TV Series: First seasons of The Bridge and Ray Donovan and end of series for Dexter

Way too much TV and not enough time. I am a bit late with these reviews but here goes.

The_Bridge_Title_cardThe Bridge with Diane Kruger and Damién Bichir was a pretty gripping police drama about the corruption and abuse that is rampant on the border between El Paso and Juares. The acting was excellent with Diane Kruger playing a socially handicapped cop with brio and Damién Bichir playing her pseudo-corrupt police partner from the other side of the border. The plot was a bit asymmetrical as it started out really great about a serial killer but that plotline resolved itself in about episode 10-11 and a lower plotline about a missing girl was picked up. There was also a grifter storyline with Annabeth Gish and Brian Van Holt that kind of distracted from the main story line. At one point, the story of a journalist with a very shady past played by Matthew Lillard intersects with the serial killer bit, but I felt there should have been more of a tie-in. I liked the show overall – most likely because I liked the Hank Wade character played by Ted Levine and the cameo  performances of the awesome Lyle Lovett and especially the theme song from Ryan Bingham – but I will admit that it had its weaknesses as well. I worry that season 2 will get a bit lost in the weeds picking up the new plotlines of Marco’s revenge and the fallout of the Millwright deal with Fausto Galvan (a very strange character chosen as a villain by the way). I would not put this above the masterpieces of Top of the Hill or House of Cards, but it was still pretty intriguing for a first season.

30309Ray Donovan was another freshmen this fall and did a decent job of entertaining. The main character is played by an electrifying Live Schreiber as a guy from Southie making it in LA with his family as a fixer with a dirty past. The acting from Jon Voight as Ray’s father Mickey was over-the-top in terms of complexity – he was evil yet devoted in a twisted way and even endearing despite being capable of great violence.  I thought that it started out really strong, wandered through the middle of the season and then ended on a better note. I thought that Bunchy (played outstandingly by Dash Mihok) finding theabusing priest there in the neighborhood in LA was a bit of jumping the shark. I did however really enjoy Ray’s employees – the excellent Steve Bauer as the ever-resourceful Avi and Katherine Moenning as the sensuous and crafty Lena. I guess I would have liked more backstory in season 1 as to how these three got together and how the whole Sean-Ezra-Ray setup of Mickey had gone down. There was a also a huge loose end left open – the blonde girl that was in love with Ray just kind of disappears from the story after she is freed from the cuffs in Ray’s other apartment. What was that about? I would put this on the same level as The Bridge: interesting and entertaining without being overly innovative or breakthrough – good writing, great acting but a plot that deserved better writers overall.

Dexter_Season_8_promotional_posterAnd that brings us to the end of Dexter. After eight years, it was about time for Michael Hall to retire America’s favorite serial killer. I have written about this show’s previous seasons (having caught up about two years ago) and found that – although slightly better than the abysmal S06 and S07 – this one was a bit of a letdown. OK, Charlotte Rampling was really good as Dexter’s mentor, but she got killed off too early in my opinion. I thought there was lots of leaping sharks here was the plot just kind of went all over the place. Like when Deb FINALLY admits that she loves the hapless (and idiotic for leaving the much hotter and more stable Jaime) Joey – just before getting it in the gut. Plus the hurricane hitting Miami just as Dex is supposed to make his big getaway? I has a really hard time getting behind all of the setup here. I guess I was no longer rooting for Dex and Hannah, I was more impatient to see the story end than to see a happy ending for them down in Argentina (?!?). I wonder what macabre show Michael Hall will do next – after playing a gay undertaker in Six Feet Under and a serial killer in Dex, where does he go from here? At least no more Dex which is a bit of a relief. This show should have just ended after S04 or S05, the prolongation out to S08 was a bit unfortunate.

Let me know what you thought of these shows and what you are watching now. Here’s my list: Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy, Low Winter Sun, Homeland, and  – for the moment – The Michael J Fox show. The Walking Dead will naturally be added starting on Sunday…

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About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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3 Responses to TV Series: First seasons of The Bridge and Ray Donovan and end of series for Dexter

  1. PatriseArts says:

    I thought the Bridge was sure to disappoint so was delighted when it drew me in, particularly Demian Bichir’s performance and Juarez’ serial femicide story line. The twist with the mysterious Steven was interesting and the cinematography was occasionally stunning. Also, allowing Gus’ death was a nice surprise, despite its horrible sadness — the network didnt take the sugary way out.

    I enjoyed RD for the same reasons you did. and it was time for Dexter to go. But that ending? agh! It seems like he and Walter White might have been in the same cabin!

    • mfinocchiaro says:

      Thank God that Vince and company had the decency to kill off Walt! Actually, the dumbass ending of Dexter seemed to mimic the idiocy of the end of The Dark Knight Rises – just about the same improbability of Dex coming out of a hurricane off a busted boat out at sea vs. the improbability of Bruce Wayne surviving a nuclear blast out at sea. Argh! I would rather have seen a fisherman catch a mako out in Biscayne Bay with some fabric from a Dex hawaiian shirt between his teeth 🙂

  2. Pingback: Murder Mystery Shows: True Detective vs The Bridge vs Top of the Lake | Fino's Weblog

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