DAVID BIANCULLI

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ERIC GOULD

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Good DVD for a Slow Summer: "Californication"
June 17, 2008  | By David Bianculli
 
Californication.jpgShowtime's cable and satellite network reaches about 15 million subscribers, which means the vast majority of America hasn't seen its programming firsthand. That's why secondhand, which means DVD releases, is so meaningful -- and why today's DVD release of the first season of Californication is such good news.

Californication stars David Duchovny as Hank Moody, a New York writer who encounters both success and failure after moving to Los Angeles -- success by having his novel sold and adapted into a hit movie, and failure by subsequently enduring writer's block and the failure of his long-term romantic relationship.

Natascha McElhone co-stars as Karen, the woman who got away, young Madeleine Martin plays their daughter Becca, Madeline Zima plays Mia, a very young woman who seduces Hank with ulterior motives, and Evan Handler from Sex and the City plays Hank's literary agent and best friend.

What's delightful about this series, which premiered last year, is how it manages to be so mature and so immature simultaneously. Hank, at the start of the series, is a self-loathing hedonist, going from bed to bed and woman to woman -- but he's capable of true love, because he adores his daughter (it's mutual), and wants nothing more than to get back with Karen. Problem is, she's engaged to another man.

Over the course of the first season, Hank's path to redemption, and to rediscover his muse, takes him (and us) on a fairly wild ride. Situations that seem outlandish, presented only for shock value, are built upon so that their repercussions are fully explored. That includes romantic conquests, one-night stands, office flirtations and parental boundaries.

Californication is one of the series, like Dexter, that has redefined and reinvigorated Showtime, propelling it out of HBO's shadow and making it a major creative force in its own right. Buy season one here -- and enjoy!

 

2 Comments

 

Fro said:

Scripted TV rarely shocks, but the scene where Karen "introduces" Hank to Mia delivers a true "Oh my God, I can't believe they did that!" moment. Great stuff. Can't wait to see where they go in Season 2.

Comment posted on June 17, 2008 11:27 AM


mike said:

Best show on TV and it's nice to see it picking up some momentum. The DVD arrived today and I can't wait to watch it all over again. Thanks for referring more people to the show - hopefully this one sticks around for several seasons cuz it's truly great TV.

Comment posted on June 18, 2008 11:31 PM

 
 
 
 
 
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