There's a new TV gangster in town.
Mob City, the new drama from The Walking Dead's Frank Darabont premieres tonight, and it's got more machine guns, cigarettes, and smooth talking than your noir-loving heart could have ever wanted in a two-hour block. Set in 1947 Los Angeles, the three-week television event explores mob activity and police corruption with the slick, smoky look and feel of classic noir detective films.
The pilot, which follows cop/ex-Marine Joe Teague (Jon Bernthal aka The Walking Dead's Shane, may he rest in peace!) as he helps a comedian (Simon Pegg) blackmail an upper level mob boss (what could possibly go wrong with that?), may feel a bit obvious at times, but that doesn't mean it doesn't make for some great period-drama fun. We were certainly entertained. If you weren't already planning on tuning in for tonight's premiere, we've got five awfully convincing reasons why you should...
1. The Teaser: The show opens with violins, gunfire, explosions, a flashback (within a show that is essentially one giant flashback) to 1920's New York, and one of those classic, teetering-on-the-edge-of-annoying voiceovers. What more could you want? (Aside from Ed Burns looking dapper as hell as infamous gangster Bugsby Siegel, of course.)
2. Simon Pegg: The English actor, known for movies like Star Trek, Shaun of the Dead, and At World's End, puts on one of those fun 40's American TV accents for his role as stand-up comedian Hecky Nash. While he's nearly unrecognizable in period garb and without his usual English potty mouth, the character's a lot of fun and gets a little use out of his middle finger by the end of the episode.
3. The Dialogue: The show's chock full of those staccato, abbreviated sentences you usually hear mobsters speaking in, but you won't be lost. It's stylized, but straightforward. Simon Pegg uses the word "toots." Paired with the period cars and period clothes, it makes for a fun escape from the humdrum of 2013.
4. Smoking: Been missing Mad Men? Can't wait for the final season to premiere in the spring? Well, 1947 LA isn't quite 1960's New York, but there are a lot of hats and nearly everyone has always got a cigarette dangling out of their mouth. If they don't, they're lighting a new one. You'd think smoking looked cool, or something. Joe Teaque may be no Don Draper, but he'll do as a substitute for now.
5. Twists and Turns: Who's good? Who's bad? Who lives? Who dies? Who's got a big gun hidden under what blanket? Why does she keep taking his cigarette? What's in that envelope? Is it bad that they all look the same with those hats on? Throw in a "Whaaaat?!" and a "Huh?!" or two, and you've got yourself just a few of the many questions you'll probably be asking as you watch tonight's premiere.
Bonus: Milo Ventimiglia is in it. (Team Jess forever!)
So there you have it. If you're not convinced that TNT is the place to be tonight, then we don't know what to do except to send you over to the Mob City Twitter account, where they are currently tweeting the entire pilot script, 140 characters at a time. We're not kidding. This is the future, people. The entire sequence, in order, can be found at mobscript.com as it is released. Feel free to count the number of times the word "cigarette" pops up and let us know, because we lost track.
Mob City airs tonight at 8 p.m. on TNT.