Showtime has created a niche market for itself with pseudo comedies starring unlikable lead characters. Now it is adding to its roster with "House of Lies."
The series follows the exploits of consulting firm Galweather & Stern, which is led by Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan, a cutthroat consultant who has no boundaries when it comes to business. Kristen Bell plays his associate Jeannie Van Der Hooven, a business psychology major who sees through all of Marty's crap.
While Cheadle and Bell are able to hold some viewer interest based on talent and charm, the premise so far seems a little thin and needs to be fleshed out.
One major hurdle for the show is that besides Bell, the other characters are not only unlikable, they're uninteresting.
In the pilot she's the only one who seems to make any sense.
Perhaps the writers should spend more time on character development and less time on how cool everyone is.
Marty's major competition comes from his crazy ex-wife who runs the No. 1 management consulting firm to Marty's No. 2. They have a son who has gender identity issues that Marty simultaneously dislikes and supports.
Cheadle holds Marty together as best he can, but it feels like he's painfully aware he's better than the material he's been given.
The main problem with "House of Lies" is that it seems all over the place, like it can't decide what show it wants to be. This is common in early episodes of new series, though viewers will only wait so long before it becomes too much work to stay invested in a group of unlikable hipsters.