Tag Archives: The Wire

The Affair 1.3

Are the accents of Ruth Wilson and Dominic West beginning to bother anyone else? There’s no doubt that this is a great actress and a great actor cast nearly-perfectly as a woman and a man who are naïve and innocent in one moment and devilishly devious in the next. Plenty of Brits can handle the American accent with aplomb, and West in particular has had more than enough practice with The Wire’s McNulty and a few other American characters. Wilson is the more frequent offender in this third hour of The Affair, allowing her English English to show itself in her American English, especially in the framing scenes in the interrogation room.

She’s still perfect for Alison, though, as West is perfect for Noah, and though the third episode isn’t as good as the first or second it still moves the story forward into the promise of next week. That’s really the main reason why this show is working so far – the promise of next week. That’s not to say that the individual episodes aren’t doing enough, because they’re certainly far better than most of the drivel on television today. But the story and structure is so twisty-turny that the extended period of theorizing in between episodes is nearly as exciting as the episodes themselves, and that’s a mark of a solid and lasting series.

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Olive Kitteridge 1.1 – “Pharmacy”

We’re getting to the point where anything produced by HBO is pretty much guaranteed to be a worthwhile watch. A history of cutting funding for the likes of Deadwood, Rome and even The Wire at one point shows the premium service isn’t afraid to ditch something they’re not 100% confident in, no matter how good the early episodes are. Olive Kitteridge, of course, isn’t really a show – the four-hour miniseries spanned two nights earlier this week and will probably play on a loop for the next week, but after that no más. Still, the HBO association is evident in a high production value and a deep care taken with the characters and material that few other channels can afford to provide.

Frances McDormand plays the titular Olive, aging middle-school teacher in smalltown Maine, mother of a bratty son and wife of an irrepressibly optimistic husband (played by the always-brilliant Richard Jenkins). We meet Olive as she walks through the forest, gray ratty hair stemming out from her pale skull, and she calmly lays out a picnic blanket and removes a loaded gun from her coat. We suddenly backtrack to twenty-five years earlier, but the tone is set in that initial sequence: Ollie is unhappy, gazing longingly at the gnarled branches reaching toward the hazy sky, and maybe we’re about to see why.

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