Thursday, January 22, 2009

Getting caught up with Damages

I did an open thread for the "Damages" season two premiere, and in all the hubbub of press tour, never got around to doing that (or a longer review) for episode two. With last night's episode, "I Knew Your Pig," we're caught up on the episodes I saw in advance, and which informed the complaints I made in my column a few weeks back. I don't really have the time or energy to add to that right now, but I suspect I'll give the season another episode or two before deciding for sure that the series simply isn't for me.

In the meantime, how's it working out for the rest of you?

18 comments:

Hal Incandenza said...

I thought it was lame, lame, lame...and, at this stage, I have no idea why I should care about any of the storylines. (So far as I can tell, Patty has no reason to worry, since the feds seem thoroughly incompetent--really, you thought you were going to nail her with a straight-up cash grab?) Yet, for some reason, I can't seem to stop watching. (I guess it's my new Heroes.)

Also: I'm nominating the scene where Olyphant opens his cabinet for the worst musical cue of the year. So heavy-handed.

Anonymous said...

I thought this episode was pretty excellent. Especially liked how the time shifts were handled. More Hurt/Close moments, which are always welcome

Anonymous said...

Jim, it's not for me. First ep. this season, when Patti appears on tv with Regis and Kelly. I seriously considered turning off the tube at that point. That's the best the writers can do to bring us up to date? Further, I'm so so very tired of the convention of "bringing us up to date". Its simply hackneyed. Anyway, I came back for episode two, but that's it for me.

Will Eidam said...

I think the Emmys point out exactly why I watch (and am now addicted to the show).

Best Actress Winner: Glenn Close
Best Supporting Actor Winner: Zeljko Ivanek
Best Supporting Actor Nominee: Ted Danson

The plot has never been a big hook for me. I don't think anything serious will happen to Close or Rose Byrne, but I love to see how their relationship develops, and how so much can be said with their facial expressions.

And how do you make up for losing Ray Fiske? How about adding Oscar Winners and Nominees...That's why they also won...

2008: Outstanding Casting For Drama Series

Sometimes the story being told is important and not the performances (See: "The Wire" and all of their supporting roles being handed to non-actors)

Other times, it's just sitting back and enjoying great acting (Therefore, it sooooo NOT like "Heroes," Hal)

I'll keep watching until it seems like the actors are just going thru the motions in each episode (See: Jack Bauer)

Alan Sepinwall said...

The plot has never been a big hook for me. I don't think anything serious will happen to Close or Rose Byrne, but I love to see how their relationship develops, and how so much can be said with their facial expressions.

But how much is actually being said, given that the actresses often don't know the full story behind what's going on and how their characters are really responding to things?

Close is impressive on the surface, certainly, but the nature of the show's plotting and how it's made makes it hard for any of these talented castmembers to give a full-bodied performance.

Kelly said...

I'm countering Hal's nomination--I'd nominate that scene for having the most awesome musical cue. I'm not sure if my laughter was their intended response, but man did it come, and heartfelt.

All of the shows I love are gone, so this get's watched just because, well...it's there.

Anonymous said...

how danson didnt win best actor is ridiculous

Karen said...

I watched season 1 with a great deal of interest and affection. I thought it was well-crafted, wel-plotted, well-acted, and I was completely hooked.

I don't know if the thrill is gone, if William Hurt is not as compelling as Ted Danson (I can't believe I even typed that sentence), if there were too many plot lines happening (I suspect that was the case)...but the first episode of the season left me utterly cold. I may even have fallen asleep before it was over and then not bothered to re-watch the end.

And when I woke up, I deleted it from my DVR. Life's too short! And DVR space too limited...

mjryan said...

Some of the plot points you can see a mile away. I called the Hurt as daddy of Close's son immediately. Other than their history, nothing is grabbing me. I'm just not buying Ellen as the avenging angel. I'm reluctant to give Damages up because it's the only show my husband and I can agree on, but I told him last night that this season just isn't grabbing me like last season.

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Jim said...

I was glad they didn't try and treat the Hurt as Babbydaddy thing as a big mystery. They put it right out there.

I'm not enjoying this season as much as a I did the first, but maybe things will pick up. I still think Close is great fun to watch playing this shark. The way she dealt with the weaselly mogul's daughter in the first season was great.

The "I'm not running a law school" line was good. A reminder that Patty is both unpredictable and short-tempered.

Steven Timberman said...

Hey Alan,

Just wanted to give you a heads up that I accidentally flagged your blog for objectionable content. I was waiting for the site to load and apparently clicked the button. Sorry 'bout that.

olucy said...

I'd agree that it's not as compelling as last season, but I'm still enjoying it.

Brian J said...

I like the show, even though there is so much going on with so many characters that I am not sure what the hell to think. In these first these episodes alone, we've seen Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Brent Cullen, Paige Turco, Tim Olymphant, the FBI guys, and the reporter from West Virginia, in addition to anybody we've seen in last season. That just may be natural, though, so I am not ready to give up. I didn't think the episode was bad, just average.

Two other points. First, the point of trying to get Tom by recording him accepting the money wasn't to get Patty directly. It was to force Tom's hand to flip him, someone who worked with Patty for a much longer time and thus had more information about he, and use him against Patty. Second, I don't think the music introducing that guy's gun collection was the problem. Instead, it was such a dramatic stopping short because it didn't seem to flow that well, to me at least. It's the sort of great break that will be justified only if later in the season there's a reason to have them, if they aren't just there for shock value.

The biggest complaint that I have so far is that Marcia Gay Harden has this incredibly bizarre way of talking. But that's not really the show's fault.

K J Gillenwater said...

I still watch because I did enjoy last season so much, and I do find the quality of the acting to help me overcome and slowness in plot.

The big thing I see missing right now are the very shocking moments that we got last season. The reveals this year seem to be rather blah. Although I still am curious as to who Ellen is firing at in that opening scene...

However, this week's episode makes me wonder if both Ellen and Dan (is that his name?) are trying to set up Patty for a fall. Ellen with her failed infant mortality case, and Dan with his personal case. He is doing this for a reason. And I think it is to get back at Patty. Why else would he leak the test results to her (as the Marcia Gay Harden character questioned)? So I would like to see now how/if this develops.

LStock said...

Does anyone know where I can get Cliff Notes for this show?? (just kidding) I love Damages, but I'm having a little bit of trouble following the plot this season. Thanks to everyone for their comments -- they help me pull things together.

d said...

The show is the polar opposite of Mad Men. Where Mad Men thrived on character development often times at the expense of plot movement; Damages is only interested in plot movement.

Question for all ... Where we supposed to recognize the person at the end selling the ring? If so, who?

Anonymous said...

we were supposed to recognize that the ring WAS in fact stolen by a guy matching the description of the wold-be killer of Dan's wife as Dan told the detective... it's more of just when you think they're lying, they're not" & vice-versa