TV Review - Power

Omari Hardwick in "Power"
I almost wish this series was the African-American version of Breaking Bad, which by the end saw an average white man become a powerful drug kingpin. Yet, the show was more about the mechanics and watching that man take that journey. This series starts with the kingpin already established and what follows being about him trying to hold onto what he has, while perhaps still being slightly greedy. In that case, the series becomes a weekly New Jack City (1991), except the show will probably not be interested in showing the damages or effects of the drugs in the community. This makes it actually more like Breaking Bad but less like The Wire, which in terms of aspirations or intentions doesn't even come close.

Created by Emmy-nominated Courtney Kemp Agboh (The Good Wife), it does have at its core Omari Hardwick (Kick-Ass and Sparkle) who has occupied this space in films like Next Day Air, but has been less appreciated. He's probably been more successful in his romantic roles like his recent stint in BET's Being Mary Jane. Here, in the first episode titled, "Not Exactly How We Planned," he swings from being a well-dressed businessman to a thug to a tough, inattentive husband to a sweet, hopeless romantic. Hardwick is believable in every instant, but it's all framed in expected and predictable ways. It got to a point where I ceased to care about Hardwick's character, nicknamed Ghost.

There were aspects that I found fascinating. Ghost looks like he's a black man but he speaks pretty fluent Spanish. His right-hand-man is a white guy named Tommy, played by Joseph Sikora (True Detective and Banshee) who seems to be a low-rent Cole Hauser.

Also, his wife Tasha, played by Naturi Naughton (Notorious and Fame), overhears Ghost and Tommy talk about the drug business. At first, the scene is played like she wasn't supposed or isn't allowed to hear such talk. Later, she speaks to Ghost in a way that feels like she's totally aware of what he does beyond the front of running a night club. It's simply a wonder if she is like the character of Skylar by the end of Breaking Bad or not.

By the end of the first episode though, Tasha sees Ghost make moves that strongly indicate he's going to have an affair with an old girlfriend named Angela Valdez, played by Lela Loren who can be seen concurrently in the FOX series Gang Related. It's revealed that Angela might be an old flame of Ghost but she's also the assistant district attorney trying to bust him.

Tasha makes the choice not to confront him, but instead she does something provocative and somewhat reckless. It turns out to be nothing, but that act might need to be explained. You get the sense their marriage is solid, but apparently not. He obviously has his issues and pressures, but they seemed solidly in love.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-MA.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Saturdays at 9PM on Starz.


Popular Posts