Monday, July 19, 2010

A (Glenn) Close Call: Damages Gets a Two-Season Pickup

But There's a Catch: New Episodes Will Only Air on DirecTV

It looked like we'd be leaving Patty Hewes for good on the pier outside her house in the Hamptons at the end of the third season of "Damages."
The show was critically lauded, gushed over by the brass at FX, but it just wasn't getting enough love with the Nielsen families. Too bad, they didn't know what they were missing.
As delectably played by Glenn Close, the ruthless--to put it charitably--lawyer Patty Hewes had enough issues to have kept Freud and Jung working overtime. She knew how to bring adversaries to their knees, but her personal life was a royal mess, one that she often made. It made for great TV. And Emmy nominations.
The season just concluded was arguably the best of the three. A big reason for that was the startling but fully satisfying casting of Martin Short as a scumbag lawyer for a family whose scion made Bernie Madoff look like a striver. Short got an Emmy nomination for his troubles, along with Close and Rose Byrne, right, whose Ellen Parsons was alternately Patty's, mentee, confidant, nemesis and would-be murder victim.
"Damages" has always been good like that. Darrell Hammond, of all people, played a hitman in season 2, while Lily Tomlin had a prominent role this year. Throw in the likes of Ted Danson, Zjelko Ivanek, Keith Carradine, and Michael Nouri, among others wending their way through keep-you-guessing-till-the-end plotlines, and you have a most-satisfying hour of TV.
And despite the ratings, "Damages" lives on. DirecTV says it will bring back "Damages" for two 10-episode seasons starting next year, and relieve FX of the burden of canceling the show. The catch: unlike "Friday Night Lights," another ratings-challenged reclamation project, "Damages" will only air on DirecTV's 101 channel.
That alone might not be the best reason to dump cable for DirecTV, like I happily did six years ago. But it's pretty damn (Glenn) close.

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