Yes! You really should!
The dark yet accurate world of US politics is told through the life of Mayor Tom Kane who is portaryed fantastically by Kelsey Grammer. Though this show has one or two faults it is still worth checking out.
Boss was brought to you from the premium US network Starz, the same network that spawned such atrocities as Torchwood: Miracle Day and Spartacus Blood and Sand. If you have not seen either I urge you not to bother as Spartacus is nothing better than 14 year olds wet dream and Torchwood nosedived worse than a kamikaze pilot. I would never usually trust a TV network with a ‘z’ in their name to produce anything remotely watchable but Starz has proved me wrong. Boss is a fantastic and intense political drama that tells the old tale of corruption but with so much more thrown into the mix. Nearly all elements of the show are excellent, the writing is captivating and the acting, direction and editing are all outstanding too.
What really makes the show for me is Kelsey Grammer’s performance as Tom Kane, Mayor of Chicago. Now we all know Grammer as Frasier Krane from the long running sitcoms Cheers and Frasier, and even as the voice of Sideshow Bob. The show did gamble a tad choosing Grammer as a lead role, as some of the audience may have thought “Oh, it’s Frasier! And look, he’s all serious and sweary now”. Any actor who has played a character for nearly 20 years would struggle to shake of that role but this is so not the case with Boss. Within the first 5 minutes of the show you are totally immersed in the life of Tom Kane and the struggles he has to face, all delivered by a stunning and downright moving performance from Grammer.
In the very first scene of the opening episode Tom Kane is diagnosed with Lewy Body, which is a neurodegenerative disease much like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Though Kane is only in the early stages of this, signs of his affliction soon start to show. What Boss brilliantly does is incorporate this factor into the direction and narrative of the events that unfold, where huge plot events appear from nowhere without any build up and totally blindside you, the same way an important piece of information may catch you off guard if you too suffered from Lewy Body. The slightly shaky camera work and eerie slow-mo shots really add to this effect and set the tone of the show perfectly.
That sounds pretty good, are there any downsides?
Sadly yes, there are a few cons, the biggest one for me being the totally unnecessary and over the top sex scenes. While there are some are plot-important humps, the majority of them are not and are all executed in a way that rivals that of porn. This stupid move makes the show look so tacky and it’s such a shame too because it really diminishes the impact of the show and only serves as an annoying distraction from the story. Now, I’m not a prude and I understand that in politics there is plenty of sleaze and cock sucking in order to climb up the ladder but the sheer amount of sex in Boss is just not needed.
For example, there is a character called Kitty O’Neill who is the very attractive personal aide to Tom Kane. Her name may as well just be Pussy, as for the first 5 episodes of Boss all she does is fuck. Hardly a word is said from her and yet her tits are out while she is furiously shagging some guy. Luckily though her character does develop dramatically and Kathleen Robertson, the actress who plays her, gets to show she is more than a hot body with some stunning and intense scenes.
Perhaps something that may put people off is the fact that this show takes a while to get going. Given that the first series is 8 episodes long, I was only really hooked in at episode number 5. This is a long time to invest in a show but trust me, it is so worth it. As mentioned before, you may leave each episode a little confused with what went on but this is part of the show and all becomes clear as the story unfolds. Oh and it can also get quite a bit violent too but being a total hypocrite, I have no issue with this aspect of the show.
Hmm, that does seem annoying.
Yes, it is annoying but don’t let that deter you. Boss is a fantastic political drama and one that I highly recommend. Though it is not as life-changing as, say, The West Wing, is it still engaging, well-made and above all entertaining. If anything, you should check out the show just for Kelsey Grammer alone as his acting and portrayal of Tom Kane is simply too good to miss.
Having only seen season 1 (and the season 2 premiere), this review only covers what I have seen so far but the show has no signs of slowing down at this point. Boss was sadly cancelled after season 2 though this was due to a decline in ratings not the quality of the show, or so I have heard anyway. There is, however, talk of a film being released to tie up all the loose ends, much like what they did with Firefly. Who knows, the lovely people over at Netflix may even resurrect it. Fingers crossed!