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Tim Minear

Tim Minear - "Terriers" Tv Series - He wrote tonight’s episode

Wednesday 17 November 2010, by Webmaster

’Terriers’ Is the Best New Show of 2010: Why You Should Be Watching

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Lately I’ve heard from readers and friends who gave ’Terriers’ a try but gave up on it after an episode or three.

Go back to the show (which airs at 10PM ET Wednesdays on FX), and please, give it another shot. This complicated, very enjoyable private-detective drama is that good. It’s great, in fact.

I still have a great deal of respect for ’Boardwalk Empire,’ an excellent drama that I thought would emerge as the best new program of 2010. Don’t get me wrong, ’Boardwalk Empire’ will definitely be on my year-end Top 10 list. But I care about the characters on ’Terriers’ in a whole different way. It’s the best new show of 2010. If this ’Terriers’ goes away, which it might, thanks to low ratings, it’ll be a very bad day for quality television.

So here are five suggestions on how FX might alter the show in order to goose the ratings for a second season (which I very much want):

1. Just add zombies. Duh.

2. Rename it ’CSI: Ocean Beach’ and make the hilarious nerds that help private detective Hank Dolworth into white-jacketed lab techs.

3. Add an adorable kid and rename it ’Two and a Half Terriers’ (but please, for the love of God, don’t let Charlie Sheen anywhere near this).

4. Just add vampires. Oh, and lots of werewolves having sex in the woods. Just from a storytelling standpoint, that would make a ton of sense.

5. What if Hank and his partner, Britt, were to frequently break into song? How awesome would that be?

OK, I’m kidding. I don’t want anything about ’Terriers’ to change. There are a lot of shows out there with flaws or problems that are easy to enumerate, but I can’t think of anything I’d change about the show (aside from its name, but it’s too late to fix that now).

’Terriers’ did have some issues, as they say, but only one of them was manifest in the show itself: The pilot didn’t do a great job of showing how dramatically compelling the show could be (and that’s not the end of the world — many shows need a few episodes or entire seasons to find themselves). Also, it obviously has a terrible name that doesn’t tell people what the show is about, and the marketing campaign confused people further (it is not a show about dogs).

’Terriers’ also a bit of a hybrid — it’s a very smart yet very laid-back buddy comedy and also a detective story that draws on the best of noir film and fiction. That offbeat combination may have put some people off at first, but that hybrid quality is far from being a flaw. Now that ’Terriers’ has settled into a rhythm of telling terrific weekly stories and unfolding a bigger, season-long plot, it’s become not just a showcase for thoughtful storytelling but for great performances from Donal Logue as Hank, Michael Raymond-James as Britt, Laura Allen as Katie, Jamie Denbo as Maggie, Karina Logue as Hank’s sister Steph and Rockmond Dunbar as Hank’s former partner, Mark.

What’s most impressive is how fluid and natural the world of ’Terriers’ is: Hank, Britt and their friends and loved ones seem very real, complicated and human. They’re full of believable flaws and yet their plights are intriguing and emotionally compelling. It’s very rare to come across a show that is well plotted, well acted and has a deep, compassionate view of human nature. ’Terriers’ has all that and a deft sense of humor too.

It very much feels as though executive producer Shawn Ryan and executive producer/creator Ted Griffin are just getting started telling stories about these people and about the scruffy, memorable community of Ocean Beach. If the show’s writers and actors don’t get a chance to explore this distinctive world more fully in a second season, that would be an enormous disappointment. I was prepared to let go of ’Rubicon,’ which had terrific characters but a flawed ending. I’m not at all prepared to let go of ’Terriers,’ and I urge you very strongly to get back on board with this show. Yes, you can drop in this week without any trouble, even if you haven’t been watching lately.

Tonight’s episode is a flashback to a dark time in Hank Dolworth’s life, and Donal Logue does a masterful job of playing the former cop’s obsessions and regrets, past and present. The episode was written by ’Buffy’ veteran Tim Minear, a ’Terriers’ executive producer, and it’s a fascinating, surprising character study that will draw you in even if you’ve never seen the show before.

Critic Alan Sepinwall wrote a terrific piece on why ’Terriers’ is worth saving, and I agree 100 percent with what he wrote. I urge you to give ’Terriers’ another try and if you like or love the show, email FX at user@fxnetworks.com to tell the network how much you want it to come back. Take to Twitter and Facebook and blogs to tell the world how good this show is. Download episodes from iTunes, rent a skywriting plane if you care to. Spread the word, that’s all I’m saying.

Like terriers, let’s not give up.

For my original review of ’Terriers,’ look here. An interview with Logue and Raymond-James is here. A podcast interview with co-creator Shawn Ryan is here. A piece by Ryan McGee on why the show is so great is here.