Tuesday, November 09, 2010
my opinion

As you all probably know, I watch a lot of television. I do, for two reasons....1) I am a member of The Television Academy, and 2) I am interested in 'the state' of Television having worked in 'show biz' for many many years. So, In my opinion there is something wrong with this new show, "Law & Order, Los Angeles". It just doesn't ring true, to me. Besides feeling as far away from the original "Law & Order" franchise which was cancelled..(BIG Mistake, NBC) as it could possibly be---I just don't believe anything about it, and I really really wanted to.....The original "Law & Order" was brilliant in every way. The writing, the acting, the directing. It all always felt "real", or as real as a Dramatic Television show can feel.....All these episodes---especially the first ten years or more of the original, really hold up on 2nd, 3rd and even 4th viewing. The Police felt real and the District Attorney's office felt real too--even if it actually wasn't and isn't. The thing about this new one is, nothing feels real----but, especially, the writing and, I'm sorry to say, some of the acting is just "off". The brilliantly talented Alfred Molina is just the wrong fit for this series---I think he is an exceptional actor, but...he feels wrong in this series. The best acting is done by the incredibly talented Terrence Howard. (In the center of that very first picture....). Everything he does is 'true'. Everything. I wish I could say that about the rest of the acting, but I can't, and that is sad.....But Guess What? Interestingly enough, BBC America is showing "Law & Order: U.K." and it is really really good....The first shows we've seen here across the pond, are all based on the original scripts from the first years of "Law & Order", and again, that is when the writing was superb. Of course, the scripts are adapted for the UK as they should be, but there is a truth to the writing, and the acting and the directing, that gives you the feel of reality, just as the original series did here in the States. Check it out if you get BBC America.It is worth a look-see, if you loved the "original" and miss it......

Let me talk about another cop show. "Blue Bloods", the show about the Reagan Family with Tom Selleck and Donny Wahlberg----I really wanted to like this show, too. But it appears that the Reagan Family of Policeman are the only cops in New York City....It strains credibility when every week, these are the only cops assigned to and who solve 'the big case', and the cases are all Very Big And Very Important And Threatening To The Whole City, if you get my drift. For me, it's not good when the Reagan Family solves all of these cases, because it then becomes the first thing you notice about a show that is trying to be 'real' and isn't. I mean, Donny Wahlberg cannot be the only Policeman in the entire city of New York....!Even Grandpa, (Over on the right side of the picture above...) who is a retired Policeman---played by the always incredibly wonderful Len Cariou---gets into the act of solving a case here and there---And of course, Daddy Reagan, played by the stone faced Tom Selleck, (I never know what he feels....!) is the Police Commissioner.....The youngest son is a rookie cop and the daughter is a lawyer with the city, and there was another son who was a policeman who was killed in the line of duty....Oy. And they seem to always have Sunday dinner---or maybe it is dinner every night, as a family, in Daddy and Grandpa's home. Grandpa, Daddy, the Children and the Grandchildren. Sure. For my money, they need to 'get real'.
"The Good Wife"....2nd season....I really liked this show when it came on last year, but I must admit, I was concerned that it might begin to be a little like a Soap Opera. Well...it is still very good, but, it is teetering on the fringe of Soap Opera in this 2nd season.....Will Alicia leave her husband? Will "Will" get seriously involved with another woman? Will Alicia's husband, played by Chris Noth......(He can do no wrong as an actor as far as I'm concerned, plus he is so good to look at...), take up with another woman? Will something be revealed about Kalinda that is shocking? "tune-in-next-week-to-find-outville...". The actors are all wonderful! It is a great cast---particularly Archie Panjabi as Kalinda, who so deservedly won the Emmy this year for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama.....Christine Baranski, who plays one of the Law Partners and is just super super wonderful....Alan Cumming as the slimy slithery Eli Gold---is absolutely perfect as this oily awful man! And Julianna Marguiles is fabulous as Alicia.She is an actress that does very little and conveys everything---a rare and stupendous feat to pull off, let me tell you, and she does it....But, I pray that 'The Good Wife' doesn't slip and slide further into the Land of Soapyness. Don't get me wrong, I loved Soap Operas, back-in-the-day....Daytime Soap Opera saved my life, truly--starting on Radio back in 1941. But I don't want to see them at night, please. I will pray that the Scott brothers steer this ship in the wisest direction possible, and keep up the very high quality they started out with last season....
The BEST new series of this season, in my opinion, is "Boardwalk Empire".If you have HBO, and you haven't seen it, catch up on all the episodes by going to 'on demand'. It takes place in Atlantic City just at the start of Prohibition......The Writing, Acting and Directing are all superior to almost anything else on the tube, now that "Mad Men" Season 4 is over....(What is it with the so called "seasons" of 12---if you are lucky, or less---sometimes 10 or even 8 or the extreme of 6 episodes...I'm sorry, but THAT is not a season: That's a taste of a show....!)The attention to detail concerning the 'period' in Boardwalk Empire is just fabulous---the first episode Directed by Martin Scorsese looked like a $60mil feature film---no doubt a lot of money was spent on this first episode, but it established clearly what we as an audience could come to expect, and it does not disappoint on any level.There are so very many interesting characters involved in the story-line(above: Actors Michael Pitt and Steve Buscemi, who play Jimmy Darmody and Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, who are based on real people, but fictionalized for this series), but the series includes names we are all familiar with like Arnold Rothstein and Lucky Luciano and Al Capone, mixing the real with the invented. It is a top quality in every way---living up to what we have come to expect from HBO. This is a wonderful fascinating series and very much worth your time.....Check it out.

Just my opinion.

More To Come..........

Note: The sublimely talented Jill Clayburgh died, last Friday at her home in Connecticut. No, I didn't know her, but I knew she was one of the great actresses of our time. I first saw her in a film made for television called "Hustling" by Gail Sheehy....She played a street hustler in New York City, named 'Wanda'.....I really and truly thought she was the real thing---and not an actress, at all! It was beyond memorable...it was incandescent! She received an Emmy Nomination for this stunning performance. Her most famous performance was in "Unmarried Woman", and she was nominated for an Academy Award for that one, too....Again, she was this woman 'Erica'. She was the real deal. Jill Clayburgh had been battling Leukemia for twenty years. Almost no one knew that. Brave in her Art and brave in her Life, too. RIP Jill C.

Links to this post:


had this to say:

I don't watch any of the shows you mentioned except "Boardwalk Empire" and "Mad Men." I really love both shows. I'm so impressed by Kelly McDonald that I want to watch Gosford Park and No Country For Old Men again just to see her.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 1:23:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

your opinion is spot on! I feel badly about law and order LA but there's just so much stretch even to elastic!

so.. this post sounds like a whole new blog! lol It is called "IMO" (In My Opinion)..love it! You should be a tv "critic"! (but then again you'd be to nice to them all!) lol.. great post Naomi!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 2:34:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Always love your reviews Naomi.You make me wish I got HBO but I don't.
I've never seen the first Law and Order--no real reason I can think of.I am a true minority.Will check out the British version however.
I do like Blue Bloods however but like you, I also wondered why NY needs anyone else but the Reagan family to keep them safe. Kind of like the dinner table scenes.
Love the Good Wife and don't care if it does become a soap. I would not want Kalinda to ever be on the side against me. She is so good at her job and a tad scary.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 4:16:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Yes I know how passionate you are about theatres, movies, drama and everything nice :)

I don't follow TV series very much except for half an hour of comedy sometimes. I remembered when I was a little girl...hehehe..ya little girl I watch The Carol Burnett Show, cracked me up all the time :"D

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 5:38:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I tend to avoid watching "cops and robbers" style TV shows. I just don't find them particularly entertaining. There's enough crime and mayhem reported on the nightly news, so why do I want to see more of it? But as I don't watch these shows, I can't really criticise them, can I?
I haven't seen "Boardwalk Empire" as I don't get that paticular channel, but OlderSon says it's good and he is recording it for me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 5:59:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

My daughter and I watch Bones together. We liked the original Law and Order, too. Where do you see the BBC version?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 6:00:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Your reviews 'almost' make me want to watch those shows. Like I love Alfred Molina and even if he's not at his best, he's always worth watching for me. But I don't watch series TV ever anymore. I just don't want to get tied to something weekly; but if I ever do, I'd think about some of these as they sound like interesting premises.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 6:50:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I always thought Steve Buscemi was underrated. I cannot recall a role of his I've disliked.

As for LAO-LA, I think that franchise jumped the shark some years ago. In typical fashion the execs tended to dilute something creative to make more money and unfortunately, each succeeding iteration is less convincing than the one before.

(I feel the same way about CSI-[Fill in Blank] franchise.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 9:54:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I agree on your opinion of the shows - I don't have HBO so haven't seen the one you like...

It was sad to see that Jill passed away...I loved her acting...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 11:48:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I'm a rabid fan of both Boardwalk and Steve Buscemi. The writing, costumes, scripts are all top notch! I'm really glad they finally found a good solid vehicle for Steve to play a leading man. He has never had "Hollywood" good looks, but has always looked "real" and believable. I'll take a real man over a Ken doll any day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 1:49:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I do not watch much television at all and I do not have HBO. I’d like to watch the BBC though as I always liked their shows when I lived in England. So, I’m sorry this is not much of a comment but I wished to say that I enjoyed reading your TV reviews.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 5:51:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I am absolutely LOVING Boardwalk Empire,have only seen the first three episodes so far but have others waiting to be watched. So happy we are able to get it here on Sky :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 8:20:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I have never seen any episode of Law and Order - and I don't know why. I agree with you about The Good Wife and Boardwalk Empire - I like that one, very much!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 9:51:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I have fallen out of touch with a lot of the latest tv shows over the years due to where I live, and the lack of television stations available, however I have always loved Law and Order and it spin off, law and Order: SVU.

Jerry Orbach was such a wonderful actor!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 4:43:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I have no watched any of those shows, though I saw lots of Jill Clayburgh. I was so surprised to read how long she had to live with leukemia. Amazing woman indeed!
You certainly make some of these shows sound interesting. Your opinion carries much weight. And I agree--what is with all this talk of "seasons?" HA! How stupid do they think we are? I wonder what the actors think? Are they paid more? Less? Writers should have plenty of time to give us quality work.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 8:43:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi,
I'm not a fan of TV-Shows - I feel most of them waist my time. Special those called Soaps. We should wash them out with the water in the Tube.
But, as long as they sell ad's to unconcious consumers, they will exist.
I prefere to watch programs from which I can learn something. Or good movies. Like good old ones at TCM. I also like some BBC Shows like Allo, Allo and the one with John Cleese as Hotel owner: Faulty Tower.

But I like reading your honest opinions, because you with professional insight sees the difference between quality and what's not.

btw. I think you will like my post from Saint Tropez. It was strange to be back there after so many years.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 11:59:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Boardwalk Empire has lived up to my expectations! I hope it stays good.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 7:01:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I love to get your take on tv shows. I haven't watched any of these and don't get HBO. Sadly, right now I don't have one show I like enough to watch regularly. Still miss West Wing and Studio 64, liked the New Adventures of Old Christine but they kept changing the time and I lost it. It's in re-run now.

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 5:40:00 AM PST 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

I don't know enough about those programmes to comment but I'm sad to hear Alfred Molina had been miscast again. I thought the same in 'An Education.' However he has just done a TV series with Dawn French which was excellent.
No one does slime like Alan Cummings. He's divine;)

Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 7:43:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi!
I always love reading your opinion about tv and movies. I love seeing Brothers & Sisters and Monk too. I don't watch any other shows...

It was very sad to see that Jill Clayburgh passed away...I loved her acting too. I saw a film very funny, named Never Again, with her and the actor Jeffrey Tambor. It's about two people who have pledged never to fall in love again then discover each other in a gay bar.
So funny!

Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 7:58:00 AM PST 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

I'm a little late to this party but wanted add that there is another show that can currently be seen on BBC America named Luther. Another crime drama that is quite good.


Monday, November 15, 2010 at 4:28:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

We really enjoy Boardwalk Empire. I was not going to watch it but ended up getting sucked in! But I also like having at least one show Martin and I can enjoy together. And HBO Sundays are about it for us! I used to love the old Law and Orders...years and years ago. The orignial series I guess. And though I don't really like cop shows I think that Detroit 871 or whatever the number is, is a really good show.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 11:10:00 AM PST 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

I agree with you about the Good Wife and the others really lost me in the first episodes. Actually, as time passes I watch less and less TV.... the weather to check on what I can do outside... the financial channel to check the state of the yen, euro and dollar for my brother who has to deal in all those exchange gizmos and Sunrise Earth on the National Geographic Channel... no talk, just an hour of natural sounds in beautiful locations as the sun rises.

Friday, November 19, 2010 at 6:07:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I once sat and watched about two series of Mad Men throughout the night and into the next day. I had not seen it before and had a lot to catch up on. I really like the Good Wife when it started but it somehow doesnt quite hit the mark. I like the side characters better than the main ones. Like the female private investigator for example is great to watch. I like watching it because its interesting for me to see how law firms qork and I can relate to what my daughter tells me - its pretty authentic in that way at least.

Of course we don't get all the shows you mentioned. I have been so busy of late that I dont really watch too much TV anyway.

Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 7:13:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I totally agree with you on Blue Bloods. I had wanted to like the show as well. Overall a pretty good cast and I think Donnie Wahlberg is an underrated actor and I have always hoped Will Estes would one day breakout and get the recognition he deserves.

But the storylines are just so typical. You're so right, it seems as if this Reagan clan are the only cops in the city. And while the actors are all competent, I don't seem to care about any of them. Too bad really.

Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 11:33:00 PM PST 

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