Ryan's 'Shark'-bait Earns Positive Reviews

By Michelle
September 21, 2006 - 5:57 PM

Shark, the new CBS series starring Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) alongside James Woods, will debut at 10 p.m. Eastern time tonight. Intial reviews were largely positive, particularly of Woods.

  • The Washington Post's veteran critic Tom Shales writes of the titlular Shark, "As brilliantly played by James Woods, the character is one fabulous rat." Shales calls Shark "one of the season's best and fastest-moving new dramas" while he says of the star, "James Woods isn't just a big star; he is a great actor."

  • Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette claims that "'Shark' swims circles around the competition", labeling Woods' character a loveable jerk and guessing that the character will play well to the network's audiences, for he has "enough bite not to be boring but with enough of a soul buried deep beneath his hardened shell to not turn off CBS's mainstream audience."

  • "Woods gives CBS' Shark lots of bite," agrees David Kronke at L.A.'s Daily News. The series receives three and a half out of four stars in this review, which calls Woods "great fun to watch, bringing the same sort of wired, crazily self-righteous energy he infused into his Oscar-nominated turn in Salvador."

  • Kevin D. Thompson at The Palm Beach Post believes that "if any actor was born to play such a showy role, it's Woods, whose own personal life has been at times, well, a little showy. Besides no actor plays scary intensity better than the two-time Emmy winner." He particularly enjoyed the interplay between Shark and his daughter, and said that Shark will probably sleep with Ryan's character, and ambitious district attorney, "around November sweeps."

  • Screen Rant's Vic Holtreman (also at BlogCritics.org) feels that the ending of the episode devolved into schmaltz but enjoyed the rest of the episode. "I absolutely love to watch James Woods work, and here he has a meaty role," he writes. "Except for that last couple of minutes, I really enjoyed it and let's face it, the real reason to watch the show is to see James Woods do his thing in what is a perfect role for him."

  • "The sheer force of James Woods' magnetic persona...lifts the new show out of otherwise murky waters," writes Kelly Jane Torrance at The Washington Times. "Jousting scenes between Mr. Woods and Miss Ryan are particularly engaging...it probably doesn't hurt that DA Jessica Devlin is played by the voluptuous, blond Jeri Ryan."

  • USA Today's Robert Bianco agrees that Woods is better than the material, blasting the drama for "its fascist view of the legal system, in which the state is always right and defense attorneys are some unnecessary evil." Bianco isn't impressed by most of the cast either: "The only actor who registers next to Woods is winsome Danielle Panabaker as Stark's teenage daughter." However, because of Woods, "You won't exactly believe in Sebastian Stark, sharp-tongued legal warrior extraordinaire, but odds are you will enjoy him."

Shark will premiere tonight after the season premiere of CSI on CBS. Details from the network are here.

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