|The Cast of Political Animals with Dexter|
(and whom) to do. It’s close to the Clinton’s relationship in such a way as to make the viewer wonder ‘is that what they’re really like?’
|A Towering |
Casting can make or break any performance. Like any hiring decision, it’s based on who’s available, what each candidate requires, and whether there’s the requisite passion or fit. Ciarán Hands was creepily suave in the third season of Prime Suspect and a credible romantic lead in Persuasion over seventeen years ago, but he’s miscast in this part that’s too close to Bill Clinton for comfort. Does Bud Hammond have to be Southern? What’s wrong with Hands’ chin? His mouth
and jaw move like Charlie McCarthy’s. Why does he move so strangely? Did Bud lose a lot of weight? Hands tries valiantly, but when those efforts exert the performer and the viewer begins mentally re-casting the role, it’s a failure. Weaver’s problem is that, as my Mom pointed out, she is aloof and that has been her secret weapon in her success as an action heroine and a light and romantic comedienne. This show requires a star that can work in the middle range of melodrama the way that Sally Field rang all the notes from Brothers and Sisters even the grace notes that weren’t really there in the scripts.
Greg Berlanti was the creator/executive producer for Brothers and Sisters, after his initial start in Dawson’s Creek. He has excellent instincts for the arc of a show and how it should move through a season and eventual series, but dialogue is a weakness. It can be slick and formulaic as if it’s advancing a plot, rather than revealing character. Field, Rachel Griffiths, and Rob Lowe were able to provide a subtext to Berlanti’s earlier series that made them interesting. Only Gugino is able to do so here. I’m not sure it will return next year since it’s been called a mini-series and it’s not generating the same heat as Dallas, a soap whose stars know exactly how to sell the story. The Good Wife has some of the
best writing on a major network series, even though the initial premise seemed to be based uncomfortably on the Elliott Spitzer scandal. It moved beyond that, however, with subtle, complex storytelling examining work and home life with a political backdrop and intriguing legal cases. Somehow, it does all of that and doesn’t seem to sweat. Instead, the audience wants more of the tension between ethics and compromise. It helps that it has one of the best ensembles on television with great acting by Julianna Marguilies, Archie Punjabi, Christine Baranski, and Matt Czuchry. I wish Josh Charles was a more interesting presence, but he’s more than made up for by the commanding Chris Noth. His take on a brilliant, Machiavellian, and loving politician should have won him an Emmy by now.
|Josh Charles, Julianna Marguilies, |
and Chris Noth of The Good Wife