Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Review : Damages - Part One

Damages (TV Series : 2007 - 2012) : A law school graduate becomes the protégée of a successful high-stakes litigator.

In the first review of the spring season I thought I'd deviate from popular films and big movies and look a few TV series just to even the balance out a bit. One TV series that I have been watching recently is 'Damages' now I was interested in watching this because for a start Glenn Close is in it and she's amazing. The whole idea of what the series was about was interesting to invest in, it's very much captivates that essence of american drama of learning about the law and how you do what it takes to win.

Winning becomes a corruption in this series, and you see it develop through several characters in their own way and how they interact with one another, how you can't trust anyone because you can't see whats going on behind their eyes.

I'm going to summarise this review by breaking down all of the individual series's at a time. Starting with Series 1 and finishing of course with Series 5. I will do the review in two parts. In the first part I'll review Series 1 and 2, and in the second part I shall review Series 3 - 5.

The First Episode of Damages aired on the 24th of July 2007 and the Last Episode aired on the 12th of September 2012.

It stars an amazing cast, consisting of Glenn Close as Patty Hewes, Rose Bryne as Ellen Parsons, Tate Donovan as Tom Shayes as well as guest starring people like Ted Danson, Campbell Scott and John Goodman throughout the series reign of six years.

So I'll start with Series 1.

Series 1 (2008)

Damages started in the UK on the 6th of January 2008. The first series is all about introductions and allowing the introductions to happen swiftly and coherently in order to not diverge viewers and allow them to get into it at their own pace and get to know the characters and invest in them. This happens in the first 4 episodes, you get to know the characters and the situation which is the case, but also what you have going on is this strange mystery which in terms of continuity has already happened and its a matter of reverting back to those moments, to follow the story.

I'm not a fan of scattered structured dramas, dramas which start off with a flash forward then cut to say "6 months later" and we start at the beginning and revert back to more of the story as a flash forward. I hate it, it's too distracting and it's annoying. I can understand why they do it, to draw viewers in and get them interested so they can go 'oh look what's going on here' and that arouses their interests to carry on watching and finding out what happens.

But for Thirteen - 50 minute episodes its quite strenuous and it drags out much longer than it supposed to and you don't necessarily have enough story in it so far in order for it to last that long anyway, it's just stupid.

The Series synopsis of Series 1 is Glenn Close plays a high states litigation lawyer in New York called "Patty Hewes" who owns her own law firm called "Hewes & Associates" and she's a celebrity, a big shot, and in the first series quite a sharp and scary woman. 

In the 13 episodes it is one big case where she's bringing down a guy called 'Arthur Frobisher" (Ted Danson) and it's like an emron type thing and Frobisher supposedly stole from his employees and manipulated the system to avoid life in prison.  He got off with millions of dollars and all his people lost everything.

It's all about Patty and her firm taking down Frobisher and exposing the truth about what he did, and the trouble is the series gets boring very quickly. You get to episode 5 and you think 'this is escalating quite slowly' I'm all one for understanding in the real world a law suit takes months, possibly years to complete but those 13 episodes felt like a year, which goes to prove the series was too long. 13 episodes is just too much for an audience member to consume especially for a story such as this which could be resolved in 6 episodes, let alone 13.  The overall conclusion in the final episode to how the series concludes is a good conclusion but things are left unresolved to come forward into the next series, so there was always going to be a series 2. 

6/10 for me.

Series 2 (2009)

You go from Series 1 to Series 2 and time has moved on since the Frobisher case, everything has changed dramatically and another case rises up and comes together. Trouble is we have the same problem with length, 13 episodes again... its too long. However your following two storylines this time - the main case and Ellen's FBI undercover storyline.

Ellen hates Patty because she thinks she tried to have her killed and she hates Frobisher because he had her fiancé David murdered. So she wants revenge, she teams up with the FBI who are trying to bring her down.

Both storylines are very intriguing but the problem is your going to much back and forth and up and down and all over the place, the structure is disjointed and all muddled up and your fitting the pieces of the puzzle rather than it being a little bit more simplistic for the average viewer to solve. 

The actual main case part is not that difficult to solve that it could have been resolved in 6 episodes, rather than 13. It's reverting back to length but I think having the parallel of two storylines co-existing in one series is good because it has something to interest the audience more and makes them enjoy the strenuous length and the drama is achieved very well, it looks good, it sounds great the cast is genuinely brilliant. 

On the whole, Series 2 is a vast improvement over Series 1 and the writing is better having the all the introductions out of the way and you know the characters so there's no need to waste time, you can just get stuck into the situation. 

7/10 from me.

Going well so far, see you for the second part where I will review Series 3 - 5.

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