Slings and Arrows

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The Movie Network (ended 2006)

USER EDITOR

emma5000

User Score: 233

8.7
out of 10
User Rating
117 votes
8

SHOW REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Slings and Arrows

Show Summary

Behind the scenes of a Shakespearean theatre troupe, as troubled artistic director Geoffrey Tennant takes over after the sudden death of his former mentor to direct a production of Hamlet, the play that once drove him into a nervous breakdown. He also has to contend with an American action star as his leading man, an aging prima donna as his leading lady, a scheming general manager, and a ruthless corporate raider.
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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • One of the finest shows ever created

    10
    "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players . . ." William Shakespeare



    Normally it's a clich to start a review with a quote from The Bard, but with Slings and Arrows it's practically required. Despite the contemporary setting, Shakespeare is essentially a main character. Not a scene goes by without a mention of, an allusion to, or a quotation from the playwright himself. This is television's ode to Shakespeare, and a beautiful one at that. The best part about the show however, is that you don't need to have read a word of his works to enjoy the series. While it's true that familiarity with his plays is rewarded throughout the series, the fundamental core of the show can be appreciated by anybody.



    The show depicts a Canadian Shakespeare troupe struggling to keep their personal drama from affecting their stage drama. It does this without ever verging into melodramatic territory, and this is where the success of the series lies: in its effortless ability to highlight the subtle theatricality of life, and the profound and human experiences the theater provides. This is also a show about people stuck inside a profession that they love, even while it consumes them whole. Their biggest accomplishments in life are just a collection of fleeting moments that are over before they even begin . . . much like life itself. Also like life itself, the show is filled with plenty of humor, and rivals even some of the best comedies at times.



    The talent is excellent across the board, but the show's leading man is the real gem of the series. Paul Gross stars as Geoffrey Talent, a somewhat mentally unstable washed-up theater actor who hesitantly returns to his old theater troupe. Outside of the protagonist however, Slings and Arrows knows "there are no small parts," because every character gets their moment to shine within a given episode, and just about all of them receive a satisfying ending by the time the show ends. With only three short seasons (six episodes each), it's hardly time-consuming, and is more rewarding than most network dramas that lasted over 100 episodes.moreless
  • Pure genius

    10
    Having in the past three weeks watched all three seasons of "Slings & Arrows" on DVD, I can say without question that this is one of the best shows of any kind I have ever seen. From the brilliance of the writing to the beauty of the acting, this show is television of the highest quality. It manages to be very funny, often darkly so, as well as terrifically moving. There is not a false note in any of this series' eighteen episodes. And it is the rare example of a show that just gets better with every episode. The first season sets a high bar, and each succeeding season clears that bar with ease. The final season, in which artistic director Geoffrey Tennant tries to direct his dying acting idol in "King Lear," is truly magnificent. The entire cast is extraordinary, especially Paul Gross as Tennant, Martha Burns as leading actress Ellen Fanshaw, Stephen Ouimette as former director and now ghost Oliver Welles, Susan Coyne as administrative assistant Anna Conroy, and Mark McKinney as general manager Richard Smith-Jones. And the writing, by regulars Coyne and McKinney as well as Bob Martin, who appears briefly in the first season, is pitch-perfect. If you've never seen this show, I highly recommend it.moreless
  • The last smart comedy I've ever watched.

    9.0
    I don't watch sitcoms on TV, not any of them and I haven't for several years. They're all a boringly similar substrate that needs to take advantage of lowest-common-denominator humour to "succeed".



    "Slings and Arrows" was wickedly original in its concept, brilliantly daring in its presentation, hilariously funny-slash-poignant in its content and just a "who's who" of Canadian talent. And I do mean talent. Paul Gross and Martha Burns as regulars and then in and out of "New Burbage" flitted the likes of Rachel McAdams, Sarah Polley, Colm Feore, Geraint Wyn Davies, Peter Keleghan...and the list goes on.



    Over the top storylines about the "creative half", but really, really good comedy.



    Alas, I knew it well...moreless
  • Outrageous fortune.

    9.5
    Slings & Arrows follows the triumphs, tragedies and antics behind and in front of the curtain at the fictional New Burbage theatre festival. Each year New Burbage (a fictionalized version of Ontario’s Stratford festival) puts on a different Shakespearian play, Hamlet in the first season, MacBeth in the second and finally King Lear. You don’t have to be an English major to enjoy it, but Shakespeare lovers and drama geeks will get an extra kick out of it. The show was created by Mark McKinney (from The Kids in the Hall), Susan Coyne and Bob Martin; and the starring cast is a who’s who of Canadian television actors sure to inspire many games of “what have I seen that guy in?” The hunky Mountie from Due South, Paul Gross stars as actor Geoffrey Tennant, who returns to the festival now that he’s nearly bankrupt after having a nervous breakdown playing Hamlet seven years earlier. Back at New Burbage, Geoffrey returns to acting and acting up. He takes over for director Oliver Welles (Steven Ouimette) after Oliver falls over drunk and is run over by a truck of hams. Oliver begins to haunt Geoffrey much like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, only snarkier. Season one also stars Gross’s real-life wife Martha Burns as his former flame actress Ellen Fanshaw, Mark McKinney as Richard Smith-Jones, a scheming festival manager looking to sell out, and Rachel McAdams as a young ingénue actress as life quickly imitated art and McAdams herself became well known. Season 2 features Colm Feore (who played the title role in the CBC movie Trudeau) and Geraint Wyn Davies (who played the vampire detective in Forever Knight) as an actor playing MacBeth, directed by Geoffrey, which of course, doesn’t go exactly as planned. Season 2 plays Sundays at 9 pm on Showcase. Season one and two are available on DVD.moreless
  • a wonderful show

    10
    i've only just seen season 1 of "slings & arrows" on dvd. it has enthralled me right away! to be honest i was mainly interested in seeing paul gross again (i'm huge fan of his and of "due south") but this show has to offer so much more! it has a most brilliant cast, it is very funny, at times even eccentric but then again very tragic and touching.



    i just loved the scenes between geoffrey and oliver, the vulnerability and madness added to geoffrey's character, the wonderful love story between kate and jack, the evilness of holly, the self-centredness of claire and darren nichols, the manipulability of richard, geoffrey and ellen finally growing closer again, the sensitive way geoffrey explains the characters to his cast and i have finally discovered the beauty of the words of william shakespeare (not being a native speaker they are not part of the things i heard or read at school) ... i guess there won't be much of a chance for this show being broadcasted where i live. poor switzerland, you won't ever know what you're missing! complement: i've seen season 3 as well in the meantime and loved it as much (or even more) than i loved season 1. you can read my review under "the promised end".



    i'm really sad there most likely won't be any more seasons. i would have loved to see more of this most wonderful and brillant show that, judging from the amount of people who have been scoring or tracking it in here, strikes me to be a jewel among todays shows overlooked by a major audience ...moreless
  • CELEBRATE 4TH OF JULY THIS YEAR WITH DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION: SEASON FIVE AND NEW SCI FI CHANNEL FAVORITE EUREKA WHEN SEASON ONE HITS STORES ON TUESDAY. PLANNING YOUR DREAM VACATION TO ENGLAND, IRELAND, AND SCOTLAND? YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS THE TRAVEL CHANNEL'S PASSPORT TO EUROPE RELEASE.

    July 3, 2007 DVD Releases

  • HALLOWEEN IS ALMOST HERE, AND THE CLASSIC SERIES BEWITCHED AND THE ADDAMS FAMILY WILL GET YOU IN THE SPIRIT, WHILE THE MINISERIES NIGHTMARES AND DREAMSCAPES: FROM THE STORIES OF STEPHEN KING WILL FULFILL YOUR NEED FOR FRIGHT. DON'T FORGET TO PICK UP SUCH HILARIOUS FAVORITES AS SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: BEST OF SATURDAY TV FUNHOUSE, SCTV, AND BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD FOR SOME LAUGHS.

    October 24, 2006 DVD Releases

    • Best Unknown Show On TV
      Judging from the lack of activity on this forum, Slings and Arrows must be largely unwatched here in the US, which is a shame.  A...
      02/04/10
      10
    • canadian shows
      i've only just seen two canadian show (or shows with a big canadian influence) to be honest and that's "slings & arrows" and "due...
      06/13/07
      7
    • a wonderful show!
      being a huge fan of paul gross i've ordered season 1 on dvd from canada (i guess it won't ever be broadcasted in switzerland) and ...
      05/07/07
      8
    • Season 3
      Season 3 (which I understand to be the final in the "trilogy") starts in Canada on TMN July 24th, 10pm:http://www.themovienetwork....
      04/08/07
      3
    • Has anyone seen Season 3?
      Do Geoffrey and Ellen wind up together?
      12/08/06
      3
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    More Info About This Show

    Categories

    Arts, Comedy, Drama

    Themes

    Theater, Dark Comedy, dry humor, obscure jokes, slow dialogue