House of Lies premiered on Showtime this past Sunday night, and we’re going to tell you whether you need to keep your eyes trained on it like the last brownie in the pan, or let it sink into oblivion.

kristen bell house of lies

Fake Caption. Kristen Bell says: I know you want to like my show. Don’t play.

Hold the Phone. In terms of gimmicks, House of Lies enjoys freezing all of the action except for Marty so that he can explain something (usually some business jargon) which was cool when Zack Morris did it on Saved By the Bell, but not so much now. However, as most of us slept through our Business 101 classes it’s a gimmick that’s doing an important job.

Don Cheadle. Well, first off – he’s Don Cheadle. And do you need more than that? In the series he’s incredibly likeable, which is important for a lead. But the flirting between Marty and Jeannie seems forced, even though, as fans, we want to see it. It’s a bit of a mixed up situation. Maybe it’s just a matter of having it addressed so early on in the series.

The best thing about the character of Marty is not his professional life, or his romantic life. It’s his personal life with his father and son. But that is just a fringe item on the show’s agenda. It’s party of who Marty is, but it’s not what the show is about. While it does great care to humanize him, we can’t be waiting around for more of those glimmers the whole time.

Kristen Bell. On small screen or large, doing drama or comedy, this actress has had our attention ever since she was Veronica Mars. We do wish she had more of a major role in the show. Something that Warner Bros doesn’t seem to understand (and cites as a reason not to do a Veronica Mars movie) is that Bell’s presence commands legions of loyal fans who are instantly alerted to whatever she is doing. And they then want to do it, or see it, or have it (the water bobble.) This is why so many of us have seen When in Rome and You Again against our better judgement.

Her character is witty and deviously fun. Her long hair is gorgeous. But Bells’ astute commentary about the show might be more intriguing than the show itself as a whole.

Josh Lawson and Ben Schwartz. The latter is Jean Ralphio from Parks and Recreation. That’s all that Schwartz ever needs on his resume to score cool points with us. The former kind of reminds us of Rainn Wilson in the looks department. Honestly, we’d compliment then both more but the pilot was short and we didn’t get a huge taste for either yet.

We’re giving this dark comedy the grade of B, with much room for future potential. The cast is strong. The premise is topical. We just hope the talented cast can be given enough substance to make the show a success.