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Rob van der Zee

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Preacher

I'm in -- totally hooked after just 1 episode. I knew very little about the series going in, something about a preacher, supernatural stuff, AMC Network... that's about it. Sounded like a maybe, turns out it's a home-run :-)

The first episode hits the ground running with a dizzying array of plot twists and characters, then quickly turns into a category F-5 tornado.

Blockbuster production quality, inventive storytelling, good acting, action-packed, top-shelf effects -- there hasn't been anything like it before, and while other networks will undoubtedly try, I can't see anyone being able to duplicate "Preacher".

If you're looking for a roller-coaster ride of a TV series, one that you'll hate waiting a week until the next installment, "Preacher" is it.

Suits

SUITS is smart, sassy, clever, sophisticated, timely and immensely entertaining! The new series debuted with a full 60 minute story that establishes the characters very solidly, opens pathways for many story lines, and boasts an exceptional cast of fine actors. Here is hoping it makes it as an ongoing series, especially since it is not yet another crime drama! Not that Criminal Mains, The Mentalist, Without A Trace will lose their place among the best show on television, but with all the spinoffs on the crime shows, the available choices have been dwindling lately.

SUITS is a lawyer show. Set in New York (captured, by the way, in beautiful cinematic vistas) it focuses on a very successful law firm, managed by Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) who balances the talents of her two top lawyers, the smarmy Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) who is a control freak, and the very brilliant but egotistical Harvey Spector (Gabriel Macht). There is a particularly appealing and very bright secretary Donna (Sarah Rafferty) and a beautiful paralegal Rachel (Meghan Markel) and last but certainly not least by any means there is Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) - a young lad who is extremely bright, has a photographic memory, dropped out of college because he took tests for fellow students and got caught, fell into marketing drugs by default for need of money so that he could pursue his dream of being a lawyer, and falls quite by accident into the role of being selected as associate to the brilliant but self absorbed Harvey Spector. This is the team of characters who are destined to provide fascinating substories as they interact.

The dialogue (Aaron Korsh and Sean Jablonski) is clever, bright, snappy, unclichéd, witty, and helps define the complexities of the characters. The pacing is exceptional (directors Kevin Bray and John Scott) and the series has the appearance of a high-end movie - excellent cinematography, expansive development of story in well-selected locations - but most of all this is a cast that is worthy of attention every moment they are on camera. It will be interesting to watch how Patrick J. Adams and Gabriel Macht grow into our psyches: both are exceptionally fine and provide a spectrum of the lawyer personality we haven't seen on a series before. This should be a major hit!

House of Cards

There are some bizarre reviews in here. "One-dimensional characters", "lacking in originality", "disgusting", etc. It strikes me that these comments are coming from people too precious and blinded by patriotism to assess the show without bias, and those unable to appreciate and understand the show.

It's because of the latter bunch that Arrested Development was originally cancelled, so ignore them.

Anyway, this show is packed full of excellent acting performances - the best of whom, in my opinion, is Robin Wright's character. It's laughable that anyone would make the criticism of one-dimensional characters with her on the cast - how much depth and uniqueness do people need in a character? She is loving, ruthless, loyal, manipulative, deceptive and caring all at once. Her performance is up there with Edie Falco's as Carmela Soprano, and is in general one of the best female TV acting performances there has been to date. Spacey also is obviously excellent, and a great introduction to the cast as the plot developed was Gerald McRaney, who somehow manages to heighten the shows general level of filthiness as soon as he is introduced.

As for the plot, the show is wonderfully paced (with the exception of one misstep midway through the first season). There are no explosions or bloodbaths, but it is utterly compelling watching Underwood slither through government, poisoning every corner of it with his influence, gradually moving everything into place for him and his wife. On top of that, as with any great show, the show casts off key characters in shocking circumstances and does not suffer a drop in quality. I was left open mouthed at one point for example in a way I haven't been since watching The Wire, and I would recommend the show for that moment alone.

So yeah, ignore the hysteria and exaggerated criticism. I'm not trying to come off as some sort of arrogant, superior 'TV-watcher', but these views are coming from people who either have no idea what they're on about, or are not watching the show with a clear perspective. This is a show about ambitious politicians in the US government fighting for power - what do people expect? Do people really think politicians are like how they are in The West Wing? Spacey's character in this is unprecedented in terms of corruption and deceit, but I'd be concerned if people thought the rest of the cast were far off being representative of the real thing. Politicians can be ruthless, fake and disingenuous, and House of Cards does a fine job of illustrating that.