Friday, April 18, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Rake, season 1 (2014) ***

TV-14, 13 43-min. episodes
Developers: Peter Duncan (also creator for original Australian TV series), Peter Tolan

Directors: Sam Raimi, Scott Winant, Jon Avnet, Cherie Nowlan, Adam Davidson, Amy Heckerling, Adam Arkin, Rosemary Rodriguez, Roxanne Dawson, Jeffery Walker, Paul A. Edwards

Writers: Peter Duncan, Peter Tolan, Richard Roxburgh (creator for original Australian TV series), Charles Waterstreet (creator for original Australian TV series), Allison Abner, Sara Goodman, Kit Boss, Kevin J. Hynes, Sam Catlin

Starring: Greg Kinnear, John Ortiz, Miranda Otto, Necar Zadegan, Bojana Novakovic, Tara Summers, David Harbour, Ian Colletti, Omar J. Dorsey, Kim Hawthorne

Guest starring: Peter Stromare, Bill Smitrovich, Damon Gupton, Jeffrey Nordling, Anne Gee Byrd, Alexandra Breckinridge, Catherine Dent, Tony Hawk, Cedric Yarbrough, Elizabeth Ho, Jama Williamson, Lisa Pelican, Denis O’Hare, Bill Cobbs, Ayelet Zurer, Bess Armstrong, Michael Bofshever, Bruce Thomas, Chelsey Crisp, David Gautreaux, Mary Kay Place, Trisha LaFache, Anthony Anderson, Michael Ironside, Kelly Frye, Kate Burton, Marco Sanchez, Peter Jacobson, Dorian Missick, Pamela Adlon, Rob Moran, Kim Estes, Alix Angelis, Philip Baker Hall, Kris Angelis, Mark Moses, Melora Walters, Michelle Krusiec, River Alexander, Michelle Bernard, Thomas Crawford, Michelle Forbes, Rick Overton

Now, the title says “season 1”, but unfortunately I fear the fate is sealed on “Rake”. There will be no season 2. This is not because it wasn’t any good. It’s simply because nobody watched it. It’s based off a hit television series in Australia of the same name. Fox never really seemed too committed to this American remake, however. A lawyer show with some big name movie stars and directors attached to it, “Rake” should’ve been given a major fall launch with high expectations. Instead it was relegated to a midseason replacement series that launched just a couple weeks before the Olympics and was forced to compete against that NBC juggernaut while most regular series were playing repeats. Then, when the ratings tanked upon launch, it was moved to the throwaway timeslot (except for the success of “Grimm”) of Fridays. Later, it was moved again for its death knell on Saturday nights, and it’s still unclear as to whether its final episode even aired at all.

The show has an interesting premise. It’s about a lawyer who specializes in the worst clients, getting off murderers and bigamists. As played by Greg Kinnear, you can’t help but like the guy, though, and you even find yourself seeing the injustice facing his clients. His character, Keegan Dean, runs his life and his practice in a manner matching his clients. He’s a mess, and the show is mostly about the balancing act he sometimes pulls off and sometimes doesn’t. If anything, Kinnear is almost too nice to be this guy, but somehow, that’s one of the things he pulls off.

I very much would’ve liked to see more of this series. The writers had a wonderful knack for raising the stakes. It only ran for a couple of seasons in Australia, although it was a hit. I imagine it would be difficult to keep the cards stacked against our hero, but the show always seemed to hit the breaks at just the right time, and then they’d come out swinging at the guy again. This wasn’t your typical lawyer show. It’s a shame. 

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