Conscience of the Conservative

What happens when a conservative Republican ex-president, who has been out of office for more than two decades, decides he’s completely out of fucks to give, and starts looking at the damage his policies caused?


This is the premise of Epix’s TV series Graves, which began airing last year. Somehow I’d not heard of it. I’m guessing I was too busy paying attention to real politics. Or perhaps their PR just sucked. But either way, I’m glad to have found it now..

Nick Nolte plays the titular character, who, it is implied, was a two-term Republican president that came along after Reagan but before Clinton. He’s now retired and living in New Mexico, and is becoming very unhappy with his life. After a confrontation with former New Mexican governor Bill Richardson, he starts looking at the way his time in office is being remembered. He starts to realize some of the consequences that were experienced by the American public when he did things like cut cancer research, “get tough” on illegal immigration, or speak out against gay marriage.

He looks at these things with the distance of time and wisdom and doesn’t like what he sees. So he starts acting up and speaking out. As this is going on, his wife is being courted by the Republican establishment to run for the Senate, his daughter is going through a divorce, and his estranged son has returned from service overseas.

To a great extent the series is a liberal wank-fest. We all want to have someone like Bush 41 or W admit that they were wrong in what they believed and fought for. We want to have a moment where they say, “Yeah, I fucked up, and shouldn’t have done X, Y, or Z.”

But the show does this liberal wank-fest in a very entertaining way. Nick Nolte is absolutely magnificent as the main character, and Sela Ward is fantastic as the former First Lady. The rest of the cast is spot-on, as well, and there are many cameos by the likes of Bill Richardson, Rudy Giuliani, Barney Frank, Michael Steele, and others.

If you’ve got a hankering for an enjoyable diversion of a political series, do check this out. It isn’t quite as sharp as Alpha House, but it’s still very good. You can find it through Epix’s channel on Sling, and possibly your cable provider. It’s also available on the various streaming services. Vudu has the first two episodes for free, and the series as a whole is only $20 through them. Not bad!


Ugh…Now I Have to Go Change My Undies…

I guess I’m going to be quite occupied on April 1…

Coming Soon – A Game of Thrones

So come this April I know what I’ll be watching.

For the uninitiated, this is a trailer for a series based one of the only good fantasy series out there. It’s written by George RR Martin and kicks all sorts of ass. The storyline is insanely complex with a great many twists and turns. I’m really pleased to see it turning up on HBO and I really hope it’s good and does well.

TV Review – Skins – “Pilot”

I have a great fondness for the original series of Skins. I feel it’s one of the best TV shows to come out of the UK in quite some time. While the more recent seasons haven’t held up the same level of quality as the first two, it’s still quite a good show and always entertaining.

I was somewhat less-than-excited when MTV announced they were making an American version of the show. I thought FX or HBO could do a good version of it, but MTV? There’s basically nothing good about who they are or what they do. But I saw a couple trailers and began to wonder if might possibly not suck. Now I have seen the pilot.

It did not suck.

The story centers around Tony (James Milo Newman), and his efforts to help his friend Stanley (Daniel Flaherty), lose his virginity. Along the way there’s a creepy drug dealer, a big party, lots of booze and plenty of bare flesh, culminating in a surprising swim. If all this sounds familiar it’s because it’s the exact same plot as the British pilot.

Now as carbon-copy pilots go, I must say this one was actually pretty decent. It was better than the US pilot for The Office, which was an almost exact copy of the UK pilot. With The Office the show quickly spread out from its original source and started to become something very interesting and well-worth watching. From what I’ve seen so far in the previews for the rest of this season of Skins, it does not look like they are taking that track, and are copying at least a couple more episodes.

That’s a troubling notion, but on its own the pilot was at least quite good and entertaining. The writing was sound, the acting was good. Yes, I was thrown off by a couple things (the use of UK slang such as “spliff” and “skins”, for example, and setting the show in Baltimore while filming in Toronto. What the bright lights and big city of Baltimore was too expensive to film in?), and I remain pissed that Maxxie got a sex change (which completely messes up the dynamic with the Anwar character, making it even less likely they’d have the same relationship), but overall I found this episode at least to be… not bad. I’ll watch more and we’ll see where it goes.