Saturday, December 6, 2008

For Quality Television, Save a Life

I really wanted to avoid writing another piece about television, I really did, but a quality show is in serious danger of not making it past the end of spring, so I feel compelled.

The show is called Life, and anyone who knows me knows that I feel that Life is one of the best shows on the small screen. In fact, it irks me that it has such a small audience, because that leads me to believe American viewers are idiots.

Sorry. I understand that's not exactly the best way to convince people to watch a show they're not currently watching, but I can't fucking help it.

So, starting over: watch Life because it's one of the best shows on television.

For those unfamiliar (and most of you probably are), the show follows LAPD robbery/homicide detective Charlie Crews, played by the excellent Damian Lewis (you might remember him as Major Winters from Band of Brothers). A stand-up cop, he was framed for the murders of his friend and his friend's wife and sent to Pelican Bay on a life sentence. As the evidence was mounted against him, both his police partner and his wife turned against him, and he found himself taking solace in studying philosophy while he struggled with life in prison.

But then, something crazy happened. An ultra-hot lawyer, Constance Griffiths, took up his cause. 12 years went by, new evidence was presented, and Crews was released. Part of the deal with the city for wrongful imprisonment included a multi-million dollar settlement and, surprisingly, his old job back in the LAPD. Let me take a moment to mention that Griffiths is in love with Crews, but is married to another man, while Crews is still in love with his (now) ex-wife... who is remarried... and feeling a tad guilty.

So he gets to work. While he solves crime with is new partner, the gorgeous Dani Reese, he uses his spare time to find out who framed him. And such is the point of the show.

Ultimately, he discovers a rather large faction of LAPD-insiders was involved in his framing, including Dani Reese's father and, perhaps, his Lieutenant (played by the wonderful Robin Weigert... but now replaced, post-WGA strike, by the out-of-place Donal Logue... who admittedly sucks).

Crews deals with his new-found freedom by spending freely on bad-ass cars and a mansion (but no furniture), buying an orchard (because of some Zen-influenced worldview), and bedding as many drop-dead sexy women as he can find.

And all the while caring about nothing other than finding out who got him put away.

There are many compelling subplots to the show. Crews' accountant is a man he met in prison, serving time for white collar crimes. Crews' partner, Reese, is a recovering alcoholic. And then there's the little girl (now grown up) who was the daughter of the people Crews was convicted of killing.

All in all, the show has everything. Sex, violence, twists, turns... wrapped up in what's easily the most compelling current overall plot on network TV.

Yes, it's a serialized show, which means you need to start from the beginning in order to truly understand what's going on, but it's only in its second season, and you can pick up the first season on DVD from for less than $20.

So why the fuck aren't you watching?


Anonymous said...

I am fucking watching, so go fucking yell at somebody else.


Posted by Joe on December 5, 2008 - Friday - 10:06 PM

Anonymous said...

You are hereby fucking excused from any further fucking yelling.

Posted by JeffScape on December 5, 2008 - Friday - 10:24 PM

Anonymous said...

I watch! I WATCH! And I watch at 9 pm on Wednesdays, not on DVR!

Posted by Jessica Lynn on December 7, 2008 - Sunday - 10:23 AM

Anonymous said...

I'll save myself from disappointment by passing. Truth is, shows with plots like these should be designed to end after 2 to 3 seasons... You can't keep chasing the same conspiracy/mystery/bad guy or it'll get old fast ala Twin Peaks/a million other shows.

Posted by Introspective Prophesier on December 7, 2008 - Sunday - 4:55 PM

Anonymous said...

That's bunk. Part of "introspection" means never judging a book by its cover, no? Each episode of Life involves a stand-alone murder case, with the occasional two-part exception, so it's not like you couldn't just enjoy a really good detective drama.

Posted by JeffScape on December 7, 2008 - Sunday - 6:57 PM

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