Earlier this year, NBC acquired US broadcast rights to the Luc Besson-produced action comedy series “Taxi: Brooklyn South,” a 12-episode TV project that stars Chyler Leigh (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Jacky Ido (maybe best known in the USA as Marcel in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”).
Olivier Megaton directed the first 2 episodes of the series which was produced by Besson’s company, EuropaCorp, and which is based on the French action comedy film franchise set in Marseille, where a cab driver with a very fast taxi helps out a police officer in his investigations – usually involving criminals with very fast cars! Bring on the epic car chases.
Four installments of the film franchise have been released: in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2007; and all were met with mixed reviews, but good box office.
In 2004, the French film franchise spawned an American remake that I think we’d all rather forget ever happened, starring Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon, which grossed $36 million on a $25 million budget.
In the TV series that NBC acquired US broadcast rights to, Jacky Ido plays the cab driver, and Chyler Leigh is the cop.
Titled “Taxi Brooklyn,” the series was indeed shot in Brooklyn primarily, and sees Leigh as Detective Caitlyn Sullivan, who is investigating the death of her father, an NYPD veteran. She is demoted to foot patrol for her recklessness behind the wheel, and thus teams up with the highly-skilled and charming cab driver named Leo Romba, played by Jacky Ido. Detective Sullivan finds out that Leo is an undocumented immigrant and essentially offers him help with his residency papers in exchange for his driving prowess and use of his taxi. So he becomes her driver and partner of sorts, as they race through NYC streets solving cases.
Somewhat quietly (I hadn’t read much about it, nor seen any ads or other press for it, before the premiere announcement) NBC set a June 25 premiere for the series – that’s TONIGHT. It’ll continue to air on Wednesdays from 10-11 p.m. ET. So it’s a summer series, and quite possibly a test by the network to see if there’s enough of an audience for it, which could translate to a “regular” TV season (fall through spring) slot, if it fares well.
Ahead of tonight’s debut of the series, here are 3 clips from it, giving you a glimpse of what to expect. Will you be tuning in?