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Detachment of characters on “Boss” denies viewer connection

Melissa Hayer Modified: April 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm •  Published: October 18, 2011

 

Kelsey Grammer takes on his first leading role in a dramatic television series as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane in the new Starz show “Boss,” with the premiere episode also featuring the television directorial debut of acclaimed filmmaker Gus Van Sant.

Kane is a leader who solves problems any way he sees fit, sometimes involving and/or resulting in physical harm to others or using deception – in other words, he’s not the most morally upstanding character – and these efforts are supposedly for the benefit of the city.

Because he “gets the job done,” no one seems to want to challenge him on his methods of achievement.

As the series begins, Kane has also just been diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder that he is keeping secret from everyone, including his wife in a marriage of convenience Meredith (Connie Nielsen, “Gladiator”); his estranged daughter Emma (Hannah Ware, “Cop Out”); and his advisor Kitty O’Neil (Kathleen Robertson, “Beverly Hills, 90210″).

O’Neil suspects something’s wrong, but keeps her silence about it; and Kane reaches out to get in touch with his daughter, but whether he actually tells her about his illness remains to be seen.

While Grammer, most known for his role as “Frasier,” gives a solid performance, I just couldn’t really get engrossed in this program.

There’s such a detached air about the characters that I didn’t feel a connection with any of them or the story lines.

However, “Boss” has been picked up by Starz for a second season before it has even debuted, so perhaps I need to watch a few more episodes before I make a final verdict.

“Boss” premieres at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, on Starz.

 

– Melissa Hayer

mhayer@opubco.com