"The quirky NBC crime drama "Life" gets a second season, featuring understated British actor Damian Lewis as LA detective Charlie Crews, who spent 12 years in prison for a mass murder he didn't commit before returning to duty anchored by the Zen Buddism he learned to survive his incarceration. His partner is detective Dani Reese (Sara Shahi), recovering substance abuser and daughter of the policeman who may have helped frame Crews. The pair are assisted by Bobby Stark (Brent Sexton), Crews' last buddy from his former days on the force. Their new boss is Lieutenant Kevin Tidwell (Donal Logue), a transfer from New York who seems out of place in laid-back LA but who learns to appreciate Crews and Reese for very different reasons. Adam Arkin returns as Ted Early, once Charlie's white collar criminal cellmate.
The new season follows a familar formula: the detectives each week are handed a new case that proves far more complicated than first appearances. Crews' Zen Buddist approach invariably provides unique, unexpected, and often humorous insights to cases involving, for example, a murder during a student prison experiment, the landing of a plane by a dead astronaut, and the suffocation of a rock star impersonator.
The weekly cases also allow the viewer to watch the slow blossoming of the relationship between Crews and a once skeptical Reese. Crews is by turns a quirky but kind searcher for truth and a shockingly tough cop, a combination Reese learns to value. As Reese learns the truth about her father, she and Crews will discover they have more in common than just a badge.
In a parallel story arc, Crews secretly unravels clues to the conspiracy responsible for his frameup. That conspiracy has expanded to include a mysterious group of retired policemen, one or more rogue FBI agents, and a charming but ruthless Russian mob boss. The conspiracy seems uncannily aware of Crews' every move, and acts ruthlessly to protect itself by attacking Crews, sending Ted Early unjustly back to prison, and endangering Dani Reese. In the outstanding season finale, Crews will combine his Zen and his cop skills to ransom a kidnapped Dani and finally confront a ruthless killer. Series fans will not be disappointed.
"Life: Season Two" on DVD is very highly recommended to fans of this unique police procedural. This reviewer hopes against the ratings numbers that "Life" will get a third season."
Life - NBC's Most Underrated Show on TV
Angela G. Birt | Baghdad, Iraq | 04/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first season of Life was strike abbreviated and just enough to get you hooked on the premise, the characters and the writing. But Season Two of the show was like opening a gift - both in terms of the acting, writing, technical direction, choice of interesting LA venues and wonderful camera work; and advancing the story arc of Crews wrongful imprisonment's genesis. The relationship of Crews and Reese has become stable and supportive, that's not to say that Charlie Crews (Damian Lewis) still doesn't irritate, exasperate and often amaze Dani Reese (Sarah Shahi), but they are balanced and he's not constantly rescuing the "maiden in distress". This season you get to see the cracks in Charlie's Zen armor and the effect his trust and confidence has on a very distrusting Dani. And as much as it pains me to admit it, Captain Kevin Tidwell (Donal Logue) has proven to be more than a comedic foil. He's a real person who adds to the story and helps the team through the season, whilst continuing a irregular and illicit romantic relationship with Dani. But he's good for her and that relationship moves Dani toward the season finale reveal that most viewers were looking for with Crews. It's about how you find your faith again, the renewal of trust and the connections we make and the importance and wonder of love (in all forms).
The appearance of wonderful guest stars doesn't take the focus off the central relationship in the series, that of Crews and Reese. That being said, the series was really enriched by the choices of guest stars like:
Garrett Dillahunt (as the ever slimy Russian thug Roman Nevikov) William Atherton (as the only tangible piece of the conspiracy we see this season- Mickey Rayborne) Helen McCrory (as the security expert Amanda Puryer - hired by Rayborne and used by Crew) Gabrielle Union (as the overachieving junior Detective Jane Seever -who I didn't hate nearly as much as I thought I would when I heard she was replacing Sarah Shahi)
I am always amazed at the incredible amount of information conveyed by Damian Lewis' facial expressions and eyes. He continues to say more with just a look than half the actors on TV can with their mouths in 45 minutes. The manner in which the producers dealt with Sarah's pregnancy was inventive and kept her link with Crews alive. It made me realize that I missed Sarah too. She is an integral part of the team and without her presence the show lists and meanders- when Sarah and Damian are together you feel the link, the balance, the connection. Sometimes they don't have to be present in the same shot, but speaking about each other or two each other. It was also very apparent that Crews missed Reese and vice versa. It's very clear that Charlie has one partner and it's Dani. The realization that he comes to in the finale is poignant without being overplayed and leaves much room for growth, drama and conflict in the third season this show richly deserves.
It is an ever increasingly disappointing social commentary on us as viewers that talent show TV survives and thrives, when gems like this struggle to win their niche in TV land. Only by respecting and appreciating "gifts' like LIFE can we hope for continued good television. If you haven't seen Life yet, check it out. You are in for a treat, in terms of talent, writing, sheer entertainment value and visually arresting shots and venues.
And who knows... if you listen you might just learn something from Crews - that you don't have to understand here to be here. For now, I'll appreciate the now of Life's Second Season and try not to think about where we're going next (......but I'm secretly hoping it is Season Three)."
Great Zen Crime Show
D. M MITULSKI | St. Louis, MO USA | 05/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How often can you say that? I'm usually happy with anything that's not Reality TV. But this show leaves you craving more. Even though the Second Season wraps up some of the answers of Charlie Crew's conspiracy theory, there are still a lot left. I'm hoping NBC lets USA pick up a new person for their 'Characters Welcome' add. I can't imagine not seeing this show for a few more seasons. I would love to see Charlie and his first partner, Bobby, work together on some more cases. And now that Shahi has had her baby, she can get back to work as Charlie's best partner, Dani. Regardless, Season Two is great to watch over and over. If you haven't got Season One yet, make it a dual purchase. It's worth the money."
HOW TO KILL A GREAT SERIES
Gerald Schoenburg | MOORPARK, CA USA | 08/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you ever wonder why NBC is the cellar dweller, wonder no more. They take very good shows like this and Journeyman, jack them around on the schedule, underpublicize them, and there you have it. One of the best cop shows on TV, and now it's gone.
You can see and feel the frustration in the last few shows on the actor's faces.
There are several eloquent and detailed reviews here, so no reason to go over the same issues.
Cheers was a new show that was at the bottom of the ratings. Brandon Tartikoff the NBC honcho at the time, saw the quality of the show and stayed with it. Cheers turned out to be a blockbuster hit in it's second year. Life never had a chance. We watched every episode but what a chore trying to find it!
TOO BAD for us and NBC...."
Why is this show gone????
P. A. Frank | No Va | 07/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really will miss this show. I bought season one and I had never before purchased a tv series. It seems a silly notion, but not with LIFE. I watch it again and again and I'm sure I will do the same with season 2. Too bad that the channel couldn't stop moving it around and find it a nice home for 4-5 years. I would have purchased every season!"