O'BSERVATIONS ON 'SLINGS & ARROWS'
After all of the Television that I've seen, and after all that I've had to read about the medium, (and since becoming a Toobworld Caretaker, I've had to read far more than I've actually had to watch), I guess it could be said that I've become jaded about it all.
It's not unusual for me to watch a crime drama and be able to guess the outcome before the first comercial break. If we're talking 'Monk', I can usually do that before the opening credits. (But then again, I don't think we watch 'Monk' for the mystery, but instead for the wonderful characterizations.)
When it comes to the new show 'Reunion', I might have even pegged the solution to the whole season's msytery within the first five minutes. (I'll post about it later today. If I'm right, then I'll have it set in stone. If I'm wrong - and let's face it, I often am! - then I won't be able to deny it later.)
So when a great piece of Television comes my way - that confluence of writing, direction, and acting, - I get overwhelmed with emotion. I find myself at the edge of my seat, pumping my fist in the air in celebration of what I'm watching.
It doesn't often happen. The last time was the ending for the penultimate episode of 'Lost' last season; when the survivors launched the raft. (Oh! Add a great musical score to the ingredients for that perfect scene!) The revelation about Locke in the "Walkabout" episode of that same series was another such moment.
Before that, I think it would have to be a handful of scenes from 'The West Wing' during Aaron Sorkin's reign on the show.
That wave of emotion swept over me this morning as I watched my tape of last night's presentation of 'Slings & Arrows' on the Sundance Channel. (I work overnights, so I have to tape everything from Prime Time while I'm taking my nappies.)
"Playing The Swan" was the sixth and final episode of the series' first season. (In Canada, the show aired back in 2003, and its second "season" seems to consist of just one episode.) For the American viewers, I'd declare that the wait was worth it.
It could be that my all-too-brief experience in theatre might have influenced how I felt. But as the actors and crew of the New Burbage Theatre Festival poured their hearts and souls into the opening night production of "Hamlet", I could feel myself choking up with emotion.
When talking about the many characters on this show, each of the actors thoroughly inhabited their roles. Despite having seen Paul Gross in all of those 'Due South' episodes, he was Geoffrey Tennant to me in this show.
But when it comes to the acting within the acting, I think the material of Shakespeare's play exceeded the grasp of their characters' abilities. This was probably intentional, especially after all of the difficulties they had to overcome to get the play on stage.
And it was that concerted effort to throw themselves into making the play the thing, overcoming all obstacles, that caught up the theatre audience (and the audience viewing at home) to ride that wave with them.
When "Markhael", my inside source for the new version of 'Doctor Who', went to Montreal on vacation, I asked them to find me this series on DVD up there. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful, and I don't see any indication that it's available.
But if it ever does get released on disk, I'm getting myself a copy as soon as it's available. That's how strongly I loved this show.
And if the Sundance Channel does see fit to rerun the series, I'd urge my own "audience" to watch it. There's no sensation like seeing the madness in others, and then finding yourself envious of that madness.