Friday, September 19, 2008

McShane Rode Before

Before Ian McShane was pouring whiskey down his molten throat as a chaser between the stringing together of the yet another highly scatological and viciously bellicose observation as Deadwood’s Al Swearengen he once starred as a devilishly charming and highly irascible antiques dealer on British television’s Lovejoy(Lovejoy: The Complete Season 3, 1192, BBC/Warner, 706 minutes, $69.98). Making a living (barely) deep in the English countryside, Lovejoy comes across as a counterpoint to California’s Jim Rockford (as Susan Stewart pointed out in a recent Sunday Times), a lovable loser and an affable ladies man, dodging creditors and stirring up the local gentry in between quick money schemes and investigations into antiquities, surrounded by a motley crew of associates, quick of wit and deeply schooled in a vast array collectibles and prized pieces, with the hour long episodes as effortlessly low key and humorously rakish as its anti-hero. I found myself hooked on the series and the roguish McShane when this was televised by PBS some years back, and I couldn’t image a more pleasant night during the upcoming winter, snowed in, generously imbibing, and trawling through multiple episodes of this neatly crafted series.

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