Review: THE ROOKIE • Nathan Fillion, Our Gen X Hero

If you are in your early 40s or quickly approaching, you are not prepared for what’s coming. This is the first generation where your 40s are different. There’s no loyalty anymore, so if you work at the same job for 20 years, there’s a good chance you’re getting fired because you earn too much. Couples are having kids later, so there’s no time for a mid-life crisis. If you’re divorced, dating in your 40s has to be a trainwreck? What’s the goal; second marriage, kids? Then there’s cancer, Cholesterol, heart attacks, and your parents. God forbid you’re a dreamer trying to find meaning in your life, because who’s got time for that? Retirement is getting closer than your High School glory days. Luckily, we have Nathan Fillion.

The Rookie hits ABC on October 16 and it’s a surprisingly powerful drama with a positive message. Fillion’s character John Nolan is going to get beaten down every day, but he’s going to get back up too. The setting for this ‘hero’s journey’ is the Los Angeles Police Department, and Nolan is one of three in his rookie class. This is where Alexi Hawley’s writing sets up more than your typical cop drama. Watching three rookies on his or journey is compelling because it gives every viewer someone to connect with. Fillion doesn’t have to carry the show on his own. Melissa O’Neil and Titus Makin balance out the rookie class. Richard T. Jones as Sergeant Wade Grey is the person that wants to see Nolan fail, and Sergeant Grey wants to make his life a living hell. The ‘Drill Sergeant’ is one the oldest tropes in cinema, but if Jones owns this role and takes it to another level, he elevates the series. The Rookie is only as good as Sergeant Grey, and if he pushes the envelope, the sky is the limit.

The pilot is the best parts of Training Day before Denzel goes crazy. There are emotional highs and lows and the viewer is part of the action the whole time. Liz Friedlander, who directed an episode of Jessica Jones, helms the pilot. She weaves the narrative well and gets the whole cast involved. Friedlander also reveals Hawley’s twist rather well, and sets up the series for the first season. The car chases and shoot-outs had a cinema-quality to them, which leads to an encapsulating experience.

Overall, The Rookie is a solid pilot that will get viewers to watch the second episode, but only time will tell if the show has heart or just an interesting premise.

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Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.