There have been very few shows over the years that I have mourned the loss of more than Boomtown. This, the first season, is what Boomtown should be remembered for. There was actually a second season which completely diluted the formula of the show and was cancelled mid-way through.
Boomtown is a rare treat in that it was original in terms of its presentation (and structure) and was genuinely designed to be an ensemble drama. The back of the box will tell you about the 'Rashomon' style of storytelling which this series takes after. (For those who haven't seen it, Rashomon is a film by famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa which chronicles the rape of a woman and murder of her husband from the point of view of each of the film's protagonists in turn). Boomtown takes certain cues from that storytelling style but is far less rigid in terms of simply telling a story from a differnt point of view one after the next until it ends. The beauty of the show is that each character's interaction with the central plot of each episode serves not only to flesh out the characters but also provide a much richer context to the main action.
The main characters are all people who would inevitably be at or around a crime scene. In the lead then, are detectives Joel Stevens and 'Fearless' Bobby Smith. Donnie Wahlberg does a good job of playing the dark and broody Detective Stevens but it is never wooden and one dimensional (unlike his brother Mark) and comes across as a relentlessly dedicated and sympathetic character. Mykelti Williamson plays the role of his partner 'Fearless' brilliantly and serves as the spiritual heart of the show both for the audience and also for the characters around him. Neal McDonough's character ADA David McNorris, by contrast, is the complete antithesis of 'Fearless', at least on the surface. McNorris is a hard drinking, egotistical lawyer who finds himself treading a fine line between ambition and corruption. His internal struggles from episode to episode are by turns enthralling, engrossing, and infuriating. McNorris is the real star of this series both because Neal McDonough does a great job of bringing him to life but also because his character is the most interesting and least predictable.
The face of the LAPD is represented by Officers Hechler and Turcotte played by Gary Basaraba and Jason Gedrick respectively. Basarbara's character provides a healthy dose of light comic relief in the midst of what can be very tense episodes. Far from simply the clown though, he represents the old school police attitudes with which his young partner, played by Gedrick, is forced to contend. Rounding out the main cast are Nina Garbiras and Lana Parrilla who play reporter Andrea Little and EMT Teresa Ortiz. While Ortiz often remains a somewhat peripheral figure, Andrea Little's role as a reporter offers us as the audience wide-ranging access to and between the various groups of characters. As such, her role within the drama as an observer/reporter is mirrored as a dramatic function which allows the other narrative threads to be neatly tied together without seeming contrived.
All in all, this is a truly first-class series and it's such a shame that it was cut off in its prime (much like the excellent 'High Incident' before it). McDonough and Williamson are absolutely fantastic and Wahlberg is not far behind. If you are a fan of police dramas, or ensemble dramas in general (like the early years of 'E.R.' for example) then don't miss out on this absolute gem of a series. Great writing, great production values, and a great cast all combine to make this a show that will live long in the memory if not on our screens.