Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Review : Damages - Part Two

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.

Series 3 (2010)

I like the realistic progression of time which passes between Series 2 to Series 3. Because going into Series 3 did feel all the more refreshing and of course knowing the structure of the show the writers wish the audience to get drawn into the story relatively quickly. 

Mysteries start to unravel in the first episode. It's Tate Donovan's last series, Tom Shayes was being written out by this time, therefore the audience has explored everything they need to with this character and I liked how some of the concentration of the third series was based on Tom and his involvement in the Tobin fraud case and his loyalty to Patty in this Series and the other two series prior to that.

The main storyline the viewers are following over the course of thirteen episodes is the Tobin family fraud. Where Lewis Tobin is exposed for money laundering and is going to spend a life sentence in prison. However Mr Tobin lets it to to his son Joe that he has money hidden away for the rest of the family to spend and live on as time goes on. Helping them is their Lawyer, Lenny who has mysteries of his own and there's a bit more to him than meets the eye.

It's all a very cleverly constructed, well thought out, well acted storyline. Series 3 is my favourite of all 5 Series of the show because it captivates the essence of what I intemperate the show to be as a crime drama and reverting back to what I said before about the series as a whole 'winning becomes a corruption' and all the conspiracies intertwined within the series and how you can never really trust anyone and everyone has secrets of their own.

It did sort of frustrate me however that you tend to go back and forth between the two story lines, its difficult to try and reach a clear understanding because as soon as you think your beginning to understand the plot, something else happens later on which contradicts that way of thought, some might say that's a clever way into manipulating the viewer to carry on watching, for me from an editing point of view its very distracting. 

It didn't need to be thirteen episodes, the series was far too long winded and the conclusion wasn't all as what expected however it was still a good ending.  Though the series has its up sides it has its contradictions and continuity errors and irritating characters which all go hand in hand besides the good stuff. 7/10

Series 4 (2011)

I'll make this brief because I don't like Series 4. I think Series 4 and 5 of Damages didn't need to happen because they contributed absolutely no value to the benefit of the Series as a whole at all, especially Series 4. 

The story goes that Ellen is on her own, she wants to make it out there as Lawyer and she's thinking about taking down High star which is an organisation run by Howard Ericson "John Goodman" guest star. Who Ellen believe have been committing illegal acts in Afghanistan.  She has a friend she knew from School who by the way she's only recently got back in touch with, how convenient for her that he worked for High star and was out on a mission and three of his men and best mates got killed under unfortunate circumstances and the part of the series is finding out how they died and why they died.

For even Ten episodes, I thought the length would improve because there is not much episodes to watch as previous three series, but this seemed to go on and on. It seemed to last much longer than ten episodes, which again didn't need to be as long as it did.

Can I justify a dislike for Series 4? Yes. The main thing I don't like about it is the ending and Ellen's annoying in it. Ellen works so hard in building up a case, she's got Patty wrapped round her little finger and is willing to try and manipulate Patty to get what she wants, and at the same time Patty's playing a game of her own and in the end she decides to drop it all to save her friends life? what? that makes no sense at all, all the stuff with the boy didn't make much sense either, who was he? what value did he have to the story, all this great build up is done to establish the mystery and the overall explanation isn't anything in the least an average viewer deserves as being in the least satisfactory. 

It's a shame. This series had a great guest star and had so much potential to be good. But wasn't. 3/10.

Series 5 (2012)

And finally, we have Series 5. I won't go into too much nit-picking detail because there a many things which work in this series and other things which are disastrously bad. 

To give it credit, it is the final series so it's all about bringing everything to a close and rounding up things which may not have been too clear in the series prior to this final season like Ellen's story arc starting in Series 1 Episode 1, and of course it is a showdown of Patty vs Ellen in a big lawsuit case so that part of the series is exciting in it's own right.

I think it was all about Patty and Ellen and how much Ellen is like Patty because there are similarities between the two characters, two characters especially in Ellen and how far will she go to win. 

Patty and Ellen have amazing relationship together which we 'the viewer' have followed for six years and its all about rounding it off and bringing things to its natural end - lots of back and forth stuff. flash forwards, flash backs that kind of thing, giving the viewers all these separate puzzles to solve. 

The trouble is the final episode is really insulting to viewers. From the way the series has progressed up until this big finale... I as a viewer felt cheated by it. The underlining message of how much is too much really confused me because that's what Damages is about its states that in the end 'This is all pointless - who loses in the end? the common person.' and thats what the people do not care about 'the common person' and this is America in the 2000's and in turn is what Damages is about.

I've never actually recommended anyone NOT to watch something before. I don't think Damages is bad in anyway. It's very good in many ways and I do like it. However, as a series it's not all that. I would probably say don't watch it if you haven't got the patience for it, and you will have to be committed to this, you have to really sit down and watch it. No distractions. If you feel your prepared to do that then Damages is the right sort of show for you.

4/10 for me.

I give Damages 27/50 in total.

The last two series a really disappointing. 

NEXT WEEK : Game of Thrones - Series 4.

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