Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Gifted Man: A Truly Gifted Show

NOTE: This piece was originally published on Critics at Large on October 19, 2011. If you wish to comment, please do so on that page

Jennifer Ehle and Patrick Wilson star in A Gifted Man

Barely four weeks into the new fall TV season, and we’ve already seen our first causalities: NBC’s neither sexy nor smart The Playboy Club, ABC’s dead-on-arrival Charlie’s Angels remake, and NBC’s workplace comedy Free Agents, have all been cancelled. (Perhaps I was alone in this, but I was rather charmed by Hank Azaria and Free Agentsand I regret that it wasn’t given more time to mature). In the end, however, I expect the 2011 fall TV season will likely be remembered for highly anticipated and expensive disappointments like Terra Nova, and impressively original cable fare like Homeland. (AboutTerra Nova, perhaps the less said the better, but Homeland deserves a special mention, and not only for the compelling case that Susan Green recently made on this blog. Showtime’s Homeland marks the return of Damian Lewis to television, last seen when NBC’s brilliant but short-lived series Life came to an untimely end in 2009. Lewis’ talent to portray quietly dangerous men with unfathomable internal lives is on full display in Homeland, and his presence alone would make the series worth your time!) 

But sometimes, if you’re lucky, you don’t have to wade through CGI Brachiosaurs and 60s-era stewardesses to find great television. Every once in a while, good TV can play by established rules, and still bring something refreshingly new, smart, and entertaining to the small screen. This season that show is CBS’s A Gifted Man, and hopefully it hasn’t gone unnoticed. A Gifted Man is a medical drama with a twist, and so far it seems to be doing almost everything right.