Having recently read Maureen Ryan’s less than glowing review of THE BLACK DONNELLYS my expectations going into NBC’s latest stab at SOPRANOS success couldn’t have been any lower.
Yet as the episode ended (with what’s become the standard, yet massively overused music montage — thank you OC!), I found myself surprisingly compelled to tune into next week’s episode. Sure the show is full of Irish clichés (we get it, the Irish like to drink and brawl) and I don’t know how seriously I can take a group of mobsters that actually come up with the nickname ‘Joey Ice Cream’, but overall I found the story interesting — and more importantly — the four brothers incredibly likable.
Special mention goes out to youngest brother Tommy Donnelly (Jonathan Tucker). Who delivers a fantastic performance as the one brother who has the brains and talent to make a life for himself, if only he could leave his knuckle-head brothers behind. Of course this being television, and the show revolving around four brothers (not three), Tommy isn’t going anywhere. Reiterated by Joey Ice Cream’s final narration of the episode “… and whether he realized it or not… Tommy had just taken over the neighborhood, and it was up to him to protect it.” Well, duh! (Note to writers: give the audience a little credit it. We don’t need the narrator to spoon feed us everything!)
THE BLACK DONNELLYS has been taking a lot of flack this week for not living up to THE SOPRANOS. But is it really fair to continuously compare every mob drama to one of the most ground-breaking and critically acclaimed shows on television? Sure Tommy Donnelly isn’t about to be confused with the likes of Tony Soprano anytime soon — but with three brothers on his side, he deserves the time to at least step up to the ring and compete.
THE BLACK DONNELLYS airs on Monday nights at 10PM on NBC.
THE BLACK DONNELLYS AROUND THE WEB
Want to watch those fantastic final few minutes again? Head on over to my friends at BuzzSugar. They’ve got video of the ending, along with a really interesting controversy with regards to an alternative ending that wasn’t aired.