I am now watching season three of The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Julianna Margulies. It is every bit as good as season two and considerably better than the premiere season which was pre-COVID. I commend you to this outstanding Apple TV original, not only for the performances of these three women, but their co-stars, Billy Crudup, Steve Carell, and Jon Hamm, to name but a few.
This weekly series of a show about a show is top-notch material … especially the relationship stuff between the three female principals and the development of their characters as individuals. As the creative force behind Cagney & Lacey as well as The Trials of Rosie O’Neill (both available on Amazon) I am more than content putting my credentials on the line as someone who knows this stuff when he sees it.
Having, once again, whetted my own appetite for such feminist fare I began a scroll through the various platforms available and came up with two jewels from the past which are more than worthy of yet another look or… if you missed them before… a now must-see. I can assure you that their vintage has little or no impact on the virtue of these two truly wonderful series.
In Saving Grace, Holly Hunter… one of the very best actresses around in the early 21st century… relates equally well with both her male counterparts, her family members, and the gal who plays her best friend from childhood, essayed by Laura San Giacomo of Pretty Woman fame. The show is ostensibly a police procedural, taking place in Oklahoma several years after the infamous Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, but it is much more than that.
Like Cagney & Lacey… its predecessor of a few years… Saving Grace is not just cops and robbers… introducing a fanciful element dealing with Ms. Hunter’s Catholic upbringing, the invention of which made me, as a series maven, green with envy. The show is imaginative, provocative, and produced with a brilliant ensemble of not too well-known actors.
Quality control… making good shows week in/week out… is what good television series are about, and Saving Grace certainly has that. I felt there was some slippage mid-way through the second season, but only for a few episodes as the ship was righted in plenty of time for that season’s end, and the beginning of its terrific final season three. I cannot recommend this series highly enough.
Regarding premier female actors, let me quickly segue to Glenn Close and Damages, her outstanding television series that originally aired on FX between 2007 and 2012. Her co-star, Rose Byrne is terrific as is the all-star gang in support which includes Ted Danson, Timothy Olyphant, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, John Goodman, Lily Tomlin, and Judd Hirsch. Wow… what a show.
FX, it should be remembered, is the television platform that gave us such series gems as The Bear, Justified, The Americans, American Horror Story, and The X Files. Damages can now be seen via Hulu, and I can assure you it has lost none of its luster in the intervening decade. Even if you saw it back in the day, go back and see it again. You will thank me.
To my surprise, I also found Glenn Gordon Caron’s Moonlighting on Hulu, and even more surprising was my disappointment at this brief revisit. There are still some charming moments between co-stars Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis… and no small amount of chemistry between the two leads, but the fabulous timing and freshness I remembered so fondly have not stood the test of time. Still, if you have never seen the show, you might want to give it a try. The movie-length pilot is interminable. The 47-minute-long episodes work much better, but are still not as sharp as my memory of them.
To sum up: The Morning Show (Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Julianna Margulies), Cagney & Lacey (Sharon Gless, Tyne Daly), The Trials of Rosie O’Neill (Sharon Gless), Saving Grace (Holly Hunter, Laura San Giacomo), Damages (Glenn Close, Rose Byrne).
The nine women who are featured in these shows are truly in a league of their own.
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