Tuesday, June 23, 2009

'The Philanthropist' review - Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I review NBC's "The Philanthropist," which I enjoyed a lot more than I expected, thanks largely to James Purefoy:
Teddy Rist, the hero of NBC's summer drama series "The Philanthropist," is described in the publicity materials as a billionaire vigilante. This job description is less unusual than it sounds at first. After all, you could pin the same tag on Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Scrooge McDuck and possibly Ross Perot.

Rist doesn't have a utility belt, a suit of armor, a vault full of gold he can swim in, or presidential campaign experience, so he has to get by on charm. And, fortunately, Rist happens to be played by British actor James Purefoy, who showed in his performance as Marc Antony on HBO's "Rome" that he has more than enough charm to spare for friends, Romans, countrymen and even NBC viewers.
Please forgive the Shakespeare joke; tight deadlines sometimes lead to obvious gags.

Not sure if this one's going to work its way into the regular blog rotation -- between the summer rewinds, ongoing stuff like "Nurse Jackie" and "Burn Notice," plus the debut of HBO's "Hung" (which I really liked, and will have a column about in a day or three), I'm kinda swamped -- but I imagine I'll put up some kind of "what'd ya think?" post tomorrow night, and after that, it'll depend on how good the post-pilot episodes are.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can we get a moratorium on shows titled The someone? The Philanthropist, The Mentalist, The Listener. Fox's upcoming Past Life was even originally called The Reincarnationist. These are some of the worst titles I've ever heard.

Adam said...

He really excelled in ROME, especially in power struggle that dominated season two. "He worships dogs and reptiles. He blackens his eyes with soot like a prostitute. He dances and plays the cymbals in vile Nilotic rites."

I would love a pop-up video version of ROME on DVD.

andythesaint said...

You had me at "aka Omar from "The Wire".

Abby said...

You had me at the picture of James Purefoy.

Sorry.

He really is an excellent actor.

Beth said...

OK, I'm there, for James Purefoy at least, but also because now seems a good time for a show like this. Maybe it will hit the zeitgeist and stick.

Nicole said...

I think the show should be retitled to :" The show with the guy from Rome". It will probably get more viewers that way. But seriously, James Purefoy is great in pretty much everything he does. He was even decent in Diamonds, although I am not certain if his South African accent was accurate.

mizenkay said...

I would watch James Purefoy read the phone book!


I'm so there. DVR has been set for days.

Eldritch said...

www.imdb.com/title/tt0047758/

Where are Marvin Miller and John Beresford Tipton when you need them?

I loved "The Millionaire" when I was 11 years old. You never saw the Billionaire, Mr. Tipton, just his lackey, played by Marvin Miller.

Miller would give some desperate person or couple a million bucks and then the show would be about how the money affected them. Sometimes it solved their problems. Sometimes it just complicated their lives. Occasionally, they'd give the money back.

Great old show!

JustJoan said...

Omar! How hopeless is my girl crush on that character? Surely I will have better daydreams this season if this series is picked up, considering how good Purefoy looks in guyliner and how amazing Michael Kenneth Williams is, scar or no scar.

Alan Sepinwall said...

how amazing Michael Kenneth Williams is, scar or no scar.

The scar belongs to Williams, not Omar. It isn't make-up.

Dean Winchester said...

Yeah its nuts, he got slashed by a razor in a fight in a club years ago. He mentions the incident changing the direction of (and in a way, launching) his career.

olucy said...

OK, I was going to ignore this show, but I'll definitely check out one or two for Omar.

Laurie said...

testing out OpenID

Anonymous said...

Omar AND Marc Antony! Now I have to watch it. also nice to see Neve Campbell back, gotta have some Canadian content!