February 22, 2012

February 22, 2012

Battleground

A cursory review of my blog tags at lower right indicates that I write often about television, The West Wing, and Wisconsin. One could call them three of the motivators that got me where I am today, but since you’d also have include frozen foods and Korea, it’s not a perfect analogy. Suffice to say I’m keenly interested in any combination of the three.

Naturally, when something touching all three of these areas comes highly recommended, I’m going to look into it. Enter “Battleground,” a made-for-Hulu series about a state senate campaign in Wisconsin. Stylistically, it’s very like “The Office.” 80% indoor scenes with occasionally-jittery camerawork, 10% outdoor scenes, 10% talking heads. The characters seem to be much more attractive in the talking heads, with better wardrobe/hair/makeup. I’m told by friend-of-blog Melanie—one of the show’s assistant editors—that the talking heads were shot on the last day, so everyone put their best foot forward.

Oh, that’s right: MY FRIEND WORKED ON THIS SHOW. THAT HAS BEEN COVERED BY NATIONAL MEDIA OUTLETS. BOOYAH.

Having only seen the one episode, I don’t remember any of the character’s names, but here they are, sorta:

- The Campaign Boss. He looks to me like a young Dean Cain, though the Rob Lowe character on Parks and Recreation is probably a more contemporary comparison. He is attractive, he is passionate about the cause…how can we NOT like him?

- The New Kid. Idealistic volunteer who shows up with a letter of recommendation from his last job…a renaissance festival.

- The Nepotism Case-in-Point. His dad bankrolled the campaign or something, hence his job. Not that that keeps him from pretending that he’s a political genius.

The candidate herself doesn’t show up much, which isn’t actually a problem. Remember that President Bartlet didn’t show up until the very end of WW’s pilot; that show was actually originally envisioned as being almost-exclusively about the staffers. But, y’know, Martin Sheen is amazing and all.

Structurally, it was a bit confusing. The first scene takes place as the candidate wins the election (spoiler alert), then flashes back to earlier in the campaign. The talking heads, though, are all in the present day. So when one character turns out to be in jail, you’ve got yourself a big WTF moment. I hope things will become clearer as the show progresses. The first two episodes (of 13) are available on Hulu.

As for setting, my beloved home state doesn’t get its full due in episode one, as it’s relegated mostly to shots of farm fields and Madison (the capital). Still, there were a few pitch-perfect accents and enough atmosphere (cold, barren, plenty of salt-covered cars) to give you the gist.

Give it a look-see:

1 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke:

omg, you find the best shows! Hilarious! oh, and I DO know what the countdown is for and am super excited!! :D