We are currently living in the golden age of television. Just like in the 40s with comics, television is giving audiences unprecedented access to content that no audience in history has been able to have. From shows about cops to shows about the beginning of man, television seemingly has it all, and that is an overwhelming positive. We are also living in an era where lots of television shows are lost in the mix as shows get straddled with airing on upcoming networks or just getting lost in the shuffle of new management of a network. This is going to be the first article in a new column that is called Shows You Aren’t Watching But Should. This is the inaugural article, so brace yourselves, and don’t tread lightly because chances are, you’re most likely not watching the shows that I’ll be spotlighting weekly. I’m hoping that changes. All of these shows I take a look at are currently airing right now or have just wrapped their current seasons and have either been renewed or awaiting renewal.
Starz. The new kid on the block. Its claim to fame is that it was the home to the cult classic comedy Party Down before scrapping it in favor of going to an only drama primetime lineup. Sure, Starz has a long way to go before it can catch up to Showtime and HBO as a true player in the pay cable world but it has been doing well in getting a footing in an increasingly crowded market. It also has to fight off direct ompetition from Cinemax. The network has started getting some notice thanks to airing Torchwood: Miracle Day, Spartacus, and snagging Kelsey Grammer for the lead in its award winning series Boss, wherein Grammer won a Golden Globe for his work beating out the likes of Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston. Their show that is the most underrated, but is truly a feast for the eyes, is its Miami set gangster drama Magic City.
Written by Mitch Glazer and starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko, Steven Stait, and Danny Huston amongst others, Magic City is a sprawling tale of corruption and power set in late 1950s Miami. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is our hero, playing hotelier Ike Evans, a man trying to balance his dealings with the mob underworld (as seen through his interactions with Huston’s gangster Ben Diamond) and making sure that his business is, well, legitimate in the eyes of the law. It is a balancing act that propels this series as it gets into darker and darker territory. Ike is a man that is being hunted by both sides of the law, meaning he has nowhere to hide or turn too. The law wants him because of his shady business dealings and the wanted seek the cut that Ike has hastily talked his way out of giving. It is a dynamic that has rarely been seen before. A man pushed into a corner and only has one option. Fight his way out or die trying.
The writing here is sharp. Mitch Glazer has a passion for the era and it shows in the first season. Detail that only a local with passion (yes, Glazer grew up in Miami) could really hit the marks the way this show does. Glazer, in fact, wrote every single episode in the show’s short (eight episode) first season. The storylines do not drag out for too long, and events move at a good pace. Also, thanks to it airing on Starz, this show does not shy away from nudity and while some paycable shows overdo it in the nudity department, this show shows off the buff at an appropriate level. And though it may seem unnecessary to mention the nudity, I only bring it up because there are certain people who are privy to nudity, and well, the statement was both a warning and a heads up, depending on where you fall when it comes to the category that is nudity on TV.
For people yearning for a good old fashioned gangster drama set in a place and time that has not been seen on television in a long, long time, then Magic City is the show for you. It is both sexy and tantalizing while it features a great cast in a compelling ensemble setting. This is definitely worth a shot. It is good, so check it out already! Especially since the show is in production of its second season and will feature the likes of Esai Morales and James Caan in the new season, which is set to premiere in the Spring of 2013.