Fox's Lethal Weapon reboot will premiere this fall, and the main change to the familiar film franchise is that the TV version will fundamentally be about two emotionally wounded guys trying to heal.
The Lethal Weapon we remember as an action-comedy begins on a bit of a heavy note, producers said at the Television Critics Association fall previews Monday. Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) loses his wife in shocking, visceral way, and Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) is in a downward spiral of his own, looking his own mortality right in the face after a recent heart attack.
"It's about these two broken guys," writer and executive producer Matt Miller said Monday, adding that the show will focus heavily on the "painful emotional experience [Murtaugh's] going through." In the pilot, we'll spend time with Murtaugh before his world changes and, as the series progresses, flash back to his relationship with his wife for a deeper understanding of his life before that loss.
There will be cases of the week, as well as a season-long mythology and arc. The main thread, though, is watching these two guys evolve. With Murtaugh wanting to live and Riggs feeling like he wants to di,e the real tension in the reboot lies in their bromance. That got lost as time went on for the film franchise, which lost that "warm fuzzy feeling," according to Wayans, by the time the fourth iteration hit theaters in 1998.
"If they're happy-go-lucky, the show loses it edge," executive producer McG said Monday. "Their contrast, I don't want to come off the gas on that." If both Riggs and Murtaugh are both healthy, "the show is not nearly as interesting."
When it's all said and done, this Lethal Weapon stands on its own. "I'm most proud," said executive producer Matt Miller, "that, when you watch the pilot, you don't think of Danny [Glover] and Mel [Gibson]."
Lethal Weapon premieres Sept. 21 on Fox.