Thursday, February 4, 2016

Mad Dogs

Ugh, this weather is kind of taking it out of me. I hate winter with a passion. My sister very kindly reminds me (frequently) that I maybe shouldn't have moved to Colorado. Thanks, sis. So I found myself in need of a mental health break and couldn't (wouldn't) leave the house thanks to snow this week. And the blah mood translated into a book funk as well.

Fortunately, the first full season of Mad Dogs finally made it to Amazon Prime last month!

For those of you who may not know, Amazon offers viewers the chance to watch original pilots and give feedback on those pilots as they decide which to put into production. Bosch was my first, thanks to being notified by Michael Connolly's followers, and I've looked forward to the process ever since. The bad thing is that it takes a while for the shows to finally air. Basically you get to watch a fully produced first episode and then wait a long time to see more. Long being relative.

Anyway, Mad Dogs was on the list (if I remember correctly) alongside The Man in the High Castle, both of which I thought were fantastic.

Side note, this wasn't my introduction to Mad Dogs. Amazon's version is a remake of an older UK show that I'd been desperately hoping would make a debut Stateside. My hopes have been somewhat in vain considering we still can't watch the original here. That original started in 2011 and ran for four seasons. It starred Max Beesley (who I'd seen in the fabulous Survivors), John Simm (Doctor Who, Life on Mars... he's in lots of stuff), Marc Warren (who's since done Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell), Philip Glenister (also of Life on Mars - that'd be the UK version for both him and Simm), and Ben Chaplin... of Mad Dogs. Yes, Ben Chaplin stars in both versions!

(Having not seen the UK version at all, I can't compare the two. I'm fine with that.)

The show finds five friends - Joel (Ben Chaplin), Lex (Michael Imperioli), Gus (Romany Malco), Cobi (Steve Zahn), and Milo (Billy Zane) - meeting up in Belize where Milo has plans to show off his riches and his manse while celebrating his "early retirement" with the others. It's to be a crazy reunion/vacation full of good times, partying, and reminiscing. Except that things very quickly take a dark and unexpected turn and Milo drags the others into a mess that they keep making worse (yep, each episode finds them digging their hole deeper and deeper).

It's dark and hilarious. And dark.

Mike and I loved it.

The cast is excellent. Steve Zahn provides a nice bit of goofiness and is perfectly cast for his role. As are the others, though they're all a bit more serious than Zahn is. Again, he's perfect for his role. Other cast includes María Botto (who also starred the original), Rachel Holmes, Phillip Davis, and a very welcome appearance by Allison Tolman (of Fargo). If you've seen the show then you know there are a few others very worthy of mention, but I'm afraid listing them would be a smidge spoilery.

The show's only ten episodes long at this stage. I don't know if I should be embarrassed to admit it only took us two sittings to complete, but again I needed that mental health break! It's definitely appropriately bingeworthy!

If you like dark comedy, this is one you definitely shouldn't miss. So far there's no news on renewal, but I do hope it gets enough viewership to warrant a second season. I'd be interested to see how the men's stories plays out should they continue further.

(You can check out the trailer for Mad Dogs here.)

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