invacanesb.jpgCane premiered last night on CBS; it’s being called a Latino Sopranos, and the comparison is apt in that they are both family crime shows, but the similarities end there. Where Tony was a bad guy we loved, Alex Vega (Jimmy Smits), of the Duque family business, comes off as so sanctimoniously goody goody, it made my teeth hurt.

The premise is simple, but the writers have really laid it on thick. The Duque family are in the sugar and rum businesses. Frank Duque (Nestor Carbonell) wants to sell the sugar fields, Vega, who’s married to his sister Isabel (Paola Turbay) doesn’t. Pancho Ducque (Hector Elizondo), the patriarch, sides with Vega and gives him control of the family. There’s hurt feelings, insider business deals, mistrust, sex, and evil white folk. And just for good measure, Vega’s son Jaime (Michael Trevino) has enlisted in the army, so they’ll get to make a statement about the war at some point this season… if they get that far.

Aside from the lame cliche-ness of the whole thing, there are a few really glaring problems. First of all, it’s obvious, when you cast a hot young “stud” actor in a role, that he’s not going to leave the show to “ship off” for Iraq. So the son’s not going anywhere, if anyone is worried.

Second, there are too many characters in the family. Sure, the Sopranos had a large and extended family, but the core, nuclear unit were Tony, Carmella, Medow, and AJ. This family has the Vegas, Alex, Isabel, their three children and another on the way, and the Duques, Pancho, his wife Amalia (Rita Moreno), Frank, and another son Henry (Eddie Matos). That’s a lot of people to meet, nonetheless care about, in an hour-long pilot.

Third, and this isn’t the show, but the network: they touted this as being presented with limited commercial interruptions. If that was limited, I fear how many ads will be in a normal hour of Cane.

Finally, there’s a real issue with the casting and characters ages, and being able to believe the show. Jimmy Smits is 52 years old (looking good, but still 52). Paola Turbay is 36. Michael Trevino is 22. We are told on Cane that Alex and Isabel met as children and married when Isabel (Paola) was 17. Jaime’s age is unspecified, but his younger sister is 17, so he must be 18 or 19. So, Pancho Duque married his 17 year old daughter off to a 34 year old man? What was going on in that house? She was obviously already pregnant. There is no way Paola Turbay looks old enough to be Michael Trevino’s mother, and Jimmy Smitts is 16 years her senior. It’s the same thing they did to Rebecca De Mornay on John from Cincinnati.

Dos pulgares abajo para Cane.