5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Don't let the title fool you...,
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This review is from: Swingtown - The First Season [DVD] (DVD)
...Or the first episode. "Swingtown", which caused more than a little bit of controversy in the USA a few years ago, is about so much more than wife-swapping in the liberated 1970s.
It centres around three couples, and their teenage children. The Deckers, Tom and Trina (Grant Show and Lana Parrilla) are an affluent couple with an open marriage. The Millers, Bruce and Susan (Jack Davenport and Molly Parker, and their teenage children Laurie and Bruce Jnr., are an upwardly-mobile family; when Bruce had some luck at work, they moved opposite the Deckers, and are being introduced to a whole new world of change and freedom. Meanwhile, there is a third family, the quiet and sensible Thompson family, Roger and Janet (Josh Hopkins and Miriam Shor) and their teenage son Rick, former neighbours of the Millers.
Although there is a certain amount of sexual activity and drug use in the show, that's not the main focus, and is only used to further the plot. Over the course of the season: strong relationships get tested, dutiful housewives embrace a more modern age, the meek discover their own identities, teenagers embark on first loves, and characters change in ways they wouldn't expect.
All of the characters are likable, in no small part due to the wonderful portrayals by the cast.
In other hands, it would be very easy to find the Deckers predatory, but Grant Show and Lana Parrilla make them so charming and sophisticated as a couple that it's impossible to find them that way. Molly Parker has amazing emotional depth as an actress and I found I always understood her behaviour, even when it seemed so strange for a character of her background. Jack Davenport had a hard job making Bruce sympathetic later on in the season, but he always managed it deftly. However, the characters who, in my opinion, deserve special mention are Josh Hopkins' performance as Roger Thompson - the slightly henpecked husband who loses his sense of direction - and Miriam Shor's performance as Janet Thompson - the apparently-rigid, repressed housewife, who discovers there's more about herself than even she realised.
Conclusion: The show is vibrant (every episode seems to have a party, or some other treat for the eyes), entertaining (there are some wonderful lines), with strong storylines and wonderful acting.