The new TV adaptation of the action classic Lethal Weapon had big shoes to fill and a unique challenge in moving from the big screen to television. The show is off to a strong start, as the series premiere was the highest rated FOX drama in two years and the third-highest-rated new show of the fall season. Though the critical reaction has been overall mixed, the chemistry between lead actors Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans has been strong enough to carry the show through four episodes.
Lethal Weapon was set to run for at least 13 episodes in its first season. The show has been far from a guarantee to survive beyond its first run, but FOX has seen enough from the police procedural drama to expand the show to a full season.
A press release from FOX executives revelaed that the network has made a full season order for Lethal Weapon, expanding the first season from a planned 13 episodes to 18. FOX President of Entertainment David Madden made the announcement on Wednesday, just hours before the premiere of the show's fifth episode, titled "There Goes The Neighborhood."
Here is the official statement from Madden on FOX's decision to order a full season of Lethal Weapon:
"Lethal Weapon delivers an explosive and wildly entertaining core relationship between two cops, with dynamic performances by Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford, surrounded by cinematic action, endearing humor and true heart. [Series developer] Matt Miller, [director] McG, [and executive producers] Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz have done a tremendous job on this show, which has proven to be a self-starter and solid companion for EMPIRE. We are thrilled to add these episodes to Lethal Weapon’s first season.”
Although the critical reception wasn't overwhelmingly positive, Lethal Weapon does appear to have struck the right chords with Crawford and Wayans as detectives Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. The reboot doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel in terms of themes or narrative structures, but the sense of humor and compelling dynamic between the two leads is what made the 1987 original Lethal Weapon movie a classic in the first place. As long as the chemistry between Crawford and Wayans can carry the show through the first season, the show will have the potential to last longer and perhaps get better.
The full season order from FOX for Lethal Weapon could be seen as a vote of confidence for the show, or it could be viewed as a last-ditch attempt to find success for a show that could be on the brink of an early demise. Tacking five episodes onto 13 that were already ordered isn't exactly a sign of great success to come for a series that has seen its ratings dip each week since its premiere.
Lethal Weapon continues Wednesday night with 'There Goes The Neighborhood' @8pm on FOX.