Animal Kingdom Review – TNT’s New Series Tries To Be Tough, But Comes Up Weak

Animal Kingdom Review – TNT’s New Series Tries To Be Tough, But Comes Up Weak

I have a rule when it comes to new television series – give it three episodes before you make a decision if you’re going to continue to watch it. This week that rule was put to the test, after watching the 2-hour premiere of TNT’s new crime drama, Animal Kingdom. Getting to that third episode next week is going to take a bit of will-power, after a very disappointing debut.



Finn Cole, Scott Speedman, Ellen Barkin, Sean Hatosy, Jake Weary and Ben Robson star in TNT's Animal Kingdom. Photo Credit: ©Steven Lippman

Finn Cole, Scott Speedman, Ellen Barkin, Sean Hatosy, Jake Weary and Ben Robson star in TNT’s Animal Kingdom. Photo Credit: ©Steven Lippman

There were big expectations for the John Wells produced drama, largely due to its cast and the visual promotion leading up to its premiere. Rugged looking male casts members, a Emmy and Tony Award winning leading lady and a California backdrop which prompted thoughts the “Fast and Furious” films – Animal Kingdom seemed to have a recipe for instant success. But it was where the cast and script attempted to be tough, that ended up being its weakness.

One of the big failures of the new TNT drama, is the lack of organic chemistry between the actors, and at times between them and their own on-screen personalities. After just fifteen minutes into the show’s pilot and you tend to feel like you’re being force-fed doses of supposed “grit” and “drama” that just don’t come off as legit. A scene involving a blow up by the character Craig Cody, played by actor Ben Robson over being awakened by the sound of a juicer, was one such example. The former Vikings star seems to struggle with his new role which comes off as strained and over-played.

Animal Kingdom Cast

Ben Robson, Scott Speedman and Jake Weary in TNT’s Animal Kingdom. Photo by: ©EDDY CHEN

That sentiment is true for almost the entire main cast, with the exception of Finn Cole. The Peaky Blinders actor who plays the lead role of Joshua “J” Cody, around which the series is based, delivers a decent performance as a young man struggling with the darkness of his new family. But even his storyline, seems rushed.

Beyond that, it was hard to not take notice of the staccato style rhythm of most of the scenes. Rather than each moment flowing into the other with a realistic tempo, more than once things seemed to take a pause before appearing to shout “I’m being really angry right now” or “look I’m smoking a joint cause I’m bad”.

Episode 2 didn’t bring much more than what was seen in the first, which isn’t a good sign for what lies ahead. There are many things to dial in within the next two episodes if Animal Kingdom is going to last.

Having so much going for it from a resources perspective, and yet not delivering at the start, is the real crime in this drama.

Give it a watch and let us know what you think.

Animal Kingdom Trailer

Animal Kingdom is produced by John Wells Productions in association with Warner Horizon Television. Catch it on TNT Tuesday’s at 9/8c.

 

By: Wayne Andres

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Wayne Andres

Creator, Editor In Chief at DaysTune.com - "I went on a Twitter rant once; no one cared - Celebrities have all the fun".

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