“Try to Leave Out the Part that Readers Tend to Skip” -Dutch Leonard

18 Jul

Newton Minnow, who was the Federal Communications Commission chairman when John Kennedy was president, condemned the young medium of television, as a vast “wasteland”. That may still be true but there are significant outposts of intelligent and well told narratives that encourage continued interest. And its does seem that there is burgeoning of high quality series that followed (arguably) in the footprints of The Wire and the Sopranos. Recently, HBO’s True Detectives and FX’s The Bridge have have melded accurate casting and acting with convincing characters and transparent dialogue. Complemented by great montage, Nic Palazatti’s True Detectives and Patrick Summerville’s apt adaption of the Swedish series The Bridge are deep and powerful dramas.

I don’t think I had ever heard of We network but the trailers that were aired to promote their new crime series The Divide, stirred my interest and the headlines I scanned in reports on the show, had me watching my video box at the appointed time.I am pleased that I did, as this story had an excellent beginning— evidencing many earmarks of a seamless and stirring crime story. I could, I suppose blather on with critical visual jargon but for your’s and my ease, I would opine that lawyer-to-be with a big-chip-on-her-shoulder Christa Rosa played by Marin Ireland it is the role and the actor that powers this narrative train.

Marin Ireland as Christine Rosa in the Divide

Marin Ireland as Christine Rosa in the Divide

I have watched innumerable shows in which Marin Ireland was part of the cast— her role in The Divide (not to be confused with Matt Taibi’s new opus or the post nuclear attack drama) was the first time I noticed her protean attributes. By moments, she is lovely to gaze at, and seductive, radiantly innocent, brittle, bleached out and haggard,sharp tongued and direct that encapsulates an engaging blend of Don Quixote, Joan of Arc, David, the Goliath killer and Rosanlind Russell in My Gal Friday.Which is to say, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

Marin Ireland as Christine Roza in The Divide.

Marin Ireland as Christine Roza in The Divide.

The whole ensemble is convincing in taking on on a common crime story plot line—litigating (the Innocence Project is the model for the group looking into capitol cases) for a man on Death Row, some three weeks before his scheduled execution. As an aside , A State Within that superior BBC series handled the execution theme with great alacrity, nimbly shoe-horning it into the overall weave of the Iran war-like conspiracy that drives that narrative.

I recently noticed that the New York Times is regularly devoting coverage to these kinds (FX, HBO, Netflix) of shows which strikes me as a new level of journalistic pandering.

A couple of clinkers in the debut episode of the Divide— a news announcer is reporting on the forthcoming execution as “the first execution in Pennsylvania in the 21st century.” This is the kind of news coverage (of which I am more and more conscious)that has me saying an emphatic, “So what?”

Freddy Nietzsche

Freddy Nietzsche

And prefacing the show with a Nietzsche epigram (white type reversed out on a black screen) and subsequently having a character (a convict) quoting the testy Teuton is suggestive of a profundity that no crime series that I can recall has attained (though True Detectives come close).Better to cite Yogi Berra or Dutch Leonard as a marker of things to come.

Currently reading Local: The New Face of Food and Farming in America by (Harper Design)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: