An accountant moves into an office formerly owned by a private investigator and begins picking up side work as a private eye, after clients looking for the office's previous occupant inquire about his services.
Various mishaps at a police station in an English Hamlet. The main character is the anachronistic, yet charming and funny Inspector Fowler. CID foil to Fowler, Inspector Grim is a bumbling, seething idiot!
A novice sleuth is hired by the police after he cons them into thinking he has psychic powers that help solve crimes. With this assistance of his reluctant best friend the duo take on a series of complicated cases.
Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.
Eugine Gurkin (Donal Logue) is a janitor who scrubs toilets for the man until one day he decides to ditch the blue collar rat race, form up a group of equally downtrodden misfits and - armed with custom-made t-shirts and a plan -goes to work stealing the American dream. They call themselves The Knights of Prosperity and they "rob from the rich to give to themselves" according to Paul Shaffer's hysterical and catchy opening theme song. Their first target: Mick Jagger.
If that delicious premise doesn't get your mouth watering then you aren't jaded enough by the tired state of the sitcom to enjoy the freshness of "The Knights of Prosperity", the latest comic concoction from David Letterman's Worldwide Pants. Where celebrities, like Justin Timberlake appear to have won life's lottery, "Knights" is a show for the rest of us. The other end of the see-saw that have to scrape for everything they get. Hey, it's practically not even a crime to steal from these people. While I laughed quite hard at the first few episodes, I found myself wanting to like this show more than I actually did.
"Knights" is led by Logue in a role that deserved to give him a higher profile (forget "Grounded for Life"). But "Knights" is also a well rounded ensemble where solid stories and the best lines are given over to it's eclectic supporting cast. A hysterical Maz Jobrani almost runs off with the show as "Gary", the hot-tempered, middle-eastern cab driver who delivers the best single-eyebrow raise since Stephen Colbert. This guy should be huge.
Gary and Squatch (Lenny Venito, "The Sopranos" and just about every other show requiring an Italian character actor) have their own mini-race war going in, not to be outdone by the hilariously named Rockafeller Butts (Kevin Michael Richardson) as the show's gentle muscle and rotund Issac Hayes figure. The class system gets breached with Louis Plunk (Josh Grisetti) as the group's token square trust fund baby and the gender monopoly is broken by Esperanza (yowzer Sofia Vergara) who, naturally, Eugne has a thing for. They form a rag-tag, mad-capped version of "Ocean's 11". I love the premise, the way the plan unfolds (with mixed success) 1 episode at a time and I like the show, but it isn't entirely a success itself.
This is the kind of multi-ethnic casting you'd otherwise only see on "Lost", but now in a rag-tag comedy it becomes a playground for racial jokes but good racial jokes. A rarity on TV where politically incorrect humor for the sake of it has become the lazy norm.
You catch a show this quirky and fresh and it always now comes with that sinking feeling that you'd better enjoy it while it lasts because it won't be around for long. This is normally the part of the review where I say that the show was cut down before it's potential was explored by it's cash-grabbing short-attention-span network, and while that did happen, it unfortunately isn't the end of the story.
As it goes on "Knights" almost looks infected with a depression that comes with an awareness of it's own impending cancellation. It gives up. Falling back on silly costumes, more obvious ethnic jokes, name-dropping and stories that ask us to care about the personal lives of these characters. I won't want a morality lesson about believing in yourself or the value of friendship in a mad-capped story of a group of thieves.
Maybe the premise is too high concept and the show is coasting too softly on that, but what begins early on as a funny series of cracking one-liners finds it increasingly hard to gin up its stories into real laughs. It becomes too broad, too strained, too story-heavy. The actors are consistently fun and entertaining, but the writing does them no favors.
"The Knights of Prosperity" is a damn shame. A rocket concept with a great cast, the show was failed by predictable audience apathy, a network befuddled with what to do with it and, oddly enough, it's own increasingly tired and apathetic "we're out of here, what's the point" writing. It could have been so much fun.
* * ½ /4
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