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Airs: Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC
Premise: A group of Irish-American brothers fall into a life of organized crime.
Press-release sell: “Academy Award winners Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco (both for “Crash”) are the creators and executive producers of “The Black Donnellys,” a gritty new drama series filmed in New York City and loosely based on Moresco’s background.”
Highlights: The inner struggle and fall from grace of the brightest of the brothers, Tommy, is a fascinating watch; he sacrifices an honest life and—could it be?—the love of a good woman? (Olivia Wilde, last seen as Mischa Barton’s toe dip in the lesbian pool.) With the exception of brother Jimmy, all boys have the fresh pretty faces of CW superstars.
Low points: All the boys have the fresh pretty faces of CW superstars. Organized crime, really? The other brothers’ characters are not very fleshed out, and all episodes are told from the standpoint of a cartoonish, ancillary character named Joey Ice Cream.
Final verdict: Donnellys is “loosely based on Moresco’s background,” when the Westies (Irish-American gang in Hell’s Kitchen) still ruled. Those days are over, as Zap2it points out. We’re going to put that aside and keep watching, as long as the Tommy character still keeps our interest.