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post #1 of 128 Old 10-20-2011, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Been looking forward to this one for awhile now. Grammer can be powerfully grim when he needs to be. I have no doubt he'll shine in this...

TV Review
'Boss' (Starz)
By Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

You can look back at the history of any number of storied cable channels and pick the series that truly set them on the right course -- the series that made them players. For HBO, it was The Sopranos; for Showtime, it was Dexter; for FX, it was The Shield; and for AMC, it was Mad Men.

Other series might have received as much critical acclaim, and still others would get higher ratings. But those were game-changers. And now Starz has its channel-defining series in Boss, a wholly impressive new drama that comes out of the gate with gravitas, swagger, originality and intrigue. It's the kind of series that truly puts Starz on the map (and if it makes two or three others, it will be a highly competitive three-way race in the pay cable field).

Boss is full of revelations. It stars Kelsey Grammer in a stunning, eye-opening dramatic turn as Tom Kane, the ruthless mayor of Chicago -- a modern King Lear with a crushing secret. The last time an actor known for sitcoms took the television world completely by surprise was Bryan Cranston, and he went on to win three consecutive Emmys for best actor and turn Breaking Bad into a show everybody talked about and fawned over.

Grammer is in nearly every scene of Boss, and he's superb in all of them. The other main revelation is the arrival of Farhad Safinia, who created the series and wrote the first two episodes (here's hoping he writes a lot more). Safinia announces himself here in much the same way Matthew Weiner and Vince Gilligan did with Mad Men and Breaking Bad, respectively. Safinia co-wrote the 2006 feature Apocalypto and has two movies in production.

Boss, which kicks off with a beautiful directorial stamp from Gus Van Sant, is filmed on location in Chicago and squats down immediately into the ugly internal machinations of politics. It's a little like The West Wing in a bloody street brawl, with a lot more swearing and nudity and minus the adoration for what politics can be at its aspirational best.

Screw that, Boss says. Politics as a triumphant idea might have been a great forum for Aaron Sorkin to write soliloquies about tough choices and moral righteousness, but Boss strips it down to the ugly truth. Nobody is happy unless they win at all costs, ethics and morality take a beating when you're trying to please constituents and stay elected, and people who seek power and then use it like a sword aren't halo-wearing types. Which, by the way, makes a great backbone for a series. Safinia has gone beyond the obvious (Chicago? That's like shooting fish in a barrel, right?) by sticking Grammer's Kane in a brilliant predicament right from the outset.

He has just been diagnosed with a rare degenerative brain disorder, and minor but haunting intimations of the symptoms are starting to appear. At first, only he notices -- and Grammer is never better, aghast at the arrival of the horrors that will progress slowly but relentlessly and strip everything from him. This is the beauty of Boss and where it steps lightly out from the King Lear shadow. It's the knowing upfront what is happening to him, from the opening scenes of the series, that shapes Kane's every action.

Boss is helped immensely by a strong, balanced cast. Connie Nielsen is engaging as Meredith Kane, who puts up with her husband primarily because she's as icily calculating and ambitious as he. Martin Donovan and Kathleen Robertson are superb as Kane's senior advisers. As Ezra Stone, Donovan gives you the impression he's executing the mayor's orders and mopping up his messes but also keeping something close to the vest. Robertson, who is also quite adept at comedy (IFC's The Business, among others), plays tough and calculating but also ramps up the sexuality as she has an affair with state treasurer Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner). All of this is being followed by Sam Miller (Troy Garity), a newspaper reporter writing the mother of all stories on Kane.

On a personal level, the Kanes have long since cut ties with their daughter Emma (Hannah Ware), a recovering addict balancing between religion and the temptation of her drug dealer, Darius (Rotimi Akinosho, notable in his acting debut). Everywhere you look, there's potential being realized on this show.

Boss is the kind of series that seems to have the "it" factor from the opening credits. High-quality emerging series often announce themselves with authority, so it's clear Starz has something special here. The premium cable channel reportedly has 19 million subscribers, about the same as Showtime, which in turn trails HBO by more than 10 million. That means Boss can make a real difference, not only by being a show people absolutely need to see but also by luring more creative producers to Starz.

BOSS
10 p.m. Fridays (Starz)
The Bottom Line: Kelsey Grammer's drama strips politics down to ugly truth -- creating an "it" show that marks the arrival of Starz.


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/rev...-review-250296
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post #2 of 128 Old 10-20-2011, 11:26 AM
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First of all, that's just one reviewer's opinion. Here's another that's not so glowing (although both agree that Kelsey Grammer's performance alone is worth watching the show for). I'd sample more than just glowing reviews to get across that "Boss" is worth watching.

Second, you can watch the "Boss" pilot free on most cable/satellite On Demand systems right now. Check your local system's 'On Demand' offerings to see if it's there. Starz is even streaming the first "Boss" episode free on their website, so there's no need to wait until Friday to watch it unless you have to see it in HD with Surround Sound. And seriously, AVS Forum types don't care about those sorts of thing.
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post #3 of 128 Old 10-20-2011, 02:56 PM
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Awesome.

Thank you for making the thread.
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post #4 of 128 Old 10-21-2011, 02:45 PM
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I was on set for a couple of days during the first episode. Kelsey's performance is amazing. I have no idea what is in store for subsequent episodes, but I have very high hopes for this series.
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post #5 of 128 Old 10-21-2011, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought Showtime's 'Brotherhood' was a real unappreciated gem. It also dealt with backroom, cutthroat politics in a similar setting (Boston). And it had Jason-frackin'-Isaacs playing a bad-ass Irish-American gangster! Damn fine show, but struggled to find an audience. Familiar story.
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post #6 of 128 Old 10-21-2011, 03:51 PM
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I might be out during the live premier tonight. I'll catch it when I get home for sure. I've been waiting to check out this series for a few months. Can't wait.
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post #7 of 128 Old 10-21-2011, 08:56 PM
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Tell you what. That sex scene towards the end was very well done. The music and the video sequence.

Interesting show. I can see the dark side to it.

Kelsey Grammer did a tremendous job. A+
Unfortunately, this is not the type of TV Programming that I prefer. I'll keep watching to see where it goes.
I mean... it's a great show for what it is. It's just not what I like.
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post #8 of 128 Old 10-22-2011, 08:48 AM
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I managed to get thru about 1/2 hour before the constant shaky cam made me turn it off. Why do they do this? There was absolutely no reason to use a shaky cam for the entire show. Hate Hate Hate shaky cam!

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post #9 of 128 Old 10-22-2011, 10:03 AM
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Loved the premier. So far so good afaic.
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post #10 of 128 Old 10-22-2011, 10:24 AM
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I liked it. Feels sort of like Breaking Bad. Needs to focus on fewer characters though.
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post #11 of 128 Old 10-22-2011, 12:37 PM
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TV Notes
Boss' Co-Showrunners Exit Starz's Series
By Nellie Andreeva, Deadline.com- October 22nd, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Boss executive producers/co-showrunners Richard Levine and Lyn Greene are exiting Starz's new drama series, which was renewed for a second season last month ahead of its premiere last night. The former Nip/Tuck executive producers shepherded the 8-episode first season of Boss alongside series' creator/executive producer, Apocalypto co-writer Farhad Safinia. Safinia didn't have TV experience before creating the show but I hear he proved a quick study during production of the first season. Search is under away for a new writing executive producer to join Safinia as well as the series' other exec producers director Gus Van Sant, star Kelsey Grammer, Brian Sher and Stella Bulochnikov for Season 2.

Boss, from Lionsgate TV, stars Grammer as a ruthless Chicago mayor who has a secret that threatens to topple him. The series has received mostly favorable reviews, especially when it comes to Grammer's performance.

http://www.deadline.com/2011/10/boss...starzs-series/
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post #12 of 128 Old 10-22-2011, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theob View Post

Loved the premier. So far so good afaic.

Same here. The show was a little slow moving and the color palette was a bit drab but damn Kelsey Grammer was outstanding. I also liked Martin Donovan as his "just get it done by any means necessary" aide. His handling of "reminding" the doctor about her oath and confidentiality was heavy handed beyond belief but pretty effective I'd say
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post #13 of 128 Old 10-22-2011, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
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Loved the premier. So far so good afaic.

Yup. Great start.
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post #14 of 128 Old 10-23-2011, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal1981 View Post

Same here. The show was a little slow moving and the color palette was a bit drab but damn Kelsey Grammer was outstanding. I also liked Martin Donovan as his "just get it done by any means necessary" aide. His handling of "reminding" the doctor about her oath and confidentiality was heavy handed beyond belief but pretty effective I'd say

"Heavy handed" is putting it mildly. I found that part to be disturbing, and, I would think, counter productive in the long run.

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post #15 of 128 Old 10-23-2011, 09:13 AM
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I thought Grammer was excellent in his role and carried the show. However, the show itself was less stellar. It may just need a bit more time to settle in, but the reason I will stay with it is the terrific performance Grammer is giving, not the overall show itself. The 'remind the doctor' scene was over the top and part of why the story itself is less compelling than the central character.

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post #16 of 128 Old 10-24-2011, 11:24 PM
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+ The 'remind the doctor' scene was over the top and part of why the story itself is less compelling than the central character.

I agree, but in the "big city" most of the general public would very suprised if not flat out shocked what really goes on behind the scenes.

This show has the makings of being truely awesome in my eyes. It looks like a very edgey "in your face" style of writing. Lets just hope it gets even better! Oh, and Kelsey is very convincing in his role!

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post #17 of 128 Old 10-25-2011, 12:57 AM
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I liked how Grammer got the garabage disposal clogged up, although the contents of the box weren't exactly a surprise. I'd also argue with the lead off review. I think that Spartacus made Starz a player, maybe not in the critical sense but it did bring in viewers, which in turn enabled them to make series like Boss.
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post #18 of 128 Old 10-28-2011, 08:00 PM
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Wow, that was really well done.

It was nice to see that man stop her from shooting heroin.

Too bad the subject matter doesn't interest me too much. Good TV.
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post #19 of 128 Old 11-04-2011, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S View Post

Yup. Great start.

I agree Don - I'm loving the series so far. Can't wait for tonight's episode. Hooked already.

there's a cool promotion/giveaway taking place right now for BOSS fans. making money from watching a great tv show? sign me up please. here's the link for anyone interested - modernman.com/boss-giveaway-contest-revenue-increases

Grammer's performance is stellar - Emmy-nomination worthy to say the least IMO. does anyone else think so?

I'm helping STARZ spread the word about this series so let me know if anyone has questions.

---
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post #20 of 128 Old 11-04-2011, 04:36 PM
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I agree Don - I'm loving the series so far. Can't wait for tonight's episode. Hooked already.

there's a cool promotion/giveaway taking place right now for BOSS fans. making money from watching a great tv show? sign me up please. here's the link for anyone interested - modernman.com/boss-giveaway-contest-revenue-increases

Grammer's performance is stellar - Emmy-nomination worthy to say the least IMO. does anyone else think so?

I'm helping A&E spread the word about this series so let me know if anyone has questions.

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Welcome to the forum, Derek.

I'll also be checking out tonight's episode.
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post #21 of 128 Old 11-05-2011, 10:05 AM
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The native actor playing the role of Chief Bill English does a good job of making his point to the media and to the mayor about the land development contracts he believes should belong to the tribe. Joseph FleetFoot Sada in this role is well cast, kudos to executive producer-director Gus Van Sant, and show creator-writer Farhad Sarafina for rediscovering him, his talent and on casting him.
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post #22 of 128 Old 11-05-2011, 10:48 AM
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My mother claims to have seen Joseph Fleetfoot Sada in the role of Joseph the Illiniwick who robs Al Capone's bank in Evanston Ill. totally pissing off the mob in the T.V. series THE Untouchables back in 1994 opposite David James Elliot and William Forsyte. The episode was "Bury my Heart at Starved Rock" he did a gnarly job with the role, this was before my time, she often wondered what had happened to the actor? In the 'Boss' he plays the role of a highly educated native american tribal chairman who attended "YALE ". of all universities, great fresh concept, hopefully Chief Bill English turns to be a real thorn in the mayor's side and a worthwhile advisory, capable of dealing with Tom Kane's unscrupulous way's.
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post #23 of 128 Old 11-05-2011, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sisky70 View Post

The native actor playing the role of Chief Bill English does a good job of making his point to the media and to the mayor about the land development contracts he believes should belong to the tribe. Joseph FleetFoot Sada in this role is well cast, kudos to executive producer-director Gus Van Sant, and show creator-writer Farhad Sarafina for rediscovering him, his talent and on casting him.

I like this show a lot so far, but this is one part I am not sure I get. The land is supposed to be in the pathway of a new runway at the O'Hare airport. I think they said they found Indian remains there, indicating it's a grave site.

So the digging that is going on at night, is that some kind of under the table type of deal to remove the remains without telling the Indian tribe who claimed the land?
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post #24 of 128 Old 11-07-2011, 10:11 AM
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IDK but I'm mad in love with Kathleen Robertson, but if Kitty's satisfied with 10 secs I think I can make it..

RIP Mom, we always love you 8/18/13
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post #25 of 128 Old 11-07-2011, 11:15 AM
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IDK but I'm mad in love with Kathleen Robertson, but if Kitty's satisfied with 10 secs I think I can make it..

Ha. She's pretty indeed.
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post #26 of 128 Old 11-07-2011, 11:55 AM
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Watched ep 3, lots of nudity, Kitty, Emma, bunch of prostitutes hired, and big surprise on the woman taking care of the father, but I think that was an illusion, was it?

RIP Mom, we always love you 8/18/13
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post #27 of 128 Old 11-07-2011, 08:44 PM
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Watched ep 3, lots of nudity, Kitty, Emma, bunch of prostitutes hired, and big surprise on the woman taking care of the father, but I think that was an illusion, was it?

Not sure on that one...a lot of women in those positions find it necessary do more jobs than one.

They are definitely upping the nudity as is standard for a Starz series. However, unlike the previous Starz original series, this one seems to have a decent plot, decent writing and decent acting. It's not "Homeland," "Game of Thrones" or "Boardwalk Empire." But, it's pretty good.
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post #28 of 128 Old 11-13-2011, 04:32 PM
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I've looked around and can't find any info, so I'm hoping someone here might know...

What is this show shot on?! The depth of field (or lack thereof) really gives it a unique look. It has that DSLR look, but I can't believe they're shooting a whole series on one considering all the PR that 1 episode of 'House' shot on a Canon 5DmkII got.

I'm sure it's digital, but what?
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post #29 of 128 Old 11-14-2011, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fade2Black View Post

I've looked around and can't find any info, so I'm hoping someone here might know...

What is this show shot on?! The depth of field (or lack thereof) really gives it a unique look. It has that DSLR look, but I can't believe they're shooting a whole series on one considering all the PR that 1 episode of 'House' shot on a Canon 5DmkII got.

I'm sure it's digital, but what?

Mostly it was shot on the Arri Alexa, although DP Kasper Tuxen may have used Canon 5Ds in tight quarters, like in the limo shots.
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post #30 of 128 Old 11-14-2011, 06:14 PM
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Mostly it was shot on the Arri Alexa, although DP Kasper Tuxen may have used Canon 5Ds in tight quarters, like in the limo shots.

Cool! Thanks.

A little too much handheld for my taste, but the shallow DoF really sets it apart. I guess whatever lenses they're using must be wide open.
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