A Gang Related Community
Thursday 9:00 PM on FOX

It's that odd time of year when season finales make way for reality shows you barely even knew existed as networks put the finishing touches on their summer schedules. But the TV landscape is changing as networks push for a year-round schedule and hold some of their bigger projects for the slower, warmer months when Americans used to take their motorhomes to the Grand Canyon instead of watching television. 

Or, wait, maybe it's just that we're still in the portion of the calendar when shows that weren't good enough to air in the fall or the midseason are being burned off with crappy premiere dates because their parent networks know they won't make it? 

That's the question facing Fox's new drama Gang Related, a show that was picked up to series over a year ago. I've seen the pilot, and I'm here to hold your hand as we work through the difficult process of deciding whether to watch it or not. There, there. Dry your eyes, because it's time for another edition of Hey TV.com, Am I Supposed to Watch This?

Gang Related, so this is a show about gangs and relatives?

Basically! Ryan is a Los Angeles-raised Latino cop who's rising through the ranks of the LAPD's Gang Task Force. Congratulations to him, right? Except Ryan hasn't exactly been honest with his employers in blue. As a young man, he was raised by Javier Acosta, the leader of the feared Los Angelicos gang that's involved in all kinds of naughty stuff. In fact, Javier put Ryan on a path to join the LAPD in order to provide his gang with the kind of intel that could make them even more powerful and give them a jump on the pigs, because F the police, right? HOWEVER! Ryan likes being a cop, so he must balance living life as an informant for the gang family that raised him with cleaning up the streets. What a quandary! 

Who jumped the show in, and who stars in it?

The car chases and explosions in Gang Related will look familiar to fans of the Fast and Furious franchise, and they should: Screenwriter Chris Morgan, who wrote the dribble that comes out of Vin Diesel's mouth in five of those films, created Gang Related. Ramon Rodriguez plays conflicted cop Ryan, and Cliff Curtis plays gang leader Javier. Also starring are Terry O'Quinn (John Locke!), RZA (of the Wu-Tang Clan), Jay Hernandez (The Shield), Sung Kang (Fast and Furious), and Inbar Lavi (Underemployed). Gang Related is like a U.N. of actors! 

When does Gang Related start shootin' up the streets and kicking down doors?

Gang Related premieres Thursday, May 22 at 9pm on Fox.  

Who's going to like Gang Related?

If you're into the type of cops n' action shows that Hollywood describes as "high-octane," Gang Related might strike your fancy (you know, assuming that people who like cops n' action shows still have fancies). The show also boasts elements of The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, and The Departed as Ryan scoots along the line between loyalty and duty, with both sides pressuring him to do their bidding. But really, if you're just into being entertained by cops exploring the world of gangs in dingy L.A. warehouses, East L.A. barrios, and high-rollin' clubz, then by all means, watch away!  

What's banging about Gang Related?

Whether it's intentional or not, Gang Related is unapologetically simple in its story and character motivations, making the series feel sort of like The Shield for Dummies. There are some flashy action sequences right off the bat that carry a whiff of the car chases in The Fast and Furious, particularly in an early armored-car heist that features Ryan and his partner pushing the limits of appropriate police procedure in high-speed driving, gratuitous glass shattering, and dealing with gang members who just don't know when to quit. And you know what? I love gang stuff. Send a bunch of cops I don't care about into scary neighborhoods and pass the popcorn, because Gang Related is full of people with tattoos and funny facial hair getting killed. LOTS.

What is sagging about Gang Related?

The dialogue in the pilot is so horrifically bad that it's almost entertaining. Some examples: "It's a dangerous tightrope I'm walking here, Javier." "Which means we have a ticking clock." "Thanks to these two jokers, we took eight more chino-skins off the chessboard today." And that last one was muttered by O'Quinn, who's wasted here as a cliché-spewing police boss. Everything is predictable; you can guess what's going to happen long before it unfolds on your TV screen. And all these cops are assholes as they try to out-macho the vatos they're shaking down. But that's kind of the fun of it.

So, should I watch it?

As long as you go in with the understanding that Gang Related isn't a great or even a good show, it can provide ample entertainment in the form of gritty eye candy and hot cops wearing Kevlar and sneaking around with their guns drawn. But it's not groundbreaking in any way, as it borrows from everything else that came before it. At least it isn't I Wanna Marry Harry!

Let's take a look at a trailer!


Gang Related premieres Thursday, May 22 at 9pm on Fox.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/14/2014

Season 1 : Episode 13

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