We’re Not Too Old For This…
Once upon a time, if you’d told me that Lethal Weapon, the film that practically perfected the “buddy cop” genre, would be slated for a TV series reboot, there’s a good chance i’d have taken to the streets shirtless and rambling ala Martin Riggs to express my displeasure. Sure, that would have been a wee bit overboard, but it also would have gotten my point across. Which is the objective of any great debater. But here we are, with FOX having green-lit a series order after positive reviews of the shows pilot, and i’m not entirely against the notion.
Wait, hear me out. Yes, TV shows based on movies haven’t exactly had the best year or so, but this isn’t your typical reboot. In fact, it may be the prototypical show we’ve been waiting for. Lethal Weapon was built upon the relationship between detective’s Riggs and Murtaugh. For four films, we watched the two men as they became indispensable in one another’s lives. Riggs’ laundry and food choices intertwined with the Murtaugh family, while Danny Glover glowered and sulked, all the while knowing the two pretty much couldn’t live without one another. This is one of very few instances where a little insight would actually be a plus. I may belong to the Patton Oswalt school of prequel hate, but the Lethal Weapon story is one that could be expounded upon without having to delve too deep into origins. Basically, the time in between times.
We’ve learned a smattering of the lead characters history throughout the run of the franchise, but with the Lethal Weapon show switching things up a bit, there is room for exploration and growth. This time, Roger Murtaugh, played by Damon Wayans Sr., is recovering from a heart attack and has to avoid major stress. I don’t know why they wouldn’t just put him on desk duty, but whatever. It’s at this point that he’s paired with a new partner, Martin Riggs, played by Clayne Crawford. The Riggs story remains mostly intact. He’s still former special ops and all that, but his tragic past now includes a murdered son along with his wife. Because, why the hell not.
With that framework in place, this show could very well pickup right after the first movie. We know that it won’t, but in a perfect world, the events of the movies could bookend seasons. These are seasoned detectives after all. We know their HUGE stories, but what about the day to day interactions that brought them together. No, not just the fishing trips on the Code 7, but other cases that defined the two. Possible enemies they accumulated after breaking up the heroine ring in the first movie. Other spec op’s types they’ll run into. Undercover stings that compromise the Murtaugh Family, a Lethal Weapon staple. All things that are ripe for TV exploration. The reason some of the other cop movies turned into shows didn’t work is because their film outings were so singular. Minority Report was based on the breaking up of the pre-cog program, so the show diving back into it felt empty, and the audience never truly connected. With Lethal Weapon, the story was all about normal cops who are involved with something way bigger than they’re used to. As long as the show never raises the stakes too much higher than the natural progression of the films, we could have something.
Look, i’m not saying this can’t end in abject disaster, and creating shows around existing properties will always come off as extremely lazy. That said, Hannibal made me eat my words (I got off lucky all things considered) with how that show was able to spin known situations and characters. Will fans be as willing to go with slightly askew versions of RIggs and Murtaugh, I don’t know, but if any property has enough space for exploration, it’s this one. We all may have gotten old enough to see Damon Wayans cast as Roger Murtaugh, but i’ll never be too old to care about Lethal Weapon stories.
What do you think, am I out of my mind to look forward to this, or do you think this could actually work? Let me know on the twittah machine.