I didn’t know this show even existed until it was featured on Netflix. I’m a big fan of the movie trilogy and am cautious about the movie reboot coming late this summer. So naturally, a televisions series with different actors had me on the edge of my seat. Ready to cheer or get up and change the channel, so to speak. It is Netflix after all.
One Important Note – the TV Rating.
The show is originally filmed for French-Canadian audiences, and according to US TV Parental Guidelines, this show would be rated TV-MA (L,N). However TNT had picked up the show to air during prime time Saturday nights in the US with an advertised rating of TV – 14 (D, L, V). One can conclude that these were edited for content. However, Netflix does show the original season 1 in its original order and content. Beware of Netflix showing a TV-14 rating because of the TNT broadcasts. Mind you, I haven’t seen the TNT broadcasts to confirm any editing of content.
The Feedback on the Show
The comments I read on the Netflix reviews page showed viewers’ lack of memory regarding the films. Many said that they felt the pilot episode was just a poor remix of the movies and turned them off. The films certainly had their key elements that drew in teenage and twenty-something boys: sexy chicks, fast cars, and martial arts-inspired fighting. However, many forgot the cheesy lines and predictable story lines from the films. The fight scenes and car chases are unique for each episode and are often the highlight as per the formula derived from the films.
The only familiar face from the movies is Inspector Tarconi played by François Berléand . Drawing from the third film, Frank has a trusty mechanic, this time called Dieter, and Frank now has a handler that arranges his “deals.” These new faces and characters are required to develop new stories for episodes and build a back (and forward) story for our hero.
As for “the show would be better with Jason Stathom”, I don’t think so. Jason has never done television work. Chris Vance is quite capable of taking the driver’s seat. In fact, many reviewers thought he was one of the redeeming qualities of the show.
It’s unfortunate that the first several episodes turned off some the movie fans because of the adult content and PG-13 expectation from the films. Honestly, I think the show could be successful without the TV-MA rating and delving more into the crew aspect that Frank has around him now. There’s still the gap of Frank going from being a lone wolf with necessary contacts to suddenly becoming directed by a handler and constantly phoning his mechanic about what he did to his car. I would have preferred that the first season develop that story arc of Frank building a team around him, something reminiscent of him building up a Special Ops team like back in his military days. There is a great amount of room for character development that you don’t get with a 90 minute film, even if you make three of them.
My Forecast for the Show:
I don’t know how long this show will last without resolving the concerns I mentioned about the story gap and the TV rating/editing in the US. Many shows live or die based on their success in large markets such as the US. Perhaps there’s enough of a European following to keep this show alive, but many European programs don’t have the longevity that many American television shows do. Although, it has already made it through two 12 episode seasons.
I’d be surprised if it makes it past a third season. Perhaps the film reboot this summer will spurn some interest in the show, or even create a new direction. — Transporter: Refueled reportedly introduces Frank’s father.