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The tragedy of Macbeth was watching a good man slowly destroy the good
in his life as he chose to pursue power in incremental decisions that
tarnished his soul. But what would this story look like in reverse?
Tragedy, as we usually experience it, sees a hero forsaking his
happiness choice by choice as he opts for power. But in Boss we find
Mayor Tom Kane (Grammar) as a man who is already powerful, has
estranged all of those whom he loves, and has abandoned and abrogated
his morals and conscience to get where he is. Then, a life-changing
piece of news sets him on a path to contrition.
What happens as this powerful "Boss" begins to allow his humanity to surface again? Can he keep his grip on power as he begins to show the 'milk of human kindness' again? Shades of Tony Soprano balancing his shadow side and sensitive, loving side in this powerfully-themed (and acted) series.
And if the Macbeth-in-reverse comparison weren't enough, there is a "King Lear" like pathos to the man who has estranged his daughter who chose the path of compassionate poverty even as Dad was ruling the city with an iron fist. The faltering attempt at reconciliation here adds yet another rich texture to a compelling series sure to grow more and more powerful. THe scope is ambitious, as it explores the dynamics of the modern city-state, much as "The Wire" ambitiously attempted (and succeeded at).
Emotionally powerful, dark, compassionate, visceral and a paean to what makes life significant (no explanations... you'll see), this series is as full an orchestra of art as has been seen on television since the likes of The Wire and The Sopranos.
I'm currently on episode 5. I'm writing a review because there are
currently so few reviews.
This show caught me by surprise. I've never been a particular fan of Kelsey Grammar. Though who doesn't love Gus Van Sant? Which is the name that drew me in.
The writing is excellent. All the technical components are great, the camera work, the locations, costumes, production design; it's all impeccable. The acting is mind blowing, which I credit a lot to the directors and producers who are doing all the right things, staying out of the way when they should and thinking out loud when they should, to get great performances on a TV screen.
It may be a cult, love it or hate it, show. It may win a truckload of Emmys. But, in the eyes of this often fickle and bored TV misanthrope, it is a fine piece of craftsmanship that I believe will hold up to the test of time.
And to the previous reviewer who is tired of Chicago being portrayed this way, I just have to explain. This is fiction. It is about as true as True Blood. It is, I believe, a dark piece of satire. A character-driven-wry-look at contemporary politics in America. Every time they say Chicago, imagine they are saying The Land of Oz or Bon Temps. I think you'll enjoy it more for what it is. And thank whatever cosmic splendor that this is not another show with zombies, vampires or housewives.
It's not every day you find a show as original and authentic as 'Boss'.
It really delivers in the realism department and challenges you with
unexpected twists and turns. It's too much to follow at times but it
just adds to the richness.
What I like most is the attention to detail without the boring melodrama. Many parts are skipped over in favor of the important parts. It really allows you to get into the heads of the characters without bogging you down with irrelevant drama. It's quite similar to 'The Wire' for all of those reasons.
I was a bit puzzled at the low IMDb rating it received and just assumed it was a too complex for casual viewers. But after looking at the voting breakdown I realized a large group of people were giving it 1/10 with the rest up at 9 or 10. I'm guessing some people don't like Kelsey Grammar's political views.
Note this series is rated R and contains swearing and fairly graphic sex scenes. But it is done very tastefully in my opinion and just gives the show extra depth.
If you haven't read the book "Boss" by Mike Royko and you haven't
already fallen in love with the new Starz series Boss, then you should
do both.. NOW. I know it has only the first episode of the first season
but its not a pilot, the entire first episode was directed by Gus Van
Sant in Chicago and almost like one of the best 50 min. movies you ever
saw. It is starZ answer to the great cable TV shows i.e. Dexter, OZ,
The Sopranos, True Blood, The Shield etc.
The new series Boss is not based on Royko's book but almost the history of Chicago's gritty politics and policies. It encapsulates the anti- heroic and heroic decisions of our beloved mayor and Boss. Kelsey Grammar is Spectacular. His presence is so palpable it seems the entire cast, who are fantastic, have him on their mind when acting. Kelsey Grammar is the Bulldog mayor, he is the King of the City, he is the Boss.
I've only ever seen one other true modern tragedy in 'dancer in the dark'. This series is exceptional in that it does not pander to your indulgence in a character. They remain outside you throughout and all perish. this is the best TV i have ever seen, the wire was good but its blue collar sentiment annoyed me, this has none. The sopranos depiction of power was good but again involved comedy (small time crooks). The characters here are not comic. There are moments where the display of their power is a little out of the writers depth, but it would have taken poetry to fully realise these moments and that I think would alienate a TV audience. Regardless of this there are no complaints from me. After watching this you will finally feel like you have seen something that was not made for the faint hearted and something that did not do this by shock violence, something that used the actions of characters alone to achieve its truly dramatic effect. brilliant
Starz! is starting to give HBO a run for their money in original
programming. Their Spartacus series is one of my all time "guilty
But "Boss" ups the ante considerably with this deadly serious & very dark melodrama of politics in Chicago.
Forget "Frasier Crane", Kelsey Grammar has the role of a lifetime playing the titular character of Mayor Tom Kane & he knocks it completely out of the park with somber rhetoric, explosive rages & double dealings. When he is on the screen he dominates it.
Of course, given the talent of series creator Farhad Sarfinia maybe the only task of Grammar's was not to screw it up. Either way it works brilliantly.
The supporting cast is excellent. The plot lines are labyrinthine without ever becoming lost.
If you like compelling drama about dirty politics & politicians you will thoroughly enjoy these 1st 8 episodes --the 1st season.
Haven't seen political drama this good since the West Wing. While the
show maybe heavy-handed, it does always come off as having a one foot
in reality. I've lived in the Chicago area my whole life, and while
maybe our politicians don't murder people, they have historically been
the most corrupt, period. My wife and I are hooked on this program.
Love how well-rounded the characters are. I didn't realize until now
how character driven the show is compared to plot driven. I guess
that's why we're going to keep hearing "Wire" comparisons. Overall, I
would say "Boss" is a nitty, gritty West Wing, but with Tony Soprano
playing the 'president'.
I'm also a huge fan of Ryan and the "Shield", but this show does a much better job of showing not just the Chicago political machine, but also of showing Chicago. Sometimes the "Code" seems like it's just name-dropping things for "authenticity". Another thing that "Boss" does better -- dropping the exaggerated "chicaggah" accent. Most of us don't have it.
...one of the best dramas currently airing on television? It sure feels
It's only been two eps, so far, so I hate to jump the broom & risk being married to a soon to be flop but.... This feels like the real deal!
I'm immersed... captured by this tale, right from the beginning. Kelsey Grammar shows his acting chops as he's nvr shown bfr (but I always knew it was thr.)
He plays the mayor of the greatest city in America with great feeling, complexity & depth.. and a menacing streak that takes him far from "Frasier". The eps have, so far,, been well written, smart & intense.
Can't wait to see what happens next.
Im not one to mince words and try and sound intelligent in my reviews.
Ill just say this show is amazing and well worth watching. The acting
is superb and the plot is absorbing.
Kane is a beast of a character and totally dominates the show. I never watched Fraser but I now realise what a great actor Kelsey Grammar is. The supporting cast is excellent and always value add to the storyline.
Its very difficult to guess where the show is headed. I like how the storyline is not predictable.
I put this up there with my favourites, The West Wing and The Newsroom. I look forward to seeing how the plot develops and where the writers take this amazing show. Enjoy!
Boss will be seen as the best TV series ever, just as Hamlet is seen as
the best play ever. They also have similarities. Just like Claudius,
Mayor Tom Kane struggles to keep his power while being in constant
conflict with frustrated and disappointed individuals. However, there
is no protagonist, like the character Hamlet, in Boss. Instead the plot
goes from strength to strength with Kelsey Grammar as antihero and
spider in the net. He weaves a net of Machiavellian strategies that are
so familiar to people working in politics, and the plot moves from
complication to complication with the minor characters developing
beautifully to fit into Kane's political net of power.
This is drama on the highest possible level, and this TV series will be used as benchmark for all future dramas. The casting is excellent and TV cannot be better than this.
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