Friday, May 15, 2015

New TV Show Love - Battle Creek

Addendum 20th May 2015 --
So I just found out a few days ago that this show has been CANCELLED!!! What the freaking hell? I have no words to describe my utter disappointment and frustration. I'm so sick of these awesome shows getting cancelled just because they're not an instant hit. Sometimes, some things take a little while to get going, and I really think Battle Creek was just hitting its stride. A second season would have really done it justice. The acting was brilliant, the chemistry of the cast perfectly cohesive, the scripts witty and story lines engaging. So what if it didn't get a million-trillion viewers? Maybe it needed to be on a different night. Maybe it needed to follow on from a different show. Maybe some other slight tweaking might have made all the difference and this show would have been a long running hit. Argh! I'll stop now, otherwise this rant will get unpleasant.
And the WORST part? Now we will never EVER know why Milt was in Battle Creek and that right there is enough to make me lose my crap.
I'm still going to buy this when it comes out on DVD, and like Firefly, when I get it out to watch it, I'll cry over its wasted potential.

I'll admit, I started watching Battle Creek for one reason, and one reason alone: Josh Duhamel. Stunning looks aside, I always thought he was a really great actor, and used to love the series Las Vegas, and had missed seeing him in a TV role since that show finished a number of years ago.
What I didn't expect when I put on Battle Creek was to also really love Dean Winters, and be immediately hooked by the way both these actor's characters, FBI agent Milt Chamberlain and Battle Creek police detective Russell Agnew, play off one another.
Its turned out to be one of those rare casting gems, where these actors have such great chemistry (I'm not talking sexual chemistry, I just mean the entirely platonic energy between them is really great) that from the first episode, you want to tune in every week just to see what kind of situation these two are going to get themselves in and how they'll handle it.
The other thing that kept me coming back was the mystery of Milt. He's this suave, charming, American-hero-type FBI agent who gets sent out to Battle Creek to set up an FBI satellite office and help out the local law enforcement. On the surface, it doesn't make sense that a talented agent like Milt would be given what probably amounts to a demotion. Every single episode, Russ asks Milt "why are you in Battle Creek?" and Milt has done everything from evade the question to make up wildly untrue stories.
Milt comes across as this charming, easy going, nice guy who sees the good in every one and every situation, but in the first episode, Russ called him on it, saying he couldn't really be that naive, to which Milt responded "I know"... a little on the sinister side I might add.
Russ has tried going around Milt for the truth, even tracking down his old boss, and for a while they speculated that possibly Milt had entered into an affair with his boss's wife, or that he'd simply pissed off the wrong person higher up the food chain. Whatever the reason, Milt is certainly keeping a lid on it, and this is one mystery that's driving me crazy, making me wonder if Milt is in fact one of those gray characters I love so much. Is he a good guy like he seems, who simply made a mistake and is now paying for it? Or is he really a sociopath under all that charm, calculating and manipulating so well that no one even realizes its happening?
And was his posting at Battle Creek a demotion or punishment like everyone assumes, or is there something bigger within the FBI going on, in which Milt has a really important job to do?
These questions keep me coming back, and the burgeoning relationship between Milt and Russ has me totally invested.
And I just have to mention, last week's episode was the best yet. Russ got abducted by a prison escapee, and Milt was clearly distressed by the fact, I think he partly blamed himself because he was there when it happened and wasn't able to stop it. Anyway, while Russ was trying to get himself free, Milt was doing everything with his considerable FBI power to find him.
Finally, Russ managed to almost get himself free, just in time for Milt to turn up. Milt found him in the basement, and when Russ realized it was Milt and not his abductor, the relief was almost heart-wrenching. And then the most unexpected thing happened. Russ, who has made no secret of the fact he doesn't like or trust Milt, Russ, who insists on doing everything alone and making out like he doesn't need anyone, Russ stepped forward and literally leaned into Milt. His hands were still bound, so he couldn't hug him, but he put his head on Milt's shoulder, and Milt hugged him back for a very long moment.
And for that half a second, I was totally shipping Russ and Milt.
Well played, producers, well played. 
After, Russ had to pretend like he wasn't crying, and they quickly went back to their usual frenemy-like relationship. But I wasn't buying it anymore. Quite obviously, Russ actually does like Milt, maybe more than he's comfortable with (and I STILL don't mean in a sexual sense, even though I did ship them for 0.2 seconds)
But all of that aside, I'm now getting the feeling that Milt and Russ are going to have one heck of a bromance going forward. I'm now praying that this show takes off and we get five or six seasons of enjoying Milt and Russ and finding out exactly why Milt is in Battle Creek, and what his true character really is.
If you haven't seen it already, what are you waiting for?! This show is going on my auto to-buy list as soon as it comes out on DVD. I can't wait to be able to watch all the episodes again and soak in the awesomeness that is Russ and Milt.
And in case you want to see that intense Milt/Russ moment yourself, the Battle Creek youtube channel were nice enough to put it up.

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