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"Get Shorty," 9 p.m. Sundays on Epix beginning tonight (Aug. 13) • Two and a half stars (out of four) • Rated TV-MA for violence and adult content

In 1995's "Get Shorty," based on the Elmore Leonard novel, a loan shark played by John Travolta convinced a B-movie producer (Gene Hackman) to make a movie of his life; violence and hilarity ensued.

Forget that. Epix's new "Get Shorty," adapted by Davey Holmes from the same 1990 novel, isn't so much an adaptation as an homage, taking many of the same elements (gangsters, money, the movie business) and plugging them into a new plot.

Here, Chris O'Dowd is Miles Daly, who collects debts and hides bodies for Nevada drug queenpin Amara (Lidia Porto). 

When he and partner Louis (Sean Bridgers) travel to Hollywood to strong-arm a failed screenwriter, movie-loving Miles seizes on the idea that the man's surviving script could be his ticket to a new life, one that will win back his estranged wife and 12-year-old daughter.

Enter Ray Romano as Rick Moreweather, a movie producer who could use a turnaround himself.

Unfortunately, getting away from his old life isn't as easy as Miles hoped, when Amara decides the movie would be a great new way to launder her dirty money.

With 10 two-hour episodes (two available in advance on demand), Epix's "Get Shorty" is roughly five times as long as the movie, and it feels 10 times as long. The dark humor and bursts of bloody action will satisfy some viewers, but the pacing is so leisurely and the characters are such sad sacks that "Get Shorty" can feel like a chore.

Gail Pennington is the television critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.