Copper Debuts to Moderately Good Reviews

    August 20, 2012
    Sean Patterson
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Copper, the new, “gritty,” drama from the BBC premiered on BBC America last night. Reviews for the show are mostly good, though not spectacular. While reviewers generally enjoyed the themes, setting, and backstory in the premiere episodes, the characters and tropes used in the show were considered old hat.

Copper is the story of Detective Kevin Corcoran, an officer for the 1864 New York City Metropolitan Police. While investigating the murder of a child prostitute that reminds him of his own daughter, he and his partners move from the brothels and slums of Five Points to classy Uptown residences.

Robert Lloyd of LA Times had a fairly positive review for Copper, calling it “rather good.” He declared the straightforward morality of Copper to be “refreshing,” though he thought its depiction of Five Points looked a little too “clean.” IGN’s Matt Fowler couldn’t get into the show’s characters, but thought the show’s premiere “has some good seeds planted down.”

Most reviewers seems to be taking a wait-and-see approach, which is understandable for a slow-building drama. Though many TV series, such as Mad Men or Deadwood, can be judged by their first episode, some take time to settle in and propel characters on interesting trajectories.

One word of advice: if you are planning on watching Copper but haven’t seen Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, go ahead and avoid the movie. Set in the same time period as Copper, Gangs of New York is a masterpiece starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio. Certainly see it eventually, but I suspect more enjoyment will come from Copper if you avoid seeing the movie, which can’t help but overshadow the series.

  • Andrea

    Loved it!

  • Sherra

    Loved the show “Copper”. Has plenty of grit and gloom and definitely, should be “R” rated. Looking forward to more shows and knowing more about the main characters. It’s a jewel among most TV programs aired now. Love period pieces.

  • Anonymous

    I loved Gangs of New York and that’s WHY I wanted to see this show– it’s not a determent. Obviously this isn’t a Scorsese movie, but it’s not meant to be the same. Watch the show, watch the movie and enjoy this interesting time period in America’s history.

  • Panda

    My boss at Dish recommended I watch “Copper” and it wasn’t bad. I don’t think it was the depiction of Five Points that was too clean but I do think everyone’s wardrobe was; prostitutes excluded. While I was at the bar I watched the “Copper” premier at Dish Online and a lot of the time the costumes looked like they just came off the shelf, which is not what you would expect in a time where buying new clothing was very rare. Corky’s persona was awesome but the rest of the characters personalities seem a little thin. I think I’ll give “Copper” another week before I set it down. This show has a lot of potential.

  • Beyoungyou

    Copper is a winner, and the eye-candy is a real treat. If men were that good looking back then, well…where’s my time machine?

  • Disappointed

    I so wanted to love this show. I love period pieces. The first couple of episodes really drew me in and I kept hoping the characters would develop a little deeper. After 5 episodes, I’m growing weary and finding even less to like about any of them.

    The show is proving to be very weak on all fronts. The acting and direction are mediocre at best. If there was a richness of the time and culture I could forgive even those shortcomings. But unlike other series set in historic times, the viewer learns very little about the subtleties of life in NY during the 1860s. Even the sets seem very contrived. Rather than character development, we are given caricatures. The women are all either victims in need of rescuing or whores; the men are all either corrupt (policemen, business tycoons), pedophiles, drunkards or a combination thereof. Except of course for the hero, Kevin Corcoran who is put forth as a saint amongst sinners.

    The themes are belabored to death. Sexual exploitation of women and children, police corruption, racism – these are all powerful themes that could be richly woven into the background of the story but instead we are smacked in the face over and over with these ideas.

    The foundations are here for a great series so I will keep tuning in for a while to see if the writers are able to make me care about any of the characters. If I can’t fall in love with any of the characters, then I need to fall in love with the history, both the major events of the time and the mundane little details, and feel how they affect, change and define the lives of those living in both Five Points and Uptown.