boring and the expectation set up just isn’t met. But then I tool around on the site and find “Archive”. Ugh, 8 promos to watch. I’m almost not going to do it. Can I stand to watch these? But if I don’t, I wouldn’t be saving you the trouble, which is kind of my job, no?
So I look. And I like?! That’s right, where the episodes are at least five minutes and slow without any real action, or even a semblance of reality, some of the promos are one minute, quick, funny, fresh and feel authentic(ish). Watch promo #8, “The Jungle” (below) and you’ll actually laugh. You’ll actually want to watch another! Promo #7 in which the guys are on a stakeout has Holmes improvising his plans for the weekend and it’s pretty funny. #6 ain’t bad either. I mean, they’re not all great, but there does seem to be life in these that’s missing from the rest of the show.
These guys have lofty goals for Duck N Cover, talking about maybe doing a “small feature” or a “pilot presentation” and kudos to them for even thinking this way, but at this point, they have a bit of a hill to climb. And maybe they’ve realized it. After seven eps and a promise of introducing new characters in the new year, it’s May already (almost June) and we have yet to see any new eps for ’09.
My two cents is, script everything, cover the hell out of it, so you know you have the footage and the jokes, then let the boys improv. And then, in post, make it sing. From watching the promos and looking at the site I know there’s a point of view here and a spirit, but right now, it just hasn’t reached the series itself.