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'Backstrom' react: The Fox anti-hero trend continues

Fox loves protagonists who audiences hate to love, and at times, the prickly but brilliant anti-hero motif has been a huge hit for the network. House was a cornerstone of Fox for years, with smaller hits like Lie to Me lasting only a few seasons, and duds like Rake… well, even Fox has forgotten about Rake.

Backstrom follows in that mold with another surly but brilliant mind at the forefront. Detective Everett Backstrom, played by Rainn Wilson, is a Portland detective in the Special Crimes Unit who makes wild leaps based on intuition, has an attitude more prickly than a hedgehog’s back, and shows as much concern for his health as he does for whether he’s offending those around him—almost none.

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'Backstrom,' '12 Monkeys,' and why toxic Gen Xers just need to die already

From Homer Simpson to Gregory House, Profit to Rake, Lie To Me to Gracepoint, the Fox Broadcasting Company has a history of trying to amuse Americans with protagonists who act like total dicks—to varying degrees of prickishness, and with varying degrees of success. They aren’t alone in this, of course. In fact, television has turned the total dick into such a thing that Fox can market Backstrom, the network’s latest offering in the genre, with the line “Brilliant Detective, Total Dick“—at least in Los Angeles. Other cities get “Brilliant Detective, Total Jerk.” Appreciate that Fox thinks only Angelenos can handle dick humor.

That television can now present the anti-hero archetype as something of a knowing cultural joke on a billboard is another literal sign that the whole anti-hero craze of the early 21st century has lost its punch. A potent expression of any number of things—a critique of masculinity, a response to the political climate, a comment on justice after 9/11—has become a hollow gesture. Yet one of the problems with this dreary dramedy is that it can’t decide if it wants to make us laugh at the trope or move us with it. READ FULL STORY

Fox markets 'Backstrom' with 'total dick' ad

Fox is going bold with advertising for its new midseason dramedy Backstrom.

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Check out a first look at Rainn Wilson's Fox dramedy 'Backstrom'

Beets, bears, Battlestar GalacticaBackstrom?

The Office’s Rainn Wilson is returning to TV in Fox’s dramedy Backstrom, in which he plays the titular self-destructive and bigoted detective. Fox released the first promo for the series, which also stars Dennis Haysbert and Kristoffer Polaha:

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Greetings from Vancouver: Battling the rain for a marathon session of TV set visits

Move over, Hollywood, the much chillier Vancouver, Canada, has become a hot shooting spot, thanks to its tax breaks and unique ability to stand in for everything from sleepy Maine towns to superhero metropolises (even if its outdoor locales prove tricky in keeping secrets from fans). I suited up for a whopping eight set visits in four days to find out what makes Vancouver and the actors who call it their (temporary) home so special. (Feel free to play a drinking game with the words “rain” and “cold.” I dare you.)

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'Backstrom': First Look at Fox's new Rainn Wilson crime procedural -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

Rainn Wilson is coming back to TV, but this time, he’s left the tie at home.

Above is an exclusive First Look at The Office alum in the new series Backstrom, from Bones creator Hart Hanson. Picked up for 13 episodes by Fox back in January, the show — billed as a “subversive and comic crime procedural” — follows the story of Everett Backstrom (Wilson), a brilliant but irascible Portland detective who returns to the job five years after being exiled for his often offensive behavior.

On the show, based on Leif G.W. Persson’s series of books of the same name, Wilson stars alongside (from left) Page Kennedy, Beatrice Rosen, Dennis Haysbert, Thomas Dekker, Kristoffer Polaha, and Genevieve Angelson.

Backstrom does not yet have a premiere date.

 

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