In fear of sounding like a Larry King column or *gulp* Jay Mohr, I don’t give you links but a few thoughts on this summer’s TV.
First, too much reality TV on the networks. Yes, it’s cheap, but seeing silly premises like a tennis player choosing between 20 year old women and 40 year old women shows that even reality TV is running out of ideas. How many different varieties of dating shows do we need? And even NESN, the Regional Sports Network co-owned by the Red Sox and Bruins has gotten into the act with its stupid show, Sox Appeal. I don’t want to see couples trying to find love at a Red Sox game. Stupid. Silly. Sucks.
Second, the cable networks are taking risks. Shows like Meadowlands on Showtime and Damages on FX have come in and done pretty decently for their respective networks. Meadowlands, a British import may not be the best show that Showtime has offered, but it was fresh and gave viewers enough to come back every week.
Damages is in the midst of one of the more interesting storylines I have seen in a while. If the series keep up the quality of the first three episodes, then Damages has the potential to be one of the best shows in recent memory.
For me, seeing these two series return is like seeing two good friends coming back from vacation. South of Nowhere picks up from the prom shooting of last season’s finale. We didn’t see much of Spashley together in S2, but from what I’ve already seen of the S3 premiere, we get more action between Spencer and Ashley than the entire 2nd season. As it stands, Ashley fucked up the relationship after not calling Spencer following the death of her adopted brother, Clay and she seemed to be intrigued by hanging out with her old boyfriend, Aidan. Where will this lead us? And I hear a new girl helps to throw a monkey wrench into the Spashley relationship. This should lead to fireworks. If you need to get up to speed on the show, the After Ellen site has a nice section on South of Nowhere with recaps of the first two seasons and yes, the show is available for download on iTunes. It’s how I managed to get hooked on the show.
Weeds left us off last season with Nancy’s pot deal going bad and Silas missing. This cast with Mary Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Nealon, Tonye Patano and Romany Malco is one of the best on TV. Last season was lots of fun and a breakout season for the series. Here’s hoping the new season which premieres on Monday will be just as fun.
These series will help tie me down until Prison Break returns later this month on Fox and Curb Your Enthusiasm premieres in September. In the meantime, Spashley will get me through very well, thank you.
The season finale of Meadowlands was tonight. It was the perfect ending to a season of mystery. We saw Danny Brogan preparing to get his family out of Cape Wrath. As Samantha was watching, she was suspicious of his plans. Danny used the opening of his new bar as a rouse to get his family out.
His son and daughter, Mark and Zoe were not supportive at first, but they soon began to realize that Meadowlands was not for them. Mark saw that he was being manipulated by Jezebel. Zoe saw that her crush on golf pro Tom Tyrell was unhealthy.
As the party was underway, Constable Wintersgill was watching, keeping a keen eye on Danny.
But as a drunk Dr. York came into the bar, he became more bitter seeing his crush, Evelyn get closer to Danny. Danny made a fake announcement how much he loved Meadowlands, but Dr. York knowing the family secret forced Evelyn to spill how Danny was not the father of her children.
Danny got pissed, stole a car, left the children and wife behind and started driving. Wintersgill decided to allow Danny to leave, smashing the electronic fence keeping all Cape Wrath residents in. And we saw Wintersgill threatening Samantha.
But as Danny finally got a flat tire and came screeching to a halt, he realized that he literally was in the middle of nowhere. There were mountains and a large canyon and as we pulled back, we finally discovered that Meadowlands was not in England. We don’t know exactly where it is, but it’s really the only civilization around. Perfect ending. If this is truly the end of Meadowlands, it’s where it should end.
But it has left me wanting more and I do hope Channel 4 in the UK and Showtime in the US will give us another season. I would like to see how Danny integrates himself back into the town and his family. And what exactly is Wintersgill up to? It’s all one giant mystery.
I just finished watching the series premiere of Damages on FX. This was one of the best premieres I have seen. This is about a litigator, Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) who will stop at nothing at winning her cases and the young associate she hires, Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). Hewes is embroiled in a class action lawsuit against a CEO, Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson). Frobisher’s lawyer, Ray Fiske (Zelko Ivanek) battle Hewes.
In the premiere episode, we see a bloodied and catatonic Ellen running out of an elevator into the streets of New York. She’s picked up by police and from there, we piece together Ellen’s story from six months before, being turned down by one law firm because she reveals she has been contacted by Hewes’ firm. From there, Ellen is hired by Patty and we see that Patty is no ordinary attorney. She’s cut-throat and she’ll stop at nothing to win her lawsuits. And she presses on against Frobisher, but she’s being railroaded by her clients who want to accept a settlement.
As the episode reveals itself, we see that Ellen’s boyfriend, David Connor (Noah Bean) is wary of her joining the firm, but as we get further into the hour, we see him dead in a bathtub. Is this connected to Ellen being bloodied? David’s sister, Katie (Anastasia Griffin) is tied to Frobisher as a chef and eventually will be asked by Ellen to turn over as a witness. But of course, Frobisher knows this and will try to silence Katie.
And we also see that Patty’s long-time associate, Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan), knows his boss inside and out, but is fired for not seeing the clients wanting the settlement. But Ellen tries to get some info out of him. And it appears he’s still working for Patty on the side. So what’s going on here?
I think Damages has the potential to be very good. Glenn Close is a very good actress. Rose Byrne has done good work in the UK and Australia, of course in 28 Weeks Later and 28 Days Later. I’ve never been a fan of Tate Donovan, but he shows a mysterious side here. The series is shot well and I think will do well in the 10 p.m. Tuesday slot for FX. This will be a weekly primetime pick.
Now I haven’t written about Meadowlands since the first episode because I felt the series screeched to a halt after an excellent first episode. The last two episodes have been much better. We’re finding more about what the place is about. At first, we thought it was for people who need to be put under witness protection and never be seen by the outside world again. However, as the series has been progressing, we find it’s a social experiment to see if people can change their identities and sense of themselves so they become someone else.
As we discover, the Brogans, the family who we first saw at the beginning of the series, are hiding a secret. So is everyone who has been moved to Meadowlands. Danny Brogan had to testify against criminal associates who helped him to open a bar.
Jack the Handyman had kidnapped a woman when he was 14 and subjected her to sexual abuse. Eventually, Jack was killed by Danny.
Golf Pro Tom Tyrell was actually a left wing journalist who’s wife was killed.
And Samantha, Danny’s handler is actually the adopted daughter of a Professor who’s theories led to the creation of Cape Wrath, the town where Meadowlands exists. Samantha wasn’t the actual daughter of Professor Campbell, she was taken from a remote farm in South Africa and provided a new life by her “father”. But she finds out as he’s about to die.
So the whole thing about Meadowlands is discovering the secrets and also, trying to see whom is really whom. The last episode saw Danny trying to find out more about Cape Wrath and Samantha getting the truth from her father. This Sunday is the season finale. I have seen the previews and they do look good.
Lucy Cohu (Evelyn Brogan), Felicity Jones (Zoe Brogan), Ralph Brown (Constable Wintersgill) and Nina Sosanya (Samantha) have all been excellent in the series and helped to have given the series a dark edge.
Here’s hoping Meadowlands returns for a second season on Showtime.
I see that some of you are coming over from Sho.com which linked to this blog. Sho.com linked you directly to the front page instead of the entry. I’ve asked Showtime to fix it, but here’s the link to my review in the interim. And stay for a while if you like.
I was surfing the net this evening just minding my own business when I came across a preview for Showtime’s new series, “Meadowlands” that premieres on Sunday. The premise is a family that goes into the witness protection program and is given new names, new life, new home, all in a neighborhood where everything looks the same. This British import will run Sunday nights at 10 and after watching the first episode online, I’m pretty impressed.