The first season of Breaking In was better material than Fox gave it credit for, so the fact that it got a second chance was a pleasant surprise from the flippant broadcaster. Perhaps it drove audiences away with its near Big Bang Theory nerd level humor and slight sense of immaturity, which would have been understandable. But the truth was that Breaking In was a quality, lighthearted show with the ability to reach out to fans of similar shows like Chuck and Warehouse 13. “The Contra Club” was the season 2 premiere, an attempt by the writing staff to restart their fledgling show, re-introducing characters and bringing in new ones to start some new momentum up. While it does one or two things right, it’s actually not a great showing for Breaking In, and may lose some of its proponents with a lackluster presentation.
Problems arise with new main characters, and this one’s a doozy. Megan Mullally has enough clout to make waves in the sea of potential fans, so she of course needs to come in with a bang. Instead, too much flat-footing around gives Mullally’s character Ronnie an improper introduction, while making fools of the entire rest of the cast. Most notably, our notorious man Oz (Christian Slater) is turned from a man made out of strength and wild rumors to someone weak and in need of cash. It’s partially believable for the series, but in attempts to make Oz easier to relate to they’ve sort of wiped away his most fascinating feature: that of being dangerous.
Incompetence has of course been a theme of this show’s presence, its main characters Cameron, an eternally awkward man who constantly gets in his own way, and a super nerd Cash who cares more about pranking others than his own job half the time. It’s funny but inconsistent with the amount of talent each character is supposed to have, the two here being balanced out by Oz and obligatory attractive female Melanie, their lock girl. So it may be understandable why Contra is running out of money, but it plays more into Oz’s general incompetence and lack of business savvy, which changes his character quite a bit.
Mullally should keep things lively though. She’s a great actress with a lot of work under her belt, a good contrast to the lacking talent of Odette Annable as Melanie. She could possibly give Breaking In the rigidity that it needs to be a successful serial. As long as it keeps the general nerdiness coming and ups the drama with the heists that this supposed security company should be handling, Breaking In could stick around past this second season. Because it’s for the most part well-directed and acted, with a production value on par with the lower level of seriousness the show goes for. But it could use some tighter writing and a more stable direction before this season earns our recommendation.