NBC’s first new series premiered last night, and it wasn’t pretty according to most critics. The Mysteries of Laura stars Debra Messing (Will & Grace) as a detective AND a mother who is trying to balance her work and family life. It also stars Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama), in case you were wondering what happened to that guy. Critics were mostly vicious. The nicest things I could find said about the new series is that it might be a decent schedule filler, and that it maybe has the potential one day to be a show that’s not absolutely terrible. What praise! Here’s what the rest of the critics had to say about The Mysteries of Laura (they were not kind):
Matt Fowler at IGN:
The Mysteries of Laura is nothing. It’s a “nothing” a show. Designed to do nothing. If you’re a Debra Messing fan, then here she is. Have at it. She mugs it up with the best of them as crack detective Laura Diamond – a manic, soup-slurping, stress-eating slob of a cop who somehow manages not to have the body of a woman who supposedly eats hidden “desk food” like she does within the first five minutes here (television!).
Margaret Lyons at Vulture:
But good lord, does the show fail in its execution. The mystery is bad, the police work is bad, the home-life stories are bad, everything is bad. This is a bad, bad show.
Brian Lowry at Variety
Without putting too fine a point on it, “The Mysteries of Laura” is designed for people who really, really love Debra Messing — who have been pining for her return to NBC ever since “Will & Grace,” and were even willing to forgive and forget her role in “Smash.” That contingent, alas, had better be fairly sizable, since there’s precious little else to recommend this new series, which liberally mixes the struggles-of-motherhood comedy with standard police procedural fare.
Pilot Viruet over on Flavorwire:
Oh, there are so many mysteries in The Mysteries of Laura, NBC’s new cop drama/motherhood comedy. The first mystery is, of course, why this show was made in 2014. It follows the template of the horrid “Can women have it all?” genre of television show that should, by now, be extinct. It reads as self-parody — the god-awful posters that disfigure Debra Messing’s arms have her standing in the middle of her two lives: on one side, she handcuffs a criminal as her partner smiles; on the other, she is wrangling two misbehaving children as her husband smolders on, oblivious.
Caroline Framke at the AV Club:
The most confusing aspect of The Mysteries Of Laura is whether or not the show is self-aware enough to realize it’s generic to the point of absurdity.
Sarah Carlson at Pajiba:
The pilot is so very bad on so many levels, it will leave you confounded as to how it made it to air and equally transfixed and wanting more. Laura, at least in its pilot, is nothing more than the half-brained pitch of “She’s a mom … and a cop. At the same time.” It feels like a parody, an unfunny SNL sketch dumped in the last 15 minutes of the show. And it will make you wonder just how far Messing has to fall before she can ever come back up to the general vicinity of her Will & Grace days on this very network.
Alan Sepinwall at Hitfix:
A bigger mystery than “How can a woman be a cop and a mom?” is why in the world NBC picked up this show. In a fall season with a lot of mediocre shows (plus some with the potential to be good), here’s one of the few truly awful ones.
James Poniewozik at Time:
Yes, Mysteries of Laura, you can have it all! You can be a terrible cop show and a terrible parenting show. You can be a ridiculous drama and an unfunny comedy. You can try to glom on to the legitimate problems of working mothers yet insult them, and your audience in general, in the process.