The characters of “Smith” are, to be frank, a bunch of assholes. They deceive their loved ones, taser innocent bystanders and steal expensive paintings, all in the name of their profession. Such are the demanding, high-profile lives of professional thieves. And with “Ocean’s Eleven” and its sequel such big hits, it’s inevitable that CBS would try to steal some of the audience for a poor man’s version with Ray Liotta (“Narc”) standing in for George Clooney.

Angela Cesere
“Stare at me long enough and I start to blend in.” (Courtesy of CBS)

“Smith” banks on the idea that explosions, fighting and car chases translate well to the small screen, which might be a fair assumption. After all, viewers’ TV rooms are morphing into home theaters and the threshold on TV material continues to rise steadily. The margin of difference between Hollywood and television is constantly narrowing, and “Smith,” a TV show with big-budget special effects, could be a successful product of the increasing technological unity between film and television.

But many critics dislike these shows – and these movies – for the same reason audiences seem to like them. The dialogue is routine, the music is an unrelenting pulse and, in the case of “Smith,” the concept of thieves trying to lead normal, everyday lives takes away the one thing that made them interesting in the first place. “Ocean’s Eleven” worked because it gave the audience a titillating two-hour peek, but “Smith” is on every week. Writers will soon learn there are only so many valuables to steal and banks to rob. Thrills and chases might be everywhere, but the lack of substance serves the show poorly — Liotta in a ski mask might hide his aging grimace, but not the show’s inanity.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *