We’ve already screened the pilot of Magic City, the tropical-flavored mob drama that premieres this Friday on Starz. But is it worth your time? Here are some first impressions that might help you decide.
When’s it on?
Magic City premieres Friday, April 6 at 10pm on Starz.
Who’s in it?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is Ike Evans, the owner of Miami’s Miramar Playa Hotel. You’ll recognize him from TV stints on Grey’s Anatomy (Denny!), Weeds, and Supernatural and starring movie roles in The Watchmen, The Losers, and PS I Love You. Also invited to this party are Danny Huston, Steven Strait, Jessica Marais, Alex Rocco, and Olga Kurylenko.
Who's behind it?
Series creator and executive producer Mitch Glazer (who wrote the Christmas cult classic Scrooged) grew up in the mythical version of Miami Beach that sets the stage for Magic City. Executive producer J. Geyer Kosinski's credits include Hope & Faith, Dark Blue, and the HBO film Live from Baghdad, starring Michael Keaton.
What's it about?
Ike Evans sold his soul to Miami mobster Ben Diamond to finance his dream, the Miramar Playa Hotel. When the pilot begins, it’s New Year’s Eve 1958, and Ike just wants to get some booze through the union picket lines outside his hotel for his swanky party, headlined by the one and only Frank Sinatra. That’s not too much to ask, right? Right. So Ike reluctantly goes back to Ben Diamond for a little help…and opens a can of worms that threatens to cover his glitzy life with sludge.
Who's the target audience?
Fans who enjoy intricate storylines and protagonists who operate largely in the gray area between moral and immoral. Fans of the Godfather movies. Noir enthusiasts. Magic City revels in the opportunity to expose the gritty underside to the glittery elegance of the late 50s.
What's good about it?
I know what you’re thinking and no, it’s not Mad Men Takes Miami. The fashion, the culture, and the history surrounding the Miami Beach of 1958 are not the same factors that influenced Madison Avenue circa 1960. It’s a different show, and in a lot of ways, it’s a darker show; the dual stage of Miami by day and Miami by night really illustrates that point. On a lighter note—Magic City has some pretty funny moments. There’s a line in the pilot that even after several viewings, had me in stitches.
Any weak spots I should know about?
This is a premium cable show, so there’s a lot of nudity. Like, to the point that boobies are no longer special. After a while they just sort of fade into the background. Story-wise, there’s a lot to digest at first, which I personally found frustrating, but once you have everyone straight in your head, you’ll be fiiiiine.
Okay but seriously, should I watch it?
Absolutely! Jeffrey Dean Morgan is pretty fantastic as an upstanding business owner and family man by day, and a guilt-ridden mafia flunky by night. However, the real treat is Danny Huston as the utterly crazy mob boss Ben Diamond. Utterly. Crazy. Plus there's a jazzy soundtrack, and the period attire and sandy backdrop are total eye candy. I could smell the suntan lotion through my TV, you guys.
What should I have on hand to get into the spirit of the show?
Freshly muddled mojitos and a Sinatra record to wind down to after credits roll.
Is there a clip I can take a look at so I can decide for myself?
Sure, there are clips, but we can do better than that: If you can’t wait until Friday night, or if you want in on the fun but Starz isn’t included in your cable package, the first three episodes are currently streaming FOR FREE on Starz's website. We've embedded Episode 1 below.
Well, what do you think? Are you planning to tune in?