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Showtime's Ray Donovan debuted last summer, the latest from showrunner Ann Biderman (Southland). The title character, played by Liev Schreiber, is a Hollywood fixer who works with celebrities to clean up their problems. But (surprise!) Ray can't seem to clean up his own problems. His family life is rocky, and his mobster father (Jon Voight) was just released from prison after 20 years. And guess what? Mobster father wants to settle things with the person who put him in prison. And guess what? That person was Ray. I'm a few episodes in and, well, I don't know what to think. Schreiber is great—I've really grown to like him as an actor, no matter what he's in. The rest of the cast (which includes Elliott Gould and Eddie Marsan) is also great. But the show is a bunch of tropes piled up in front of the screen. A few episodes in, nothing happens with them. Yay, another moody anti-hero who can't see his own problems! I do love how the show is willing to sit in silence with the protagonist—no voiceover, no exposition. Schreiber conveys a lot by just frowning. Anyone else see this? I know the second season is starting up soon.
So we've no thread for Homeland yet? Season One comes out on DVD tomorrow, and, while I didn't watch it when it was on its first run last year, I have been catching re-runs and am now about halfway through. This may be some of the best acting Claire Danes has been given an opportunity to do. Damian Lewis (Captain Winters from Band of Brothers), Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly), and Mandy Patinkin (Rube from Dead Like Me) are all pretty stellar as well. I like how the show actually does some thinking. It doesn't just simplify politics and religion, Christianity and Islam - but it makes what I'd call a good faith effort to look with some depth and intelligence at both sides. Not a great show yet, but significantly better than most of what's on television right now. Season Two begins on September 30th. Here's the trailer - Anyone else see Season One?