Last night, FOX premiered its pilot episode of Rosewood, a comedy-drama focused on a private pathologist named Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. (Morris Chestnut), who helps law enforcement solve crimes through his close to perfect autopsy skills. Though its pilot was far from awful, Rosewood turned out to be what many viewers feared it would: a mundane show not even Morris Chestnut’s chocolatey goodness and a perfect time slot can save.
Pro: Chestnut’s body…obviously.
Con: Chestnut’s lack of commitment.
Plain and simple, Rosewood’s character is meant for the likes of a Will Smith-type actor: super suave, super funny and super extravagant. The problem is, every comedy Chestnut has undertaken has cast him as the straight man, ready to bring the drama.
Chestnut is the guy who pairs well with comedic actors because together they create that whole yin and yang vibe. And while it is exciting to consider Chestnut in a more lighthearted role, this time, it failed to work. His comedic chops fell short and his charisma seemed watered down; two negatives that could have been reversed had it felt like Chestnut fully emerged himself in the role.
Pro: Familiar faces.
At some points, the show felt like an episode of Where Are They Now? In a world where people never know when they are going to run into their favorite actors again, it was pretty cool to see Lorraine Toussaint (Vee from Orange is the New Black) play Rosewood’s mother and Gabrielle Dennis (Derwin’s baby mama on The Game) play his sister. Also, Anthony Michael Hall a.k.a Brian from The Breakfast Club made a little guest appearance.
Con: Familiar plot lines.
Rosewood teams up with a beautiful Latina cop who “can’t stand him” and they basically set off to solve a certain crime in roughly 42 minutes, complete with guns, high-speed chases and the occasional fireworks display. But the “twist” in the plot is supposed to be the fact that Rosewood works with dead people, though he himself is terminally ill.
Okay, so we are looking at a protagonist who does something ironic for a living, where have we seen this before? How about in Breaking Bad, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.
Pro: Big city Miami.
A lot of times, it seems Hollywood likes to pair Hispanics and African Americans together on the screen just to kill two minority birds with one stone and appeal to more a broader demographic. However, the show’s setting serves as a smart way to incorporate diversity without force. Miami is also a character within itself, heavily influencing Rosewood‘s soundtrack and cinematic direction.
Con: Little shortcomings.
Something about a woman who wears hoop earrings and a fedora to the office of a private pathologist she works for just does not make sense. You know what else does not make sense? A man in the midst of sprinting from police, who somehow sweeps a grown woman off the ground with only one arm and runs off with her for 20 yards. Oh, and coming out of the gym with a professional hair blow out.
Overall, Rosewood lacks innovation and has none of what it would take to make it to episode 8, let alone season 2. I have a feeling viewers will only watch for one of three reasons: they want to support black actors on screen, they are warming up for the next episode of Empire, or they just really feel like “fangirling” over Morris Chestnut.