From Entertainment Weekly

The Must List: Week of November 30, 2008

Scan courtesy of Marie


 

Congratulations! Brotherhood


 



 


 

 
Brotherhood is one of TV's most intelligent, challenging dramas
 
Alex Strachan
The Ottawa Citizen

 
Still pining for The Wire, that remarkable, deeply affecting portrait of life on the streets of inner-city Baltimore? You may want to check out Brotherhood, if you haven't already.

Brotherhood, screenwriter Blake Masters' austere, densely plotted character study of politicians and small-time gangsters in urban Rhode Island, has been ferocious of late.

Brotherhood's themes are universal, and profound. The Irish-American Caffee brothers are a Cain and Abel of the modern age: Jason Clarke's Tommy Caffee is a state politician who has a noble heart but wrestles almost daily with an all-consuming ambition. Jason Isaacs' Michael Caffee is a small-time hoodlum and wannabe made man wrestling with an all-consuming ambition of his own -- he wants to be a kingmaker in New England's Irish mob. The brothers' wives, girlfriends, mother and hangers-on are inextricably intertwined with their twin destinies, which is what makes Brotherhood so affecting to watch. Brotherhood is both a political thriller and a deeply layered character study.

Case in point: tonight's episode, the second of the new season, finds Tommy (Clarke) using his political leverage to persuade the city's mayor to back a new waterfront development project -- the political story -- while his wife Eileen's (Annabeth Gish) increasingly difficult pregnancy costs her a badly needed promotion at work -- the personal story.

Brotherhood won a 2007 Peabody Award, and it's easy to see why.

Brotherhood's Providence, R.I., setting looks, sounds and feels as if it was ripped from the headlines of last week's presidential election, with its unsentimental view of an economic slump in a depressed, grimy industrial town and the passionate way it depicts working-class families struggling to get by.

If escapism is what you want, look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you want to immerse yourself in one of TV's most intelligent, challenging dramas, look no further. (10p.m., The Movie Network)

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Fresh off its loopy homage to Rush and Geddy Lee & friends in its last episode, Chuck returns to affairs of the heart in tonight's episode, Chuck Versus the Ex, in which Chuck runs into his ex-girlfriend (guest star Jordana Brewster) while on a call for Nerd Herd. Meanwhile, detail-oriented efficiency expert Emmett (Tony Hale) insists the Buy More staff take a CPR training course -- as taught by Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin). (8p.m., NBC, Citytv)

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Feeling an early winter chill this morning? Corner Gas will have you pining for the dog days of summer in tonight's episode, Meat Wave, in which the air conditioner breaks down on the hottest day of the year. Sounds welcome, just about now. (9:30p.m., CTV)

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Ted Turner, the so-called "Mouth of the South," the media mogul who gave the world CNN, and then lost it in a 1996 merger with Time Warner, Inc., joins David Letterman on Late Show. Expect a lot of talk about last week's presidential election. (11:35p.m., CBS)

 The Ottawa Citizen 2008