Thursday, 11 July 2013

Why Showtime's "Ray Donovan" is good viewing

Just watched the first two episodes of "Ray Donovan". By now you know if a show is a fizzer or not. This is smart, involving, "water cooler" television drama. This show has got it all - juicy Hollywood goss on the surface, but underneath, themes like: regret, guilt, passion, the nature of evil.
Ann Biderman has written beautifully complex characters: the tormented, multi-layered Ray (Liev Schreiber); the charismatic but morally bankrupt Mickey (Jon Voight - normally playing Mr Nice Guy in movies); stalwart, but strident Bridget (Paula Malcomson), trying to hold her family together. Elliott Gould's (who was one of the biggest stars in the early 1970's) savvy but flaky, Ezra, is priceless.
Strange scenes that come out of nowhere: When Ray gives heartfelt advice (and later, cash) to the young transsexual or when Grandpa Donovan gives some prison wisdom to his teenage grandson "...don't take it up the ass". Looks like Conor is being groomed on the internet by the sex addicted movie star, Tommy.
The show looks great, LA locales, the mansions to the seedy gyms. Allen Coulter seems to be the go-to director for classy cable series - "Boardwalk Empire", "House of Cards", "Six feet Under", "The Sopranos". I also liked his work in the under appreciated flick "Hollywoodland" (2006).

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