Top positive review
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Dark, gritty & violent yet engrossing TV Drama.
on 28 January 2015
Ray Donovan, L.A. fixer to the stars. No problem too big or mess too messy (and that’s just his home life). His complex and often brutal profession life makes his work / life balance difficult enough to manage without the unexpected release of his father, Micky, from prison after serving twenty years for murder. If Ray’s life was difficult before, he’s now dragged into an increasingly chaotic series of fire fighting operations just trying to keep up with the direct and indirect aftermath of Micky’s actions.
That more-or-less sums up the central premise of this unusual and difficult to pigeon-hole TV show. His family life and relationship with his father and brothers may seem a bit family soapy or crime / mob Sopranos’ish but it’s not entirely. The LA glamour & money components could lend the show a glitzy action element but it doesn’t. The involvement of the FBI could make it police procedural, but it’s not. A buddy show it most definitely is not. It is a curious and surprisingly successful blend of genres.
The main cast is superb; all the way from Leiv Shrieber title role, Jon Voight the delinquent father, Paula Malcomson (Trixie from the excellent Deadwood) the long suffering wife, Ray’s brothers Terry (another British actor making good in the USA) & Bunchy through to Elliot Gould and James Woods. Even the kids are good & that certainly makes a change. The production is equally splendid and the writing similarly so, as the plot twists, turns and lurches its way from one catastrophe to another (although I must confess that we got a bit confused at one point – we probably missed a crucial bit of dialogue). There is always a firm narrative thread to keep the plot moving along so you’re never stuck with that ‘Oh no, here we go again…’ feeling; it all hangs together very neatly.
This is not comfortable, reassuring drama; the lives of the totally dysfunction extended Donovan family is the absolute antitheses of the cosy Regans in Blue Bloods. It would be great to see a CSI style cross-over episode; it would be hilarious. There’s harsh language, violence, gore, more violence and some mumbling (but it’s not too bad). The characters are all so well drawn, damaged and flawed as they are, that it’s hard to like any of them but you still can’t help but emphasise. Ray Donovan is a surprising and remarkable bit of TV drama; gritty, plausible (well, mostly) and thoroughly engrossing. Season two is on our wish list ready for June 2015. Excellent stuff.