Friday, April 03, 2009

Get ready for 'In Treatment' season two

In today's paper, I review season two of HBO's "In Treatment," which I found even more engrossing than last year:
"You should know that the kind of therapy I practice, it's not a quick fix," Dr. Paul Weston tells a new patient during the first week of "In Treatment" season two. "It's a process, and eventually change happens, but it does take time."

This would be useful advice for any therapy patient -- and, for that matter, for any potential viewer of "In Treatment." It is slow, and it requires work and careful observation, but when it achieves its breakthroughs, the effects can be as extraordinary and dynamic as any other drama on television.
In addition, I talked at length with showrunner Warren Leight and director Paris Barclay about what goes on behind-the-scenes in making "In Treatment."

After the jump, some thoughts on how I'm going to cover the show in the blog this season...

As mentioned in both pieces, HBO changed the air schedule, from one episode Monday through Friday two two episodes on Sunday (9-10) and three on Monday (9-10:30). Even though last season aired during the writers' strike and I therefore had more free time to write about it, I struggled with how best to cover it for a few reasons: 1)So many episodes per week, each with different guest characters, 2)I was often many episodes ahead of the audience and therefore knew which hints were leading somewhere and which were therapeutic dead ends, and 3)So much of what happens is so self-explanatory that doing a major analytical blog piece seems almost besides the point.

In the end, I decided the best way to approach this is to do one blog entry a week, posted Mondays at 10:30 after the end of the Gina episode, giving my brief initial impressions on each episode (while trying to avoid hinting at what might be coming) and then opening it up for you all to discuss it. Hopefully, this works out to everyone's satisfaction. So if you're watching this Sunday's episodes, please wait until the post on Monday night to discuss them.

Sound good?

23 comments:

J. Pitts said...

Alan, would this be a good show to just jump into having not seen the first season?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I think so. I mean, you're going to miss some of the emotional nuances when Paul's talking about things that happened last season, but there's also a good amount of exposition in the first and last episodes of week 1, and the patients are all new.

Ryan said...

Just wanted to say I appreciate your promise of coverage and am excited about the second season. The first season really is an under appreciated gem and deserves to be more widely circulated. The depth of character and eventual intensity of the performances make it extremely satisfying once viewed as a whole.

I haven't seen the second season, obviously, but I encourage anyone to devote some time to the first, their time will be well rewarded.

Norgard said...

Alan, in you "Behind the Scenes" article you talk of "season four's crop..."

Edo said...

I have the second season of the original Israeli version on DVD. I think it's even better than Season 1. I especially liked the kid with the divorced parents. I look forward to seeing the American adaptation.

Have you ever watched any of the episodes of BeTipul?

By the way, Asi Dayan, who plays the therapist in the original, was just arrested for attacking his pregnant girlfriend and threatening to kill her. I don't think Gabriel Byrne will be following his footsteps.

Oaktown Girl said...

I didn't click over to read your review of Season 2 because I'm trying to avoid as many details about the new season as possible. I am glad to hear that you liked it, though.

However, if that's what Paul's hair is going to look like all season, that's a bummer. Perhaps his character is supposed to be kind of scrappy looking after the emotional turmoil of season 1? Anyway, that's one very unflattering hair cut on Paul.

Hatfield said...

I could not be more excited. I had doubts about this one before I downloaded the first four weeks last season on iTunes, but I soon found myself watching 3 and 4 episodes at a time. As much as I don't like the direction HBO has gone in, this is a real find and a credit to their still being able to make interesting and different programming. Or maybe the blind squirrel merely found a nut?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, in you "Behind the Scenes" article you talk of "season four's crop..."

Thanks. Must've gotten confused with an earlier version of the sentence where I talked about the four new patients.

Byron said...

Mr. Sepinwall - Last year, you really seemed to have a lot of trouble writing about this show because you were so far ahead of the rest of us. Is there any reason you can't hold off on future episodes this time around?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Is there any reason you can't hold off on future episodes this time around?

Yes, for the same reasons as last year. In order to properly write about the show for the paper, I have to watch as much of it as I'm able. And beyond that, because there's so much to watch of it every week and I want to have the blog posts ready to go as close to the end of the Monday episodes as possible, I need to watch episodes whenever I have a chance, as opposed to parceling them out.

It'll work out. Don't worry.

LA said...

I'm on week 5 from last season and desperately trying to get caught up. I think I'll have to DVR the first week of season 2. It's hard, I want to read the articles being published about season 2, but I fear spoilers. A couple things have already been spoiled for me, so I literally have to avert my eyes from these columns, at least for a few more days. Looking forward to a great season!

Zachary said...

Best Buy has the 1st season on sale for $34.99 through Saturday 4/4. I plan on picking it up and then recording IT Season 2 on my DVR and catching up down the road.

Anonymous said...

Curious whether this show treats the pseudo-scientific priesthood with deference or, worse, reverence, or is there an element of cynicism or at least skepticism?

Nugget said...

I'm so excited that this brilliant show is back, but Alan, do you know if Michelle Forbes is going to be back at all this season? Her scenes (and the character of Kate) were the highlights for me last season -- Michelle Forbes is just brilliant. I wanted her to get the GG nomination over Melissa George.

Stella said...

Alan, I am so glad you are obsessed with this show! ;-) The second season looks like a humdinger and it will be great to read your thoughts along the way. The writers for the new season, along with several of the actors, bring real stage experience to this show, which is exactly what it needs. I am really excited and looking forward to the next seven weeks! Thanks.

LA said...

Zachary - Thanks for the info!

Ingrid said...

I'm very excited about the new season on In Treatment, and I am looking forward to reading your commentary. At a time when I am cutting down on many non-essentials, I keep my HBO subscription mostly because of this show.

LA said...

FYI - I just bought season 1 of In Treatment for $19.99 at Best Buy. Don't know if it was priced in error or if it's a special, but there you go.

Michael said...

If I may suggest a slightly different approach on how to handle your postings here...

Rather than one Monday night post, how about one post that goes up on Sunday night, that amounts to an open thread. Then on Monday night you update it with your commentary on all five episodes and change the posting date (like you do with Friday Night Lights). That way, we have what amounts to an open thread for us to discuss amongst ourselves the Sunday night episodes for a day.

Zachary said...

FYI - I just bought season 1 of In Treatment for $19.99 at Best Buy. Don't know if it was priced in error or if it's a special, but there you go.

That must be YMMV because I just ordered it from BestBuy.com for in-store pickup and it was $34.99. Maybe when I pick it up, it'll come up at $19.99. Fingers crossed.

belinda said...

I'm glad this show is back, though I'm reluctant to watch this show this time around- it's just too much of a time investment on a per week basis, and I remember getting so behind last year and end up skipping episodes here and there to catch up with the air times.

So I might have to wait this season out til the DVDs come out.

That being said, do you know how many episodes they'll have for this season?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm assuming 35 episodes, as it's a seven week season. Then again, season one was nine weeks and they only did 43 episodes (due to two patients no longer being patients by the final week), so anything is possible.

Beth said...

I discovered "In Treatment" while on vacation last spring, and got caught up immediately. I was counting the weeks until Season Two. I'm a little worried about my Paul, though. He seems ruffled and a little thinner. What is it about him that makes me want to cook for and otherwise mother him? So far, Mia seems to be the most prickly of the new patients. There were moments in Week Two that were extremely uncomfortable to watch. Can't wait to see where this is headed. Love John Mahoney, Oliver, and as always, the brilliant and expressive Dianne Wiest.