This summer, the crime drama Saving Grace has been hyped ceaselessly. The ads suggest that this new program is greater than superb, is beyond excellence, and just might displace all previous great film and television dramas. Part of the hype advertises its star, the Academy Award winning Holly Hunter.
Anyone reaching adulthood, conscious, compos mentis, and able to read and think despite government school "education," knows all about hype. The equation is:
FACTUAL QUALITY = 1 ÷ AMOUNT OF HYPE
Great acting ability cannot save a bad concept, poor writing, and poor casting. Saving Grace cornered the market on all three.
The Grace of Saving Grace is an Oklahoma cop. She is a hard-swearing, hard-drinking, and hard-fornicating, impulse-dominated, graceless woman, who acts like the living embodiment of Freud's "id." The character reminds me of the joke about psychopaths:
At age 18, all psychopaths convene and split into two groups. One becomes criminals. The other becomes cops.
(No, I do not regard police as psychopaths; some are—most are not).
The joke conveys a sense of nihilism, and Saving Grace tempers psychopathy with nihilism.
I could watch only 1/4th or so of the pilot. I hope that the subsequent program would be an improvement. Besides I needed a second datum to be able to draw a conclusion. The next episode was no better. I cancelled all further recordings on my DirecTV box.
What a waste of Holly Hunter this Saving Grace is.
By contrast, on the same TNT network, on the same night are two good programs: The Closer and Heartland. The Closer is truly one of the finest television dramas of all time. The concept is good. The cast is just magnificent, with magical chemistry, reminding me of M.A.S.H. and Frasier. The acting is superb. Almost every episode is better than the preceding one. The star, Kyra Sedgwick, deserves lots of Emmys. She and they bring lots of colorfulness, but no nihilism whatsoever.
Heartland is now off, and I do not know if it will return. It is a medical drama about transplant surgeons, their staff, and their patients. It started slow and tends to get a little too bogged down in estrogen, but it has long range promise. It has none of the nihilism of, say, Gray's Anatomy or Saving Grace.
Don't miss The Closer or Heartland. Do miss Saving Grace.