TV Review: 'The Bronx Is Burning'
After an inauspicious loss to Cincinnati's Big Red Machine in the 1976
The problem is that while all of those things are certainly happening in the background, the first three episodes of The Bronx Is Burning boil down to nothing more than the George-Billy-Reggie show. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Director Jeremiah S. Chechik (
The non-baseball action, though, isn't nearly as well integrated. The mayoral race is entirely archival and every once in a while the story will cut to the Son of Sam shooting somebody or the
In order for a series like this to stand up, it has to eventually dig deeper than the institutional memory of these events created by the New York media 30 years ago and perpetuated in the subsequent decades. The passage of time has to have allowed us to see these people as more than just one-note caricatures to be booed or cheered for. In its first three hours, "The Bronx Is Burning" hews to the surface nicely, but barely pokes underneath.
Of the main characters, only Turturro's Martin comes across as a person with one than one obligatory contradiction. Platt's Steinbrenner lets his bluster mask a dull insecurity, while Sunjata's Jackson has a intellectual streak obscured by his ego, both character traits that have been repeated until they felt true.
The possibility exists that "The Bronx Is Burning" is starting with the more familiar story to lure viewers and that complexity will be added in the second half. Anything could happen, I guess. At the very least, the miniseries should provide solace as the 2007 Yankees remain 10-plus games out of first despite the highest payroll in baseball. This year's squad may not be going anywhere, but I have a feeling things will turn out OK for denizens of the 1977 Bronx Zoo.