In The Delta

In The Delta

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Real Golden Age of Television

Yes, I know.  This topic has been discussed to death, but I have a Blog so I can write about it if I wish. And I wish to add my thoughts.

Movies have, with rare exceptions, become a huge disappointment.  I know, it's because I'm not in the right age demographic for the studios.  Except I must not be the only one, because I just read that the summer box office was a disaster.  No wonder.  When will the studios realize that a lot of people have had their fill of action/adventure, 3D, remakes, and sequels to movies that weren't that good to begin with?  Did we really need a remake of Robocop???

As an aside, Kathryn Bigalow's marvelous Point Break with Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey and Lori Petty is scheduled to be remade.  Please, I beg you, don't do it.  You can't improve on this kind of genius.  I know, some people think it was silly - maybe but if so, it was the best silly ever.

So we turn to television.  The best actors are doing it.  Because they realize that it is the place where serious, quality work is available.

It goes back aways, of course.  All the way to the shows that started it all - Hill Street Blues, Homicide Life on the Streets, The Wire, and what is perhaps the all time best cop show ever The Shield.  Fast forward a few years to Breaking Bad and one of my personal favorites Sons of Anarchy.  Take a look at the unfortunately short-lived Magic City, The Borgias and Boss.

Currently, the crop includes Banshee, Ray Donovan (applause for Jon Voight and Paula Malcomson as well as Liev Shreiber and Steven Bauer of whom we could use a little more), Masters of Sex and The Bridge.

The Honorable Woman held its own almost to the end, which was disappointing since until the last two shows, I felt it was well written.  Sundance also gave us Rectify - the most original drama of the crop and The Red Road, another unique drama.

One show that I include in this list that many people might not is Fox's Gang Related.  Still no word on whether it will be renewed.  Word to Fox, send it over to FX and let them pull out all the stops. It may have some implausibilities, but I couldn't wait to see it every week.  It never bored, never dragged.

On the rarely seen Western front, Hell on Wheels is the freshest look at the old West since Deadwood.  And the unfortunately final season of Longmire was the best of the entire series.  I will truly miss Walt and his posse, especially the wonderful Katee Sackhoff.  Hope someone picks this show up.

Many people criticized The Killing but I found it to be compelling, particularly Linden and Holder and the atmospheric setting.  So happy that Netflix brought it back for a conclusion.

Speaking of Netflix, kudos for Orange is the New Black (group award to its many offbeat characters, the offbeat Lilyhammer and House of Cards. Frank Underwood tells it like it is - politically speaking.

Fargo was a treat, but didn't live up to the movie. Mostly, it was the accents that were missing or inaccurate.  Where was the dialogue coach?  However, I'll watch anything with Keith Carradine.

Justified will have me as a viewer forever - the Elmore Leonard-esque dialogue, Timothy Oliphant and Walt Goggins (another actor I will follow anywhere) make this a delight week after week.

Homeland and The Americans are both brilliant in their own way and I anxiously await the new seasons of both.  Two very different takes on the world of espionage and deeply held secrets.  And I have to admit, that in The Americans, I'm often rooting for the Russians - although Noah Emmerich's conflicted agent is amazing to watch.

New shows I'm looking forward to include The Affair with Dominic West and the new season of American Horror Story.  I watched Season one, started Season two but found it tediously gross, skipped season three.  But Freak Show is poised to bring me back.

I know I've missed some and my comments are only cursory but I have a mystery to get back to.

Hoping for your own comments on these shows and any others that you particularly liked or hated.