Well, I gave Red Widow a try… despite a cool title and Radha Mitchell and production values to die for, I couldn’t swallow it. It’s like Miss America married into Gogol Bordello and they all set up shop in Marin Country as drug-dealing Beverly Hillbillies. Then there’s a gang war and Mrs America starts packing heat and running the trade… entirely against her will but, you know, it’s the only way to keep the family together. The story choices were skilful enough, but the place they led you to… nah.
Credibility in drama is a strange thing. I can buy into Grimm‘s world, no problem. Or Carnivale‘s, or Firefly‘s. And I reckon I could buy into Crime Boss Soccer Mom if the pieces were put together right, the way they were in Breaking Bad.
The Americans is about the only one of the new shows that I’ve taken to. It’s a kind of Homeland/Mad Men/Mr & Mrs Smith mashup about a husband-and-wife team of Russian spies living with their two unwitting American-born kids in the Reagan-era DC suburbs. He puts on a false moustache to go out on spying missions, she puts on lingerie. Then an FBI man and his family move in across the street. Mucho tension between the oaths they took and the pull of the American way of life, a complexity that allows you to root for them in perilous situations even though, technically, they’re the bad guys.
A&E’s Bates Motel doesn’t air until March 18 but the teasers I’ve seen make it look like Young Dexter. I see The Glades is getting a fourth season and Longmire‘s been renewed. I watch both – they’re network-style story-of-the-week procedurals, classic ‘TV to unwind with’. The kind where the killer is always revealed to be the person who had two unnecessary lines in the second act.
It’s not strictly new any more but I also like CBS’s Vegas, which is a more populist Boardwalk Empire set in 60s Nevada. Dennis Quaid is basically Longmire in Las Vegas (same scowl, cowboy hat, pickup truck, mourning for dead wife) but the real interest is with Michael Chiklis as a mobster-with-principles-and-a-vision and Sarah Jones (last seen running around with a gun with Sam Neill in Alcatraz) as a sharp-minded casino manager with a classy education and an old-school mob father.
Her from The Matrix is in it too. Strong cast.