Tag Archives: G W Bailey

In Praise of The Closer

Tonight brings us the return of The Closer on TNT.

The show has been a rousing success, nabbing the best ratings on cable TV and bringing adulation and awards to Kyra Sedgwick for her lead role as Brenda Leigh Johnson. And while I agree that her mannered Southern belle with a whip-crack mind is a fun character to watch, she’s also blessed to have a deep and solid ensemble cast that elevates the show from good to great.

Raymond Cruz, Michael Paul Chan, Jon Tenney, Corey Reynolds and Robert Gossett usually get a couple of strong minutes within each episode and the occasional featured sub-plot to flex their muscles. They’re all seasoned actors who quickly defined their characters during the first season, so it’s not necessary to waste time constantly redefining their motivation. Special kudos to Cruz for the episode about his brother’s death, and Gossett for his character’s arc from jealous adversary to admiring and supportive team player.

Even the recurring roles and guest stars are very well-cast, avoiding the “sweeps week” false notes that many other shows employ (where the guest actor is a big name draw but hopelessly mismatched with the pulse of the show). Barry Corbin is perfect as Brenda’s father, as is the electric Mary McDonnell’s recurring role as Captain Raydor, the Internal Affairs officer who is Johnson’s nemesis and intellectual equal.

But I have to admit I have favorites – three guys I’d watch every day and twice on Sundays.

Anthony John Denison and G.W. Bailey as Lieutenants Flynn and Provenza are the show’s comic relief; a wonderfully funny tandem act but far from buffoons. Bailey hasn’t had a role this good since Rizzo on M*A*S*H, and he plays the cantankerous vet with a heart of gold to perfection. And I’ve been a Denison fan since I first saw his magnetic turn as criminal Ray Luca on Crime Story; he also wowed me as the pensive and flawed John Henry Raglin on Wiseguy, filling in for an ailing Ken Wahl in a story arc featuring Stanley Tucci, Ron Silver and Jerry Lewis. (Needless to say, you must grab both those shows on DVD!)

And when you have J.K. Simmons in your cast, you raise the whole project one notch. Looks like this season his prior relationship with Sedgwick’s character will come back into focus as he jockeys for political position. Which will only give us more opportunities to enjoy watching him juggle frustration, respect, authority and anger as the conflicted and righteous Chief Pope. In recent years he’s received kudos for his work in Juno and Spiderman, and his turn as the fired employee in Up In The Air was the best thing in that movie. Hard to believe he once gave me chills as the racist homophobe prisoner Vern Schillinger on Oz.

Summer television is no longer a wasteland. Tune in tonight.

Season Six episode guide courtesy TV.COM

***

And today we celebrate the birthday of a few very funny gentlemen…Bill Cosby, Milton Berle, Jay Thomas and hell,  even Curly Joe DeRita! Also my crush from the 70s, Christine McVie.

1 Comment

Filed under Film/TV, Reviews

TV or not TV? Summertime…

Years ago I ran a nightclub, and like in most bars, Sunday night was death. Many places closed or suffered the losses. Me? I started Die Hard Happy Hour! Sure, the potential audience might have been smaller than a madhouse Friday or Saturday night, but since I was competing with no one else on Sundays I figured I’d nail my target demographic – music lovers who drank

Success? Let’s just say I underestimated the size of that fraternity.  By the second week there was a line out the door and a list of bands begging to play the new hot night in town. I reinvented the three day weekend. (You’re welcome!)

Well, it looks like some television executives learned this same lesson over the last few years, as the smaller cable networks now take advantage of the major network hiatus to air their programming to attract that hot new demographic – those of us too mature for Celebretard Programming who want something better. As in not reality television.

(Reality television?  Really? Don’t you encounter enough a-holes every day on your own? Why tune in to see more?)

Formerly known as Vast Wasteland, I now present TGIS  (Thank God It’s Summer). Three simple words: grill, beverage, DVR.

Bryan Cranston is awesome. Actually started late Spring but will re-run this Summer.

 

 Breaking Bad actually started late Spring but will re-run this Summer. Bryan Cranston is phenomenal.

 

 

rescue me

 

  I still like Denis Leary‘s earlier series  The Job better, but Rescue Me has yet to disappoint me.

 

 

the closer

 

  The Closer is not only one of the best shows on television, but the ensemble cast is loaded with wall-to-wall talent. G.W. Bailey and Anthony Denison could take their shtick on the road.

 

saving grace

 

  Saving Grace is also coming back to complete another round of episodes. Holly Hunter could kick my ass with one ripped bicep tied behind her back…or more likely one arm holding a beer.

 

 

 mad men

  I know AMC is supposed to be American Movie Classics – not new television dramas – but with Breaking Bad and Mad Men they are doing the job the majors are supposed to do. Kudos! 

 

 

sons of anarchy

  

Sons of Anarchy – FX deals an adult drama and helps fill the void of The Shield and The Wire.  The whole cast is great but Katey Sagal is fierce.

 

 

it's always sunny

 

 I pine for the return of the most irreverent show on television. FX strikes gold again!

 

 

jackie woodman

 

  But wherefore art thou, Jackie Woodman? Laura Kightlinger, you rule!

Leave a comment

Filed under Editorials, Features and Interviews, Film/TV