From the files of “Crap We Care About” and “It’s About Flippin’ Time” we just learned that season four of the critically acclaimed legal drama, Damages, starring Glenn Close and Rose Byrne (and guest starring John Goodman) has FINALLY been added to Netflix’ streaming service. For those who were wondering what happened to the series after season three in 2010, FX decided not to renew it and it was picked up by DirecTV (of all companies) so that all ten of their subcribers could have exclusive access to it for seasons four and five beginning in 2011.
Also, all five seasons of J.J. Abrams’ first hit, the action/spy thriller series Alias starring Jennifer Garner has finally hit the streaming service, as well. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find a season one trailer for the series, so you’ll just have to suffer through the pre-Ben Affleck, 90% naked Jennifer Garner from 2002 in this season two DVD Trailer. Straight guys and lesbians, you are welcome.
We hate to say this, but we could really give two-sh*ts about this news. Although we were happy to see SOMEONE save the fantastic drama Damages from cancellation after its third season, the idiots over at DirecTV think it’s a good idea to hide the show completely unless you subscribe to them. They won’t even release the fourth season until the end of June… two weeks before the fifth season premiere!
So let’s get this straight: you want more subscribers and the only reason you picked up Damages was to get more subscribers but you think that by hiding the only scripted show you have will inspire more people to subscribe? Brilliant, DirecTV and thank you. Thank you for giving us one more reason to hate you besides the fact that you don’t offer Internet or telephone service and a swift breeze knocks out your service.
Via Press Release:
DAMAGES Fifth and Final Season Heads Toward an Explosive Showdown This Summer
DAMAGES, featuring Glenn Close, Rose Byrne, Ryan Phillippe, Jenna Elfman, Janet McTeer and John Hannah, to Premiere July 11 exclusively on DirecTV’s Audience Network
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — DirecTV’s Audience Network (http://www.DirecTV.com/DTVAPP/content/premiums/audience) heats up this summer with the season five premiere of the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning, critically acclaimed legal thriller, DAMAGES, starring Emmy Award-winner Glenn Close and Emmy Award-nominee Rose Byrne, on Wednesday, July 11 at 9 p.m. The fifth and final season of the series, which has been nominated for nineteen Emmy Awards, centers on the timely and controversial subject of government and corporate transparency, focusing on how the ever-changing digital landscape shapes the way in which information is obtained and shared. DAMAGES is produced by Sony Pictures Television in association with FX Productions and KZK Productions.
In true DAMAGES fashion, the season features a stellar array of stars including Ryan Phillippe, who joins the cast as a series regular. Emmy Award-nominee Jenna Elfman, Academy Award-nominee Janet McTeer, John Hannah, Chris Messina, Judd Hirsch, M. Emmett Walsh, Victor Garber, William Sadler, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Gillian Alexy and Zachary Booth will be featured throughout the season. DAMAGES was created and executive produced by KZK (Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler) and co-executive produced by Mark A. Baker.
DAMAGES (http://www.DirecTV.com/DTVAPP/content/damages) follows the lives of Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), the nation’s most revered and reviled high-stakes litigator and her former protégé, the bright and ambitious Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). After four seasons of professional and personal manipulation and deceit, season five sets the stage for the final showdown between Patty and Ellen. Channing McClaren (Ryan Phillippe) is a computer expert and the iconoclastic founder of a website, McClarenTruth.org, devoted to government and corporate transparency. When McClaren is approached by Naomi Walling (Jenna Elfman), an investment bank employee troubled by her company’s conduct with insider information, it lays the foundation for the case that will finally pit Patty and Ellen against one another. In an attempt to triumph over her former mentor, Ellen hires Kate Franklin (Janet McTeer), a one time colleague of Patty’s who is all too familiar with how she operates, but whose loyalty could be called into question. Adding to the turmoil surrounding the case is Rutger Simon (John Hannah), the chief lieutenant and gatekeeper for McClaren. As the series builds to its electrifying conclusion, far more than the verdict is at stake for everyone involved.
Since its premiere in 2007, DAMAGES has received a total of nineteen Emmy Award nominations. In its first season, the series was nominated for an Emmy for Best Drama series and Glenn Close won the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, an award she has won twice for her role as Patty Hewes. In addition to DAMAGES’ multiple Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Series, Acting, and Casting, the show has also received Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Direction.
DAMAGES has been nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards. In its first season, the series earned more Golden Globes nominations than any other show on television, with Glenn Close winning for Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama.
In addition to a variety of other wins and nominations, DAMAGES has been nominated for awards from the Writers Guild and the Producers Guild.
As terrific as Lights Out was, the boxing backdrop in and of itself simply was too niche to appeal to any kind of general audience. First, boxing has never been that popular of a sport in the U.S., but in the last two decades the sport has seen a serious decline in interest by the public. As we noted, boxing really was incidental to the show. The show was really about an ordinary man who, in his prime, had fame and money due to his particular talent, was losing everything and at this point would do ANYTHING to protect his family, even if that meant risking his own personal health, violating his own ethics and morals and even breaking the law.
The problem was that F/X sold this show as a boxing show when there were only two fights during the whole season. It was very gritty and compelling but unfortunately due to F/X’s decision to emphasize the boxing element before the show ever aired, audiences never really wanted to find out. Now, we aren’t necessarily slamming F/X for the marketing decision, though, as it’s kind of difficult for us to envision a way to market this show downplaying the boxing aspect and making it more attractive to a broader audience at the same time. Maybe “Lights Out” wasn’t the best title for the show, perhaps?
C’est la vie, though. TV shows come and go and it’s really difficult for us to get too attached to a show considering how fickle audiences are and how quickly even the best shows seem to leave us. The upside is that Season One of Lights Out played out like a 13 episode miniseries, even in the finale, leaving unanswered questions that frankly didn’t need a second season to be expanded on (even though it would have been nice). They could simply be left to the viewer’s imagination to figure it out for themselves, and that, folks, is a mark of great storytelling.
Possibly Up at the 9 Count For One More Round?
As Spock said, “There are always… possibilities.” No sooner did F/X make the announcement of the cancellation of Lights Out did DirecTV issue feelers to its followers on Twitter regarding interest in possibly picking it up:
FX cancels “Lights Out,” what’s your reaction?
And they aren’t the only ones. In an interview he did for The Hollywood Reporter, Executive Producer Warren Leight explains that although he’s not optimistic about the chances of the show being picked up by another network, they have been pitching it and Showtime’s name in particular had come up.
People express “maybe” kind of interest. I would love to believe it when it happens. My sense is it’s unlikely Showtime would pick up a show that had been on basic cable.
Not so fast there, Mr. Leight. We think everyone who watched this show probably agrees that it was better suited for premium cable than basic cable to begin with (again, we noted this as well in our original review) and there’s also the fact that Showtime has a history of broadcasting programming that was rejected by non-premium television (see: The Reagansin 2003).
As an aside, we highly recommend reading the full interview with THR that we linked to earlier. Leight gives many insights into the show and the state of television today and confirms a lot of our original contentions about the show that we restated above.
Lights Out, from Executive Producer/Showrunner Warren Leight (In Treatment), stars Holt McCallany (CSI: Miami) as an aging former heavyweight boxing champion who struggles to find his identity and support his wife and three daughters after retiring from the ring. Financial problems leave him at a perilous crossroads – battling the urge to return to boxing or reluctantly accepting a job as a brutal and intimidating debt collector. Catherine McCormack (Braveheart) co-stars as “Theresa Leary,” Lights’ wife who is finishing her medical residency; Pablo Schreiber (Law & Order) as “Johnny Leary,” Lights’ brother and business manager whom Lights put through college; and Stacy Keach (Fat City) as “Pops,” Lights’ father and former trainer who runs the boxing gym owned by Lights. Clark Johnson (The Shield, The Wire) and Norberto Barba (In Treatment, CSI: NY) directed the pilot episode. Series Creator Justin Zackham (The Bucket List), Phillip Noyce (Salt) and Ross Fineman are also Executive Producers. Lights Out is produced by Fox Television Studios and FX Productions. – F/X
10 out of 10
All we can say is that we’re a little punchy after watching that pilot and the second episode of Lights Out. F/X, who we consider the HBO of basic cable, has done it again. Lights Out, without a doubt, is the best new show this spring on television (so far), be it network or cable.
There are so many things good with this show that it’s kind of hard to pin down exactly why we like it in 500 words or less. First, let us warn you that this isn’t the television version of The Fighter or Rocky Balboa and in fact, the boxing aspect of Lights Out, although certainly the foundation of the show, seems more incidental than anything else. Patrick “Lights” Leary could have been a famous baseball player, singer, movie star… whatever… and it wouldn’t really matter as this is a character driven story about the rise and fall of a public hero who’s only goal, now is to take care of his family.
Leary is a very likable and relatable character and reminds us of exactly how we would react if we were the father of three (God, help us) daughters. He would do absolutely anything he could to protect his family which in the pilot includes getting into a street-fight with a loud-mouth former football player behind a bar for cash and acting as an “collection agent” for the local Irish mob boss, Brennan, to deal with a “client” that owes Brennan $500,000. These two situations have very big twists in them and serve as exposition for the man that Leary is and the an he has to be.
Since we’re on the subject of HBO, Lights Out seems like it really would be more appropriate on that network as it feels more in the vein of The Sopranos or The Wire, but then again, this is the network that brought us the raw, hard-hitting epics The Shield and Damages so F/X has proven that it knows how to handle good drama.
If only Lone Star would have found a home on F/X instead of FOX but, we digress.
Lights out is a TKO and we highly recommend it. If you’re a fan of good serialized drama and complex characters, you will love this show.
BLUE BLOODS is a drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement. Frank Reagan is the New York City Police Commissioner and heads both the police force and the Reagan brood. He runs his department as diplomatically as he runs his family, even when dealing with the politics that plagued his unapologetically bold father, Henry, during his stint as Chief. A source of pride and concern for Frank is his eldest son Danny, a seasoned detective, family man, and Iraqi War vet who on occasion uses dubious tactics to solve cases. The sole Reagan woman in the family, Erin, is a N.Y. Assistant D.A. and newly single parent, who also serves as the legal compass for her siblings and father. Jamie is the youngest Reagan, fresh out of Harvard Law and the family’s “golden boy;” however, unable to deny the family tradition, Jamie decided to give up a lucrative future in law and is now a newly minted cop. Jamie’s life takes an abrupt turn when he’s asked to become part of a clandestine police investigation even his father knows nothing about, and one that could impact the family’s legacy. – CBS
Shawn: Blue Bloods is one of the most anticipated dramas this Fall for good reason. Simply look at this cast. Your leads are Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, and Bridget Moynihan… all television and film superstars (Len Cariou is no slouch either). Superstars like that don’t just arbitrarily sign on to do a show if they don’t already know it’s brilliant. The concept is definitely unique. An original cop show that focuses on a multigenerational family of cops and all of the dynamics that go along with that. I’m very excited about Blue Bloods.
9 out of 10
Yes, I know Blue Bloods has been on for over a month but good things come to those who wait.As noted by the preview, I knew Blue Bloods was going to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be as good as it is and I really wanted to do the show justice by watching several episodes and taking notes before I reviewed it.
Unlike other cop/legal procedurals, Blue Bloods isn’t beating you over the head with preachy, one-sided political propaganda (see: Outlaw, The Whole Truth, Boston Legal, Law & Order – the entire franchise) telling you what your opinion should be on various issues. Rather, every week, there’s a new and original plotline that invariably leads to a politically volatile issue and instead of the producers having the protagonists all carry the torch for one side of the issue without any inclination that a contrary opinion even has any merit, they intentionally present both sides as having merit and leave it to the audience to decide.
What makes this even more effective is the plot-device they use to address these issues: the family dining room table. It’s a fantastic and effective metaphor because it’s representative of not only how families often talk about the issues of the day so it’s relatable on that level but it’s also representative of American culture as a whole. Americans have vast and varying opinions on all ranges of political issues and like family members discussing them, the debates can also get quite heated as passions get involved.
The question that comes into play quite often is balancing act of following the law and doing what is the morally correct thing to do, because as we all know, the two don’t always coincide.
****(MINOR SPOILER ALERT!)****
Example: in the pilot Danny (Donnie Wahlberg – Boomtown, Band of Brothers) is faced with a dilemma. A ten year-old girl has been abducted and time is running out. He and his partner have found the kidnapper/deviant yet he will not tell them where the girl is. Danny proceeds to beat the confession out of the suspect specifically by repeatedly putting his head in a toilet bowl. Call it a poor-man’s waterboarding.
Now, no one would ever suggest that they we would want our police coercing confessions out of suspects using violence or torture, but on the other side of the coin, if you were the parent of that ten year-old wouldn’t you want Danny Reagan doing whatever he could no matter how much outside the constraints of the law it was to find your little girl even if it meant that he violated a pervert’s civil rights along the way? I know that I sure as Hell would. But, that of course leads to the inevitable question of, “Where do you draw the line?”
The truth is that with all issues, there is no “black and white,” just varying shades of gray and Blue Bloods recognizes this whereas most dramas treat the audience with an air of condescending superiority suggesting that they are too stupid to figure out right from wrong on their own without Hollywood explaining it to them. Blue Bloods respects its audience and because of that provides compelling, though-provoking drama every week.
These characters couldn’t have been written any better. They are nothing like the clichéd shells that you expect on most shows. Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck – Boston Legal, Magnum, P.I.), is the patriarch of this family and he deeply loves and cares about all of his children and unlike other cookie-cutter TV characters Frank wears his heart on his sleeve. There is a particularly touching scene between Danny and Frank where Frank expresses concern about his son’s well-being after coming back from war and lets him know that there’s no shame in talking to someone (a therapist) about it.
Now, how about that for a change in pace from the old gruff, TV cop/dads who would have just told their kid to suck it up and get over it. On the contrary, you can see the concern on Frank’s face when he’s having this discussion with Danny the same way any REAL dad would have if they were worried about their own kid.
The surprise to me on this show is Jamie (Will Estes – American Dreams, Reunion) because I didn’t think his character was going to be that compelling and quite honestly, Estes’ résumé is kind of thin. Not only is he doing an excellent job with developing his character as a rookie cop on a beat in the shadow of his big brother, but the writers have done an excellent job making him the focal point of the aforementioned clandestine investigation because he’s the last guy in the world you would ever think would be tapped for an undercover investigation of other cops. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that John Torturro (Third Watch, NYPD Blue) plays Jamie’s partner and mentor, Sgt. Anthony Renzulli. How ’bout them apples, huh? Like I said, this cast has some stones.
Bridget Moynihan (I Robot, Lord of War) does very well as the idealistic academic A.D.A., Erin Reagan-Boyle, constantly butting heads with the men in the family and she holds her own very well with the boys. As far as father to Frank and former police chief Henry Reaganthey couldn’t have casted anyone better than noted character actor Len Cariou (Damages, Brotherhood) . Nowadays, Henry is more concerned with spending time with his family and putting together toys for the grandkids but he’s always happy to throw his two cents in on the issue of the day… especially around that family dining room table.
Blue Bloods is one of the best three new shows on TV this fall and I’m thrilled that it’s finding success on Friday nights as well as the fact that it was on opposite of NBC’s failed series Outlaw to highlight just how bad that show was and just how well a police/legal procedural can be made when there’s some effort and talent behind it.