And then there was a refreshing breeze in the stink that dominated the fall season, with Jonathan Demme directing the first episode of A Gifted Man. Patrick Wilson, who we (we as in me) last saw in the astral projection horror movie of Insidious, is the asshole doctor. You know the House type, someone who is so brilliant that he is in high demand but has no bedside manner. Except he really isn't an asshole, he's just extremely driven and a little lifted from the everyman. And wealthy and wants for nothing. His (ghostly) ex-wife appears to him to remind him of what really is important. The episode was just so skillfully crafted, but I doubt it could carry the momentum for an entire series unless they chose a slow, steady arc of his redemption. I hesitate to watch any more episodes for fear of disappointment.
Last year, or earlier this year by download standards, the best thing I watched was the american adaptation of The Killing. It focused on the hard subject of how a family reacts when their teenage girl is murdered and also on the investigation around her death. It was that narrow focus that made the series, as it will in Homeland, about the return of an american POW and the investigation (by only one CIA agent, it seems) into whether he was "turned". Even ignoring the incredible cast, it's completely compelling where we know a little more each episode but are still completely unsure whether the full plot (against the US of A, not story plot) is there or not. Of course, I will watch Damian Lewis in anything but really, this show belongs to Claire Danes as the CIA agent who is not just obsessed with her investigation but actually may be suffering a psychotic break, if the pills her sister proscribes for her tell anything.
Finally, there is one I am not sure I will be able to watch again but damn I was thinking about it after seeing the first episode. Boss is the story of a Chicago mayor who is diagnosed with a disease that makes Alzheimer's pale in comparison. It will be a long haul but it will strip all dignity from this powerful man. And then the episode proceeds to show us exactly how powerful & dark he is and how we might not actually mind seeing him destroyed. He is an evil evil politician but a ... necessary one? Kelsey Grammar plays the man cool, coldly intelligent but on the edge of losing it all. I might have to download in bursts as I feel that watching the man steadily will leave me unsteady.