SUCCESSION AND THE MORNING SHOW — Two shows I really grew to love have come back with new seasons with additional characters and some of the complex plots I have ever seen … and, have both struggled a bit.
The Morning Show’s first season was just amazing. I know for a fact it was the brilliant writing and the acting of Steve Carrell, Jennifer Aniston and Resse Witherspoon. Also, Billy Crudup became as star as he lit up the screen with every scene he had. He shined throughout the entire first season. The show sort of told the whole Matt Lauer story with Carell as the hapless Mitch Kessler and Witherspoon as his replacement. The first season ended with Kessler banished; Crudup elevated to running the network and Aniston gone from the TV show.
In Season two, The Morning Show carried on with Witherspoon and some hapless soul as her co-anchor. He got a promotion and Crudup tried to woo Aniston back with middling results. The terrific Julianna Margulies was brought in as, get ready, Witherspoon’s love interest and Kessler, exiled in Italy began a long soul-searching process of sorts. Last week’s episode ended with him driving off a cliff in Italy, certainly exiting his character and I’m sure the next few episodes will have everyone re-thinking their plans. Now, does all this sounds like a proper Season Two? No way Jose.
I honestly don’t what happened as this show was heralded as the big thing. CNN’s Brian Stelter is somehow involved in the creative end of this and as I am not a fan of his, I’m wondering if his interference has anything to do with it. Honestly, I’m puzzled big-time
Succession’s first two seasons were nothing short of brilliant; with the terrific Brian Cox leading the way. It had shades of Dallas, Dynasty and showed, I guess, just how despicable the rich can be. That said, there was a certain shallow pleasure in watching Cox chew up the scenery.
The last episode of Season two had one of the sons, Kendall (played brilliantly by Jeremy Strong), essentially betray Cox and told the real story of what was going on behind the scenes. So bad was some of the reveals that the first few episodes of their new season was spent dealing with DOJ and FBI. Many new characters were introduced and now, it’s been very, very hard to follow. Their last episode, Disruption, showed some of the promise of their first two seasons, as Kendall went into a dark, dark place, thinking maybe had had had made a huge mistake.
So, what happened? I don’t know, but I do know that when you hit the top, there’s only one way to go.
Kerry Ehrin, who developed the great Wonder Years show decades ago, basically gave birth to the The Morning Show and for that premier season certainly had it. And, just for the record, The Morning Show moniker was lifted from the actual show that had Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford. So much for originality I guess.
Brit-Jesse Armstrong does Succession and even though he admits its based on the Murdoch family; no doubt he’s getting intel from everywhere.
My take on The Morning Show is for it to get back to where it belongs. It shouldn’t be about some forbidden-love affair, but about the TV show. As for Succession, more Brian Cox!
SHORT TAKES — The talking heads on Wednesday’s Today Show spent a good 15-minutes discussing Craig Melvin’s new earring Wednesday. Tedious? Definitely …
The new Freda Payne/Mark Bego memoir, Band of Gold-A Memoir (Yorkshire Publishing) shot right onto the charts a day after their release. Congrats. Look for the pair to do a virtual-dialogue with LA’s Book Soup next month, Thursday, December 9 and Payne is back in NYC on November 22 at Birdland … Greg Kinnear joins Broadway’s To Kill A Mockingbird when Jeff Daniels departs in January. Always liked Kinnear. He was just stellar in that Jack Nicholson movie, 1997’s As Good As It Gets. Glad he’s back in the saddle … RIP John Fagot … Happy Bday Lulu!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Randy Alexander; Bob Merlis; Jane Berk; Bert Bogash; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Mike Greenly; MA Cassata; Dan Fortune; Ken Dashow; Andrew Sandoval; Jody Ritzen; Marion Weinstein; Lush Ice; Pedro Pedro; Dan Rather; March Scheerer; Dan Zelinski; Anthony-Hayden Guest; Roger Friedman; and, ZIGGY