Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I Am Watching: The Glades, Continuum, Ray Donovan

The Glades is a light, couple fare procedural. The premise, which was probably dispensed with by episode 3 of the first season, of a cop from Chicago forced to move after a scandal and a large legal settlement. He ends up in Florida where he can buy a cheap but snazzy house and spend his days playing golf, cuz y'know, what can happen in non-urban Florida?  Well, it wouldn't be a show unless the answer was A LOT !

Jim Longworth is the cantankerous cop with a knack for pissing people off -- asking too many and often offensive questions until he figures out the murder. And he is as often annoying his coworkers as he is the suspects. Because, well, everyone is a suspect until he knows otherwise. But on the other side, when he gets a crush on a local nurse, it is entirely sweet. His job is his job and he is actually a pretty decent guy.

I just like watching the way his relationship with Callie grows, as there is no aspect of "will they get together" as other shows do. By season 4, he and Callie are engaged. There have been some rough spots but the relationship is so sincere, its a joy watching it grow.  See what I mean? Couple fare.

The crime aspect is actually pretty milk toast but the fun is in how much of a tourism commercial for southern Florida the show is. We can ignore the product shots, but we get so much exposure to different areas, people and history of the area. Jim is ever the visitor and his coworkers are constantly educating him to the highlights of Florida life. Meanwhile he continues to grow his reputation as a spectacular cop which just gives him the needed leeway to act the ass, when investigating.

On the other end of the spectrum is a typical scifi Canadian production. Continuum is a time travel series, so of course I am watching. Kiera Cameron is a cop from 2077.  She is assigned, as we are reminded every episode in the opening voiceover, to the execution of a captured terrorist group. But something goes wrong (actually, quite as planned) and the cop & criminals are transported back to 2013 Vancouver. And yes, this is set in Vancouver not just random unnamed US city pretending to not be Vancouver.

The premise is very solid and straight forward -- Kiera has to stop the terrorists from manipulating our present day so their future agenda is played out, all the while trying to figure out how to get back home to her son and husband. She has to work her way into the Vancouver police force, using her magic technology to play the part of a secret American task force member, sent to Canada to assist with these terrorists that just appeared out of nowhere. And she has to build a relationship with a young techie, who happens to be the leading technologist of her age, albeit when he is much older.

There is little play on the typical concepts of time travel fiction. Its hinted at, as the goal of the terrorists is to play with their future, but we never focus on it to any minute degree, i.e. we are not playing with the butterfly effect where we see the dire consequences of any minute change. Kiera messes with history all the time not worrying too much how things will affect the future. And she never experiences any altered memories. Its kind of refreshing, not really having any of the consequences shown to us.  At least, not until the end of season two when an alternate group of time travellers appears with an agenda to protect the time stream. How? We have no clue until next season.

Finally, we have something I have only just started watching, Ray Donovan. Again, a simple premise, a Boston gangster transplanted to LA where he is a fixer for the stars. He deals with scandalous situations, stalkers and the like. He has an ex-boxer of a brother and another one who is a recovering addict. And thennnn there is his dad, a scuzbag of a criminal who just got out of jail and has come to LA to rebuild a relationship with his family. But there is a darker unrevealed connection there that has Ray hating the old man... utterly.

It's the cast that brought me to the show. Liev Schreiber is Ray, Eddie Marsan and Dash Mihok are his brothers. And Jon Voight is the scuzzy aging gangster dad. So scuzzy. I am not one attracted to shows with only reprehensible people but something about this will probably keep me coming back. The setting? Hollywood seedy is expected. The acting? Incredibly strong so far.  We shall have to see how it goes.