Picks and Pans Review: The Black Donnellys

updated 03/05/2007 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/05/2007 01:00AM

NBC (Mondays, 10 p.m. ET)
BY TOM GLIATTO
DRAMA

Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is on hiatus, and the streetwise Donnelly brothers and their ethically challenged associates have moved in on its NBC turf. Irish-American denizens of Manhattan's bars, greasy spoons and back rooms, the Donnellys drink, kidnap bookies, fight the Mafia. The show—which boasts Paul Haggis, director of Oscar winner Crash, as one of its creators—admittedly feels like many other movies and shows, including Mystic River and Showtime's Brotherhood. But it gets an unexpected freshness from a young cast. These criminals are a ways from being hardened—yes, they're tough, but any one of them could do a Levi's campaign. Jonathan Tucker, as the smartest Donnelly, looks like Patrick Dempsey and sounds like Sean Penn. Hey, not a problem. Olivia Wilde, as the neighborhood girl who loves him, has an ethereal prettiness that shines out amid the grime, crime and blood. What truck did she fall off the back of?

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