DVD review – The Philanthropist: The Complete Series
The eight-episode series of “The Philanthropist” comes to DVD, but is it worth the donation?
Inspired by the real-life philanthropic work of Bobby Sager, “The Philanthropist” stars James Purefoy (“Rome”) as Teddy Rist, billionaire bad boy who decides he must do more with his life.
Rist is dealing with grief and guilt from the death of his son, and when he sees a child in Nigeria after the effects of a hurricane, he decides he’s going to use his money and power to help the boy and others like him. Throughout the series, he traipses off to new locations, aiming to provide hands-on philanthropy to those in need.
The cast is well-known: James L. Martin and Neve Campbell as Rist’s associates; Michael Kenneth Williams (“The Wire”) as Rist’s right-hand man; and Krista Allen (“Days of Our Lives”) as Rist’s ex-wife.
The show had a complicated genesis; it was originally developed by Tom Fontana (“Homicide: Life on the Street”), who was replaced by David Eick (“Battlestar Galactica”) who was then replaced by Fontana.
It’s beautifully shot, and Purefoy is well-cast as the good guy who isn’t always so pure of heart. The show has its share of dopey moments, but the feel-good premise and the talented cast push their way through them.
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