5 Questions and 500 Words: “Rosewood”

Welcome to another installment of “5 Questions and 500 Words,” my approach to reviewing the crazy amount of shows that will be unspooling/returning over the course of the next few weeks. Given the glut of shows, and the glut of reviews that will be published for these shows, I’m keeping things short and sweet. This is for your convenience and my sanity.

“Rosewood” premieres Wednesday, September 23, at 8:00 pm on FOX

What’s a more accurate title for this show?

“Pilot Bingo Card”

Meaning?

That you could assemble a series of tropes on a bingo card and have a very good chance of winning by the end of the third act. Want a hero with “Sherlock”-esque investigative skills? Sure! Make him a doctor? Why not! Put him into the world of crime even though he’s really got not business there? Go for it! Give him a gruff female partner with a tragic backstory? Absolutely! Want to give him a medical condition that hangs over the light procedural feel in the name of giving this show some weight? That’s all you!

So, skip this?

Of all the inessential shows this Fall, this is in the upper tier. It’s competently made, but has only lead Morris Chestnut’s (admittedly ample) charisma to distinguish it from anything of this ilk made in the last 20 years. It feels like what a highly advanced computer would create through statistical analysis of television rather than any story that NEEDS to be told by anyone involved.

But does every show really need to be groundbreaking in order to be watchable?

Hell no! But look at “Empire,” which will air after it this Fall. There’s a show with a point of view and a stylistic approach that leapt out at viewers and grabbed them by the throat. Staying within known parameters is actually more dangerous in the era of Peak TV, insomuch as there’s nothing about “Rosewood” (or most pilots, let’s be fair) that screams, “I need to watch this when it airs.” And that’s a problem in the age of “The Walking Dead,” “Empire,” and “Scandal”: Getting lumped in the middle means an increased risk of getting cancelled out. Playing to the center actually pushes you to the side.

But tell me this: Does the lead doctor have a 4,000 square foot office but only two employees? Is the primary use of the office to turn autopsies into Laser Light Shows? Is there at least one ‘80s character whose inclusion and role in this show make you question your own mortality? And does at least one character literally say, “You’re oil and I’m water?” in order to underline the combative relationship at the theoretical heart of this show?

OK, you’ve made your point. Program Of The Year.