Way too much TV and not enough time. I am a bit late with these reviews but here goes.
The 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.
Ray 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.
And 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…
- For Your Consideration: Liev Schreiber In ‘Ray Donovan’ (thereeltimes.com)
- Michael C. Hall ready to say goodbye to ‘Dexter’ (denverpost.com)
- RAY DONOVAN Finale Preview: Where’s Sully? (VIDEO) (tvruckus.com)
- ‘The Bridge’ recap: Smart season finale delves into Marco’s ‘Crazy Place’ (elpasotimes.typepad.com)