Tuesday, July 18, 2006

TV: I Know What I Watched This Summer

You can have your new fall season. For some reason I watch more TV in the summer. And not just baseball. HBO has Entourage and Deadwood. (How can Gerald McRaney can be so terrifying on the latter? We’re talking about Major Dad here. And he played Simon or Simon, I can’t remember which.) I’m also giving Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes a try, along with:

Brotherhood. The best new series in a while. It’s The Wire by way of Dennis Lehane, inspired by Boston’s Bulger boys. Two brothers – one an ambitious state representative, the other a criminal who resurfaces after a seven year absence – each try to build power while staying out of the other’s way.

The scenes depicting old-school ethnic politics are as engrossing as the gangland material. It’s about damn time we Irish Catholics got our own crime drama; after all, we carry guilt and grudges better than anyone else. The show has a great look – Philip Noyce helmed the pilot – aided by on-location shooting in Providence, Rhode Island, which has its own colorful history of hijinks in high office.

Hustle. AMC has been showing this UK import for a while. I’m only a recent convert. Each week a group of ridiculously appealing con artists separates a rich fool from his money. It’s tremendous fun: the scams have been depicted as silent movies and lavish production numbers. The loose, cool vibe makes a nice change of pace when everything else on TV is either a serial or a procedural.

Next week I’ll be adding another show to the roster, when BBC America starts showing Life on Mars.

Miscellaneous: Depp Notes

The upcoming season at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre includes the new musicals Cry-Baby and Edward Scissorhands, both based on Johnny Depp movies. I’m holding out for Ed Wood myself.

Miscellaneous: More Memories of the Mick

Among the best tributes to the late Mickey Spillane: Ed Gorman and, at Sarah Weinman’s indispensable site, Max Allan Collins, who offers both a literary and a personal perspective.