Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"E-Ring" no "West Wing"

San Francisco Examiner:
""E-Ring" (premiering at 9 p.m. today on NBC) — And speaking of dull, this high-minded drama wants to do for the Pentagon what "The West Wing" did for the White House. Mission not accomplished. Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper bring plenty of heft to their roles as Pentagon bureaucrats, but there's only so much they can do with these lifeless characters and the flat dialogue."

South Florida Sun Sentinel:
"It's E-Ring's subject matter that could lead to longevity issues (although being scheduled against Lost might make this a moot point). The Pentagon is merely a step in the chain of command. The West Wing, which was the inspiration for this show, is where the buck stops. Moreover, the rigid military structure isn't as conducive to free thinking, in-fighting and back-stabbing as the politically obsessed White House, although E-Ring would have the audience believe otherwise."

New York Times:
"In the office politics of the Building, a snooty naysayer impedes the Shanghai mission, and just to make sure contempt for him is emphasized, McNulty mocks his golf game: "I hope he gets skulled in the head by a golf ball real soon." Really, the aims of the show couldn't be simpler: give the macho dudes their weapons and get outta their way. Anyone who resists or doubts is made to look fussy or daft or feminized. One balking diplomat is, of course, French, and McNulty insults him by calling him Françoise instead of François. I sympathize, to a degree, with anyone who wants the debate club on "The West Wing" to give it a rest sometimes, but "E-Ring" sweeps away the subtleties as it raises the stakes. The plots so far are mere ploys to oversimplify big questions to a choice between the go-getters and the thumb-suckers."

Calendar Live:
"Dennis Hopper is not an alien, although we like him to play strange or eccentric or hubristic people; it's what makes him lovable. On "E-Ring," which, lands like a bad spinoff of "The West Wing," he plays Col. McNulty. McNulty works for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expert in clandestine missions; he has a German shepherd named Otto and likes classic rock..."

Arizona Republic

" The big problem is the premise. You know those scenes in The West Wing where the president sends the National Security Council off to perform some sort of miraculous rescue or mission? E-Ring, in theory, is a show about what happens next. But, while we see some action on the ground, it's told from the point of view of the decision-makers. It's like televising a football game from the point of view of the team's owner and general manager. Once the decisions are made, who cares?"

"Remember those scenes on "The West Wing""The West Wing" when the Joint Chiefs assemble in the "situation room" to tackle some faraway threat? Reprise the tension with none of the intelligence, inject flag-waving machismo and high-tech imagery, and what's left is this Jerry Bruckheimer drama. Given its mindset, there's frankly too much jawing and not enough cracking heads in the first two episodes, at least if the show is going to appeal to an action audience as well as those who simply enjoy seeing Benjamin Bratt in a snug uniform."

Quad City Times
"E-Ring (8 p.m. NBC, beginning Sept. 21) — Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of every fifth show on television, brings this look at the Pentagon to television. It’s not on par with “The West Wing.” It’s more like “Air Force One.” Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper (Dennis Hopper?) star. Assessment: Slick but forgettable. Grade: C"

Palm Beach Post
"NBC, 9-10 p.m. (starts Sept. 21)

The story: A drama about the inner workings of The Pentagon. Think The West Wing meets any loud Jerry Bruckheimer movie."

Capital Times:
""E-Ring," NBC, Sept. 21. While the liberals are watching "The West Wing," NBC hopes it can attract conservatives to this two-fisted tale of life in the Pentagon, starring Benjamin Bratt and Dennis Hopper. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, "CSI" mastermind, so I'm willing to give it a shot."

Eclipse Magazine:
"‘E-Ring’ comes off as a merger between ‘J.A.G.’ and ‘The West Wing’ [Post-Sorkin], It’s not a bad show, but it’s certainly not as good as it should be. Part of that is Bratt, but part of it is writing that tries to be too many things all at once – and usually at the least likely times. There’s potential here, but with NBC’s ratings woes, there really wasn’t a good place to schedule the show. If it holds anything resembling reasonable ratings, it could play out the season. If not, well, it won’t be any great loss."

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