Okay, so I've been a sucker for handsome, dark-haired, angst-filled, soul-tortured men since I was 13 and very impressionable. I blame this malady on Robert Vaughn's role in The Ordeal of Dr. Cordell, an episode of Boris Karloff's Thriller TV series from 1961.I have a copy of this episode that I found on YouTube and if you are in the mood for cheesy, check it out.
My illness progressed to Michael Landon in I Was A Teenage Werewolf then bled over to Christopher Jones in Ryan's Daughter, Michael Sarazin in Frankenstein: The True Story, and at this point in time has settled firmly upon the broad shoulders of Antony Starr on Banshee and dribbled a bit onto the slender shoulders of Hugh Dancy on Hannibal. There is something very alluring to me about a tortured hero. After all, I write them better than most authors according to numerous reviewers. :)
So it was with supreme satisfaction that I began watching the new Showtime series Ray Donovan last night in a sneak preview of the series which begins next week. If you consider my ailment an addiction then I was on one helluva high watching the show. My enjoyment was two-fold: tortured, angst-filled handsome man with a hairy chest
and the owner of that broad set of shoulders attached to that hairy chest is Liev (pronounced Lee' Iv) Schreiber. Actress Naomi Watts is a very lucky lady to wake up to that sexy mug each morning! I'm sure she enjoys letting her girls play on that crisp grass.
The premise of Ray Donovan is rather like a strongly pornographic, gory version of the TV series Scandal. Where Liv (coincidence? I think not) fixes things on the East Coast, Ray fixes them on the West Coast. She deals mostly with politicians. He deals with rock stars and athletes and actors and various other rich/famous folks who have more money and power than common sense. That Ray can and does resort to mayhem and murder to get the job done is an added bonus if you like your hero a bit tarnished. I see already I am really going to enjoy this show. The previews of future episodes made my mouth water.
There are a few observations I'd like to make regarding the actors.
Liev Schreiber is a very talented man. I've been a fan of his since the late 90s when he played a bad guy in Mel Gibson's movie Ransom. He can do comedy and mean-as-a-poked-rattler with equal aplomb. You've seen him in the latest rendition of The Omen, Salt, Repo Men, Defiance, and as Wolverine's brother Sabretooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He has a heck of a colorful past and if you're interested check him out on Wikipedia. He's a man's man--and a woman's man--and he's rugged with mega-watt sex appeal.
I don't like the woman who plays his wife. Her accent makes me cringe. It's supposed to be a Boston accent but I kept thinking of a tongue-tied Ukrainian with a bad cold every time she opened her mouth. I hope there's a messy divorce in Ray's future. Disliked the character enough I wasn't even tempted to see who was playing her.
Jon Voight--in all his brazen glory--plays Ray's father and you can see crap happening there a mile away. Though the coming evil has already been cast like a fly fisherman's line, you find yourself eagerly waiting for the fish to snag the bait. No one does Bad Dad like Voight. Ask daughter Angeline Jolie.
Another face I recognized was that of Steven Bauer. He's one of Ray's henchmen who does 'clean up' for the fixer. Don't know where you know him from? Bauer has gained enough weight to sink a battleship but at one time he was a svelte, hunky replacement for Ken Wahl on the long-defunct Wiseguy TV series (from which Ray Sharkey and look-alike Kevin Spacey sprang into instant stardom). Bauer was at one time married to Don Johnson's/Antonia Banderas' main squeeze Melanie Griffith. There's a lesson to be learned from that, guys.
A character I'm hoping we will be seeing often is that of Tommy Wheeler, an action hero who has a thing for transvestites. Skillfully played by Austin Nichols, there is handsome angst there, too.
On a scale of 1-10, I'd give Ray Donnovan a solid 9. It would have gotten a 10 if not for that annoying wife of Ray's.