Magic City, Starz’s riff on Mad Men,
Enter the Slimy Investment Partner played with almost comical panache by Danny Huston. You’ll know him as “that guy from the thing.” (Seriously, look him up on IMDb and tell me otherwise.) This is a man who shoots his wife’s dog in order to get some peace and quiet for a phone conversation. He is serious bad news. And yet seriously rich. Dangit.
Other characters: Morgan’s two sons, one who’s besotted with a hotel maid and the other who’s besotted with anything in a skirt (including Slimy Investment Partner’s wife, egad!). Morgan’s wife, who converted to Judaism to marry him and is now more devout than he is. Various hotel staff. Etc.
Starz put the first three episodes online; I believe the show regularly airs on Friday nights. I’m not saying it’s a bad show; I’m just saying that it’s no Mad Men.
Scandal, brought to you by ABC and Shonda Rimes, is about Olivia Pope. She’s DC’s go-to fixer for scandals political, animal, and mineral. You have a problem, go to Olivia and her “gladiators in suits.” Such a noble thing, sweeping Washington’s dirt under the carpet! Whatever would we do without people like Olivia?
Except it’s all a little too handy. Of course the cop guarding the crime scene has a secret, used by one of Olivia’s team to blackmail to access the crime scene. Of course the President of the United States has some sort of romantic history with Olivia and comes across as a sort of needy ex-boyfriend. Of course all of these coincidental connections allow Olivia’s team to wrap up any problem in 42 minutes.
Washington is a small town, but it’s not THAT small. C’mon.
The pilot’s opening scene featured talking so fast that I (I!) had to turn on the closed captioning. Shonda Rimes, you are no Aaron Sorkin. Don’t even try. In addition, the outdoor scenes all featured parks that I’m pretty sure don’t actually exist. Here’s a scene that happened in my apartment about four times during the first episode:
[On-screen, a park in front of the White House or Jefferson Memorial]
Me: Where IS that?
[Show goes to commercial]
Me: Seriously, where IS that? I don’t think that place exists. Why was there no fence in front of the White House? That’s not what the Tidal Basin benches look like. Was that whole thing green screened?
[Show returns from commercial]
Me: THAT IS NOT A REAL PLACE!
It was frustrating, to say the least. Episodes are available on Hulu; I believe the show regularly airs on Wednesday nights. I’m not saying it’s a bad show; I’m just saying that it’s no West Wing.