Pulp Fiction meets Men in Black in USA Network's
latest foray into the arena of original dramatic series, GvsE.
Created by the brother film-directing team of Josh and
Jonas Pate, GvsE tracks the adventures of Chandler Smythe (Clayton Rohner), a
journalist who is killed while trying to prevent a robbery just minutes after his 40th
Because he hasn't lived the most virtuous of lives, Smythe
can't get into heaven to see his wife, who died several years earlier.
Instead, he is offered the chance to join the
"Corps," a group of coplike representatives of Almighty who are charged with
ridding the world of "morlocks" -- supernatural creatures who help mortals to
make deals with the devil.
But Corpsmen Smythe and his at-first-reluctant partner
Henry McNeil (Richard Brooks) -- who work in a shabby police-precinct-like headquarters
housed in the back of an auto-parts store -- don't have any special powers to combat the
forces of evil.
Their weapons are a dagger "soaked in the blood of
innocents," an orange Volvo and their wits.
Those wits do produce some sharp dialogue -- the verbal
interplay between McNeil, Smythe and their bosses, Ford (Marshall Bell) and Decker (Googy
Gress), is clever and funny -- although I hope future episodes of the show will include
some things that Quentin Tarantino hadn't thought of first.
As for morlocks, maybe the show's quick edits can stun them
into submission. The Pates also mirror Tarantino's frenetic visual style, using a lot of
quick cuts and odd angles. But the technique doesn't translate well to the small screen.
Making the cinematography just a tad more conventional would make things a bit easier to
While Rohner's performance comes off as a bit nonchalant,
the rest of the cast performs well -- particularly Bell and Gress as the Corps' deadpan
There are also a few cameo appearances by minor
celebrities: The narrator of our story is Deacon Jones -- yes, that Deacon Jones. And in
the episode entitled, "Buried Alive," Smythe is swapped for a morlock prisoner
named Emmanuel Lewis -- yes, that Emmanuel Lewis.
Although its first two episodes sometimes stray too far
from its premise, GvsE shows promise.
GvsE premieres Sunday (July 18) at 8 p.m. on USA.
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Mike Demenchuk has served as content manager of Broadcasting+Cable and Multichannel News since 2016. After stints as reporter and editor at Adweek, The Bond Buyer and local papers in New Jersey, he joined the staff of Multichannel News in 1999 as assistant managing editor and has served as the cable trade publication's managing editor since 2005. He edits copy and writes headlines for both the print magazine and website, wrangles the occasional e-newsletter and reviews TV shows from time to time. He's also the guy to bother with your guest blog, Fates & Fortunes and Freeze Frame submissions.