Fall TV Guide: “Law & Order: Los Angeles”

Remember when the original “Law & Order” died and we were all very distraught? Well, “Law & Order: Los Angeles” is the phoenix that has risen from its ashes. The new child of the mega crime drama franchise premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on NBC. Here is what you need to know to decide if you should tune in or wait for the endless reruns to hit basic cable …This installment boasts a big-shot cast, and I’m not talking Ice-T kind of notoriety here. “Law & Order: Los Angeles” regulars include seasoned actors like Terrence Howard, Alfred Molina, and, uh, Skeet Ulrich. That is a pretty big talent pool and is sure to draw in some viewers, like myself. But the many offshoots of the “Law & Order” franchise have all featured big names at one time or another. So what does this show have to offer?

The main thing that sets “Los Angeles” apart from its similar brethren is location. This is the first time that any of the series have set foot on the West Coast and this will probably be the factor that decides the show’s fate. Most of the “Law & Order” spin-offs have stuck around for a reasonable amount of time and developed a fan base. But times are changing and consumers are well aware that if they wait long enough, they can watch the show when it becomes syndicated and reruns all the damn time.

Will the switch to the “wild west” attract enough viewers to get the show running? If the “Los Angeles” goes the way of the “CSI” series, a change in venue should only attract more viewers. And after over a decade of filming in New York, going to Hollywood could provide new crimes and spins on the usual plots. Plus, long-time fans will be happy to hear that change in location did not mean the death of the transitional “chung chung” sound effect. So at least we have that to look forward to.

Overall, “Law & Order: Los Angeles” looks like a show you can get behind if you are already a fan of the series. If you are not into episodic crime dramas than the only thing you will find here is probably a few more bikinis than in the other “L&O”s.

So, who will be tuning in to see how “Law & Order” weathers California?