Frank Darabont tries to do for gangsters in "Mob City" what he did for zombies in "The Walking Dead."

The zombies changed television. The gangsters can't. They chatter, carry guns and feel oh so familiar.

Darabont's love for film noir is evident in the lavish, six-hour TNT drama that debuts at 9 p.m. Wednesday and airs in two-hour blocks the next two Wednesdays.

In the series, set in 1947, Los Angeles police go after mobsters Bugsy Siegel (Ed Burns) and Mickey Cohen (Jeremy Luke).

"Mob City" traffics in violence, jazz, odd dialogue and incredible plot twists. A fine cast must wrestle with the stultifying stylishness.

Neal McDonough as a straight-arrow officer plows through the artificiality, and Milo Ventimiglia ("Heroes") has a welcome sarcasm as a Siegel associate.

Darabont relies heavily on two "Walking Dead" vets: Jeffrey DeMunn as a savvy task-force leader and Jon Bernthal as an enigmatic detective. But they remind you that "Dead" is a livelier, fresher show.