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Over the last week I watched the first season of Ray Donovan.

It was the perfect binge experience. Long enough where I had time to take in each episode, short enough where nothing was lost to nights of drinking long days at work. I avoided all spoilers. This was magical for a few reasons*. I know there are people who like them, or claim it's about how you get there, but I like how you get there plus the actual plot.

These are my quick thoughts post-binge.

Spoilers abound…

The Good

  • Liev Schreiber. He's just that good.
  • Avi & Lena. Ray's crew is just as cool as Ray. Flawed, moralistically challenged, and loyal. They could use more screen time. Steve Bauer and Katherine Moennig were solid in their roles. I didn't just buy Bauer's Israeli accent, I got a kick out of his mannerisms.
  • Eddie Marsan. All of Ray's family has issues, but Marsan's Terry is one of the most unique characters on television. It helps being Ray's least-annoying family member, too.
  • The fixes. I wanted more fixing.
  • The acting. While I've complimented a few already, the entire cast was solid. The catch here is some of their characters are unlikable, or annoying, but they were still played well.

The Maybe

  • From pseudo-serialized to full-on procedural. I prefer serialized televsion, but Ray fixing more situations would have been fun. We would have also had more time with the better characters on the show.
  • Elliott Gould's Ezra. He's mourning. He has health issues. His instability has instability. I get it. What I don't get is how he became so repetitive so fast.
  • Lee Drexler. Where'd he go?
  • The non-closure. Non-closure of non-major plots is fine with me, but the show seems to chip away at things and let them go. Ray's encounters with Ashley were there, not, brought up by Abby, then silence. Gone. Again. Let it go or don't.
  • The ending. It could be seen episodes away. Not under 'The Bad' because we actually had an ending.

The Bad

  • Mickey Donovan. Not Jon Voight, unless he had a ton of creative freedom, but the character of Mickey. He's a cartoon in a sea of a reality. When he's talking to Potato Pie, I get flashbacks of Roger Rabbit and Eddie Valiant.
  • The terrible accents. Just stawp.
  • Ray's family is annoying. There's character building, and every character can't be likable. But it's hard to enjoy watching scenes dedicated to them.
  • Hey look, there's Father Danny. In LA? Seriously? Deus ex machina, anyone?
I enjoy the premise, there are good characters to build off of. There's potential here for a great season, and for some character movement - Mickey and Bunchy could change a lot based on the events of the last two episodes. But there was potential to begin with.

Season two starts up in July. I'll be watching it. I'm undecided if it'll be week-to-week or another binge-fest. I have a feeling it'll be harder to avoid spoilers this time around.

*Disclosure: I work for this website, which is owned by CBSi, which is owned by CBS. Ray Donovan airs on Showtime, which is owned by CBS. So I'm corporate cousins twice removed with Liev Schreiber. We've never hung out.
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