Thursday, January 24, 2008

TV EYE: Third Season Renewel

Ahh, to live under the shadow of the almighty Sopranos and the equally powerful HBO, as Blake Masters’ sharply drawn and exquisitely modulated mob/family cable drama, Brotherhood, has done for it’s two superb, under-the-radar, seasons. No bush league Sopranos, Brotherhood’s landscape simmers more than sizzles, and it’s depiction of the interweaving of criminal activities and familial strains cuts a little closer to the bone. The mythical Providence depicted is a decidedly more working class environment, then that of Tony Soprano’s upper middle class New Jersey playground, and the slow boil dramatics the show traffics in aren’t as visually or emotional demonstrative- Brotherhood is subtly gritty and pervaded by a continually gray mood. Many of the Rhode Island/Providence touches are on the money (although one wonders why a greater effort to utilize RI musicians as part of the typically nifty soundtrack wasn’t attempted), and while the accents waver a bit the ensemble acting is top notch, led by the equally arresting Jason Issacs and Jason Clark, aided by the likes of Fionnula Flanagan, Kevin Chapman, Brian F. O’Bryne, Stivi Paskoski, Matt Servito, and Len Cariou, and kicked in the gut by two truly memorable performances from Ethan Embry and Annabeth Gish. Word jus in that Showcase is doing the right thing and granting a third season for this admirably resonant and finely executed series.

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