Today’s Movie Monday column is focusing on television. Why? Because many people regard the past ten years as a new Golden Age of television. From Six Feet Under and The Sopranos, through The Wire and to Breaking Bad and Mad Men, both critics and the public see the writing contemporary on cable TV programs as good, if not better, than contemporary cinema. Below are three new TV shows that I haven’t seen, but have been highly regarded in their first seasons and look forward to checking out.
Rectify, from the producers of Breaking Bad, has been called “the greatest show you’ve never seen” several times. This Sundance Channel original program stars Aden Young as Daniel Holden, who returns home after 19 years on Death Row for a crime that was overturned due to new DNA evidence. He struggles with his new found freedom as well as a community who isn’t as willing to embrace his innocence. This six-episode season has been hailed for it’s strong character development, and requires patience for its deliberate pacing.
Banshee is a new Cinemax series from the creators of True Blood. Antony Starr stars as Lucas Hood, an ex-con who assumes the identify of a murdered sheriff in the Amish town of Banshee, Pennsylvania, where his ex-partner in crime, Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) has settled into a new life of her own. Lucas’s past comes back to haunt them as he and Carrie hide from the gangsters they crossed many years ago. The reviews have been mostly positive, with most critics finding it entertaining even if it’s not wholly original.
Orphan Black is a critically acclaimed new show that premiered on BBC America. Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) witnesses the suicide of a woman who looks exactly like her. Sarah’s on the run and assumes the dead girl’s identity, thinking it will solve her problems; however, she gets more than she bargained for when she discovers that both she and the dead woman are clones, and they are being assassinated one by one. Critics have hailed this show’s mix of science fiction and suspense as intriguing, smart and original.