Ray Donovan – Season 1 Review

1002742_1_0_prm-keyart_1024x640Yes, I know I’m a few days late on this one.  But as far as I’m concerned, RAY DONOVAN was too good of a show to not at least briefly comment on.

Before I do, though… MWTVG has been around for an entire year!  And it’s been alot of fun.  Thank you to all of our fans, and we all look forward to doing this for many years to come.  As a bit of trivia, your intrepid and faithful MIDWEST MARK was not actually an original MWTVG.  I went up to MIDWEST MIKE after a few weeks of him and MO posting and said “this is all well and good, but who’s posting on the guy shows?”  When I was met with blank stares, I knew I had a void to fill.  The rest, as they say, is blog history.

Now back to RAY DONOVAN.  I loved it.  But not everybody loved it, which I need to blame almost entirely on the show’s marketed premise.  For everybody who tuned in to watch the “celebrity fixer” show, they were quickly let down when it took the backburner almost entirely.  What it turned into was a gripping family drama focused on the consequences of child abuse led by outstanding performances by each and every actor on the show.

Jump inside for more!

Huge kudos to the writer ANN BIDERMAN (who did SOUTHLAND) and the directors including alums from GAME OF THRONES, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, TRUE BLOOD and IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY (among others) and each and every actor who together delivered such a well presented show.  Even though one can argue that the story was just a bit unfocused, it was made up in dividends through the performances especially from JON VOIGHT, LIEV SCHREIBER and DASH MIHOK (who played Bunchy and seen most recently as the cop in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK).

It was interesting in the fact that it blurred the lines of hero/villain and the definition of family.  Can you really call Ray the “good guy”?  He hired somebody to kill his father.  For that matter, was Mickey really the “bad guy”?  He willingly did 20 years in the clink for his son.  Each character had their reasons for their actions which superseded ‘good and bad’. The finale ended up presented the ‘soft close’ to the season with Ray sound asleep in a chair on the beach leaving a ton of loose ends that the second season can pick up from.  It will be interesting to see exactly how they play the ‘season 2’ card and hopefully present an even tighter package.

THE GOOD:  The characters.  Each of them were deeply flawed, but great.  JON VOIGHT and his hilarious one-liners.  Come to think of it, all of the dialogue was well above average.  JAMES WOODS.  Anything is rendered instantly better with a healthy dose of James Woods.  LIEV SCHREIBER was all sorts of bad ass.  The episode titles put a funny highlight on the subject matter.  “The bag or the bat” is one of the best set of options ever presented on television.  Ray shot the priest in the face.  Good freaking riddance.

THE BAD:  We need more celebrity fixing!  And for that matter, I demand more Avi and Lena!  They were both severely underutilized (especially Lena) in my opinion and is a great opportunity for next season.  Focus, focus, focus.  As stated above, this is all completely forgivable.  But there was a very large disparity between what was presented in the form of marketing and what the show actually was.  I suppose it would be a tough sell to say “Ray Donovan, the clergy molestation show starring Liev Schreiber” but there is some sort of healthy medium.  Terry’s girlfriend nude.  I know premium cable needs to be edgy on nudity, but let’s be discerning here folks!

This was a show that I had high hopes for and it delivered on all of them albeit nowhere near the way expected.  If you haven’t yet watched, I fully recommend it as long as you keep an open mind.  A- and I can’t wait for the second season to come back next year.