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4.4 out of 5 stars60
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 28 September 2009
Not knowing what to expect, I thoroughly enjoyed Season 1 as it's not the kind of drama I normally watch. I got Season 2 despite reading some reviews that it was not as good as Season 1 and had a muddled plot. Upshot of this - I watched the entire season in a weekend. Having finished an episode I couldn't leave any time before wanting to watch the next episode. I love the way they give you glimpses of what happens in the future, but they do it in such a way that you totally get the wrong idea about what is about to happen. Yes, the plot was more complicated than Season 1 and there were more characters, some of whom dissappear for a couple of episodes at a time, but that made it all the better for me because I love having to concentrate on what is going on and how all the pieces gradually come together. Having a couple of the actors from The Wire feature was also a masterstroke. I only have one minor criticism. In order to wrap everything up and conclude the story I felt a couple of the characters towards the end said and did things that didn't (to me) totally fit in with the character they had played up to that point. Only a minor criticism to what was compulsive viewing.
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I enjoyed the first series of DAMAGES and knew I had to watch the second. Yes, I enjoyed this one too but there was something missing this time around. For a start, I'm not totally convinced that Rose Byrne has the ability to play the pivotal role of corporate femme fatale Ellen Parsons. Much of what happens in this series revolves around her one way or another, but she doesn't actually DO much, apart from put on those glassy eyes once every now and then. One minute super-smart Patty has Ellen sussed, the next she's underestimated her. And at the end of the day, Ellen is no match for Patty, even if that's not how things work out here. Then there's The Case - the big one being Patty's attempts to bring down UNR (a kind of Union Carbide, but in Virginia), who she reckons are responsible for poisoning the local populace with a chemical called Aracite. So Patty's planning a class-action suit on behalf of all the many plaintiffs, but we see relatively little of them (in order to personalise the story, win more audience empathy) and instead we get the more simplified focus of Patty vs UNR's arrogant CEO Walter Kendrick (played by John Doman, well-known for his role as a senior cop in THE WIRE). There are occasional appearances by Arthur Frobisher (played by Ted Danson) as a carry-over from the first series but ultimately he's little more than cosmetic dressing and not central to any of the main stories.

The central theme within Hewes & Associates is that Ellen is collaborating with the FBI because she has a personal vendetta hanging over from series one - that Patty arranged to have her killed. This was strained as a concept stretching 13 episodes and although it had some twists and turns, there wasn't enough meat on its bones, partly because Rose Byrne, excellent actress though she is, seemed slightly out of her depth up against ruthless, stone-hearted Patty Hewes. Meanwhile Walter Kendrick in this role lacked the anti-hero likeability of Ted Danson from the first series, while key figure William Hurt (as Daniel Purcell) was consistently a nuisance, for being (imho) miscast.

But I liked it. And that's because Glenn Close carries it. She is quite perfectly cast and she has made Damages what it is and as good as it is. She is magnetic in every scene and has the star-quality to be so. She makes some of the peripheral characters - not least new partner Tom Shayes - appear weak and breakable, and I would have thought that such a ball-breaker as Patty Hewes wouldn't have chosen such partners in real life.

One of the surprise newcomers who made a good impression on me was Timothy Olyphant (as Wes Krulik), Ellen's new lover and I liked the uncertainty he portrayed as to which way he would ultimately swing - and we didn't find out until the very last minute.

The script is generally tight and economical, full of intelligent touches and with some interesting spin-off threads such as Patty's relationships with her husband and son. I don't think Series 2 has done any harm to the product's brand image and I will be one of millions eager to see where things carry on in the third series. I also appreciated the high-definition broadcast, which made for an enhanced viewing experience.
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Damages' brilliant first season was an out-of-the-blue treat for me. I've never enjoyed a legal drama before and had no real interest in a show that starred Glenn 'Cruella De Vil' Close, but after a few insistences I took the plunge and spent two fab nights enjoying it's tightly plotted, superbly acted joys. To say it's second season is a disappointment is something of an understatement.

This is mainly due to the creators' decision to fall back on that plot staple which so dominates modern major American drama- the government conspiracy. Yawn. Prison Break, Lost, 24, Heroes, all once-great programs that fell to the temptation of having their characters face and surmount immeasurable odds. This is a step down from the first season's plot (wherein an astoundingly good Ted Danson screws over his entire company to make a quick buck). The Wire's John Doman serves as our main villain but he's still part of a faceless company, and considering the wealth of co-conspirators, heavies and good-guys-gone-bad-gone-good-gone-who-knows, the whole thing seems a tad impersonal.

While things pick up mid-season for a vast improvement, the show is still marred by cheap shock plot twists (daddy issues all across the board) and a disposable-character attitude I felt somewhat offended by. Thanks the Gods for the cast then, who make sure this is still an ensemble worth tuning in for. Rose Byrne is as excellent as ever, as is a top-billing Close (treading a insanely crooked line between ice-queen villain and champion of the weak). Of the new additions, it is not an all-over-the-place William Hurt that shines but Deadwood's Timothy Olyphant, at times apparently channelling a young Eastwood as Ellen's love interest Wes. Danson's back too, as mesmerising as he was the previous year as amoral charmer Arthur Frobisher. As before, it is he who comes across as the hero, not Close's Patty Hewes.

Still a show I'll follow, I just hope the writers have the fortitude to go smaller next year. Apparently the cast have another four seasons on their contracts so at least there's time to improve.
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on 24 December 2011
(Spoilers below) Excellent progression from Series One, with twists and turns at every moment. I have to say though, this series does take what could be seen as a vaguely believable storyline in high stakes commercial litigation in first series, to the next level. The FBI storyline is the best example of this - and too many times throughout the series you are made to question why exactly the characters would actually do what they have done? The final episode, despite a fine conclusion to the series, really is quite ridiculous.

Despite this, this series deserves no less than five stars. The storyline is compelling, and although complex is extremely well presented. Unlike other TV series, you are not often left lost, despite the complexity and flashback narrative. I have never found a series, or indeed a movie, which combines such high quality acting and storylines into such an exciting piece of television. Highly recommended.
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on 26 May 2013
Although perhaps not as strong as series 1, I've given it 5 stars anyway, simply because I love Patty, Tom, and Ellen, and the various machinations and double-crosses that are Damages trademark. I ADORED Marcia Gay Harden's character, and William Hurt was great too. One disappointed (spoiler alert!) was that Patty's marriage wasn't as perfect as it at first appeared. Michael, her son, is continuing to cause her problems, but, Patty being Patty, she regards the problem as similar to a business problem and deals with it as such, instead of talking to Michael, mother-to-son. I've got series 3, so I guess that's proof enough that Damages 2 was good enough to keep me watching - mainly due to Glenn Close, in the role of her life!
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on 28 February 2010
Well what can I say!!!!!! Fantastic with all the twists & turns keeping you in suspense all the way through.Season 3 on tv just now but will certainly add the dvd to my library when it is realeased.
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on 30 November 2010
More of the same from the gifted team that brought us the first series. Fantastic plotlines, brilliant acting and beautiful camera work. But..... it is soo complicated. Never have we used our pause button so much. Who is that? what is he doing? Backwards and forwards in time at dizzying speed, never quite knowing where we are. My advice - just let it wash over you. You probably won't quite work out who is doing what to whom and why? so let it run and marvel at the scriptwriters that came up with such byzantine plotting.
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on 19 April 2010
We caught the first series on freeview by accident and it totally hooked us and immediately sent off for the second series and this is just as good
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on 11 October 2013
I think having the full season on DVD was better than waiting for the program each week , there is so much info going back in time to justify what is now happening that a week in between would have lost me and ultimately i would have lost interest so i recommend that if you did not view it on TV just buy the set you will enjoy it better.
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on 14 July 2010
I've loved this series from the start, not only for the wonderful Glenn Close, but the twists of plot line - I gather the cast never really know how things are going to turn out, with back stories being added as they go along. I saw it all when shown on UK TV but it came up completely fresh - points missed initially add to the jigsaw.
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