Suits: Season 3 (TV Review)

Suits: Season 3 (TV Review)

There is little doubt that Suits is an entertaining show to watch. There is no arguing that perhaps Gabriel Macht (playing Harvey Specter) wears a suit better than anybody else (seriously…that guy can wear a suit). And there is also no arguing that there is always plenty of intrigue on the show, both inside the firm and outside it, as Harvey and Mike Ross (played by Patrick J. Adams) have tackled all sorts of cases through the episodes.

suits3But I felt that at the end of Season 2, the show fell off a little bit, and got confused as to where it was going. They created an intense, but difficult-to-follow plot revolving around the power struggles within the law firm. Eventually this led to a merger, that become even more complex and convoluted. They slowly backed away from the cases that were happening in the real world, instead focusing primarily on the politics inside the luxurious offices of the law firm with the ever-changing name.

Therefore, I went into Season 3 with a little bit of hesitation, wondering which way the show would go from here. Get back into the courtroom? Or stay within the walls, and see how this whole mess shakes out?

In Season 3, they do a little bit of both, much to my relief. While the entire third season focuses only on one primary court case, there is the interest that comes from that. There are still many power games being played within the firm, with new wrinkles added, like Mike and Rachel hooking up at the end of the second year, but they seem much simpler to follow this time around, which makes for a more enjoyable viewing experience, in my opinion.

Aside from the fact that the whole premise for the show is, in fact, kind of ridiculous (are we really to believe that one of New York’s top law firms would be alright with having a fraud who never even went to college working for them? Not likely. It seems like it would be incredibly simple for someone to check in on Mike Ross and realize that he never went to Harvard, or any law school for that matter), if you buy into it, you will enjoy it.

While Mike is not the most interesting character of the group, his relationship with Rachel does provide some interest to his character. Harvey is still the star of the show here. He carries each episode, and even though he is kind of an anti-hero, he is the one that we will end up cheering for when all is said and done. We want Harvey to do well, even though he has had nothing but success in his life. Normally, we would want that type of person to fail, just so they know what it feels like, but we want Harvey to keep winning. At everything. During the third season, he develops a little more, and even shows some vulnerability, but at the end of the day, he is still the Harvey that we have adored for the first two seasons of the show.

suits2The secondary characters continue to grow in Season 3, as well. Specifically Donna (Sarah Rafferty), the fierce, but ever-loyal assistant of Harvey’s. She has always had a smaller role in the show, but seems to take on more in this season, and her moments are always some of the best ones. She is terrifying and incredible at the same time, and it is great to see her develop more as a character. We even get to see her engage in a romance during the season, which shows us a little bit about Donna outside of the office.

Louis Litt (played by Rick Hoffman) continues to annoy us, but in a good way. He, as usual, is caught deep in the shadow that Harvey casts across the entire office, and is always playing catch up. He has some of the funnier scenes in the season, and even gets to continue to develop a romance that he started before. There are light moments in the show, and they usually revolve around Louis. Such as a mock trial based on ownership of a cat. But Hoffman manages to continue to have us sympathize with Louis, and despite his numerous failings (and he has several this season), we want him to do well.

For those who have already enjoyed the first couple of seasons of Suits, there is no reason to stop now. Season 3 continues to roll along, and I may argue that it is superior to Season 2. If you have not yet watched the show yet, it is a good place to go to watch men pound their chests with their massive egos, and banter in the board room while wearing expensive suits, and fierce women trying to make their way in the male-dominated world of law. There is some humour, some quirkiness, but mostly, just some sound storytelling that has simplified itself and returned to the entertaining tales it originally spun.

Sherlock: Season 3 (TV Review)

Sherlock: Season 3 (TV Review)

After burning through the first couple of seasons of Sherlock, I was excited to find out what would take place in the third. Specifically, as with most viewers, to find out how our hero survived his plunge off the building at the end of the second season, after the death of Moriarty. Sherlock leapt from the building to save his friends, and survived. But how?

This is just one of the mysteries unveiled in the third set of three episodes in the great British crime drama. And the writers went with unique ways of explaining, or not explaining, how it came to be that Sherlock is still alive.

The third season is not dissimilar to the first two, in that the structure of the show is the same, but it feels like season 3 offers something quite different. There is less focus on individual cases, and the writers used interesting techniques to tell the story. My favorite episode was S03E02, in which Watson is getting married. This causes great anxiety for Sherlock, as he is the best man, and needs to give a speech. His speech is, as one would expect, quite memorable. In this episode, there are stories that stop and start, some seemingly for no reason, yet everything is tied together beautifully at the end of the episode. It makes for a very fun, and entertaining wedding, all while hearing the stories of Sherlock and Watson, and solving a crime at the same time.

sherlock6The show remains serious, but fun. This can still mainly be attributed to the acting performance of Benedict Cumberbatch, who is still just as great as Sherlock as he always was. This is a role that he truly owns, and one would hope that it will continue for a few more seasons. We definitely haven’t got tired of him yet, or of his oddities and selfish shenanigans.

Not to spoil anything, but there is even a time when Sherlock gets himself a girlfriend! So, he is human after all.

While Netflix teases us saying that the third season is more than three episodes long, it really isn’t. There are three short behind-the-scenes featurettes that follow the main episodes of the show, giving it the appearance of a longer season. Which is too bad, because I wanted more, since there is a nice surprise twist at the end of the final third season episode. I guess we will be stuck waiting until Netflix releases whatever comes next for our heroes.

With such easily digestible seasons, there is no reason not to watch Sherlock. It can be equal parts fun, gritty, humorous, and dark, all guided by the wonderful Cumberbatch. For those who loved the first two years of the show, keep on going through season three. You will not be disappointed.

“The Body in Question”- Northern Exposure S03E06

Quickly becoming addicted to Northern Exposure, I am thrown back to a time when things could be done on TV that seemed important. Music videos were dark and made intelligent social commentaries (think of Alice in Chains’ “Rooster”, or Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy”). TV shows could be weird, and people would still watch them (think Twin Peaks). And as I mentioned in a previous post, Northern Exposure could brilliantly break the fourth wall between characters and audience in order to allow us to step back and take a look at the issues of the day.

I wonder if things like this could still work?

Sure, I believe that we are in some sort of new Golden Age of television, where the quality of the product is at an all-time high. Cable shows are racking up the awards, and you don’t need to look too far to find a deep, intelligent drama on the air. There are just so many good shows right now, that it is difficult to complain. But these shows tend to exist in their own worlds (as brilliant as Game of Thrones is, it really isn’t saying tons about the way we live our lives in 2014. But, I absolutely adore the show).

I thought of this while watching Season 3, Episode 6 of Northern Exposure, entitled “The Body in Question.” In the episode, the gang from Cicely discover a frozen body and diary, indicating that the mysterious person was someone close to Napoleon, and it is revealed through his writing that Napoleon was not actually at the Battle of Waterloo.

Simple enough, right? Another quirky adventure for the Alaskans to solve before going on with their lives.

But, as this show tends to do, it took it far further than I would have expected for a 90’s network show. It had a debate. And it was amazing to watch.

The conflict centered around whether or not the town should reveal Pierre (their body) to the world, and take advantage of the tourist influx it could cause. They debated if they should reveal that history may be false, in that Napoleon was not even present for his greatest and most famous defeat. This would literally change history.

Of course, it was Chris, the existential radio DJ, that brought up the idea of the metaphysical debate on the validity of what Pierre could reveal. Do we want to change our past, the stories that have developed over the years and have truly defined who we are, as individuals, and as a nation? He states that his life would be no different if Napoleon wasn’t at the battle. But it would change things for so many people, because that is what we know, and a part of who we are. He discusses the comfort we get from our stories, such as George Washington cutting down the cherry tree. If that never happened, our lives would be the same. Or would they?

It was great to see characters discuss these types of things in the middle of a show that is mainly lighthearted. And the audiences responded, I assume, since the show continued on for years after its third season.

I miss that. That there can be a moment on TV that goes beyond entertaining you. That there is a part of it that can make you think, and make you wonder. That maybe you watched that episode and debated with your friends the importance of our history, of our stories, in shaping our lives.

chrisA great episode from a great series. Added on to the great debate that transpires at a town hall meeting, the episode ends with Chris reading Proust on air.

How can it get any better than that?