TV Show Review – Boss (Season Two)

Here Is TV Rating 4 (out of 5).   Kelsey Grammer continues in a second season of “Boss” after last year’s Golden Globe winning portrayal of corrupt Chicago mayor Tom Kayne. While some find “Boss” too harrowing and inaccessible, most appreciate the show’s depth, ambition and style. Returning viewers will find Kayne reaps perhaps even more than what he sowed in the first season, even as he battles a fatal, hallucination-inducing brain disease.

The Chicago Tribune summarizes Grammer’s work as “a spellbinding, brooding force that will surprise those who think of him only as Frasier.” Clearly absorbed by the show’s drama, the reviewer tosses out juicy tidbits from both seasons, mentioning that Kane’s “estranged daughter (Hannah Ware) was dating a gangbanger, maybe using drugs again” and Kitty O’Neil (Kathleen Robertson) assesses “herself, all of herself, in the mirror in the new season’s first episode.”

While finding it “smart, absorbing and particularly well done,” Newsday explains that “TV’s best series that no one’s watching” remains so because “’Boss’ wants to crush you under the sheer weight of Kane’s brutality. It wants to jab your brain with the mendacity of the Chicago machine…”

The Huffington Post finds the show unforgiveable with a “sour atmosphere.”

Despite political controversy surrounding the Emmys passing Kelsey Grammer over for a nomination, the New York Daily News proclaims this fact “more unfathomable than the Cubs’ inability to win a World Series for 104 years.” A “triumph” of the show, the Daily News states unequivocally that viewers will “care … about what kind of Chicago [Kane] will leave behind.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s reviewer revealed his complicated feelings toward “Boss”:  “still hooked” despite the show having “lost” him last season when its “last vestige of a crusading good-guy agreed to look the other way on a Kane story…” Describing season 1 as “super-frustrating,” season 2 “pulls viewers back on board with intriguing plot twists, more light moments and strong performances.”

The Australian refers to it as “the best new drama around” – the “full-on Shakespearian study of power and mortality.”

The San Francisco Chronicle refers to the show as “a gift to discerning TV viewers.” Saying that while “the characters have only scant or fleeting redeeming personal values, we continue to buy into their machinations…” But it did criticize the illustration of Kane’s Lewy body dementia hallucinations as “gimmicky,” while still granting that they “work in part.”

HitFix seems to find the show too cerebral. The reviewer says despite “flashy incidents,” “all of it tends to wash over me without generating a response beyond, ‘Interesting.’” Even so, “Grammer is outstanding enough on his own to merit watching.”

USA Today’s headline reads “’Boss’ employs new stars, dirty tactics.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer describes “Boss” as “perhaps the first series since HBO’s groundbreaking The Wire to attempt an in vivo dissection of the complex political and economic workings of a modern city.”

The Daily Herald quotes Grammer as saying “I’ve heard from other mayors,” “saying that they basically can’t watch the show, because it’s just too true. It’s a little unnerving, isn’t it?”

Slant Magazine says “though the series has its share of larger-than-life moments that ring hollow, its knack for extracting quiet beauty from all the mayhem lends Boss’s best scenes the precision and artistry of a monstrous ballet.”

The Wall Street Journal concludes the show is “not flawless.” But grants that it is “buoyed by strong performances and a haunting score,” making “for deeply affecting television nevertheless.”

The Winnipeg Free Press finds the show “entertaining,” labeling Gammer’s work “some of the most compelling of his long and stellar … career.” The show is “a unique undertaking that has the epic ambitions of a Shakespearean tragedy and … bloody-knuckled nastiness…”

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