The drama, which seems to have the “it” factor from the opening credits, has the potential to be a game-changer for the pay TV network, THR TV critic Tim Goodman writes.
You can look back at the history of any number of storied cable channels and pick the series that truly set them on the right course — the series that made them players. For HBO, it was The Sopranos; for Showtime, it was Dexter; for FX, it was The Shield; and for AMC, it was Mad Men.
Other series might have received as much critical acclaim, and still others would get higher ratings. But those were game-changers. And now Starz has its channel-defining series in Boss, a wholly impressive new drama that comes out of the gate with gravitas, swagger, originality and intrigue. It’s the kind of series that truly puts Starz on the map (and if it makes two or three others, it will be a highly competitive three-way race in the pay cable field).
Boss is full of revelations. It stars Kelsey Grammer in a stunning, eye-opening dramatic turn as Tom Kane, the ruthless mayor of Chicago — a modern King Lear with a crushing secret. The last time an actor known for sitcoms took the television world completely by surprise was Bryan Cranston, and he went on to win three consecutive Emmys for best actor and turn Breaking Bad into a show everybody talked about and fawned over.
Grammer is in nearly every scene of Boss, and he’s superb in all of them. The other main revelation is the arrival of Farhad Safinia, who created the series and wrote the first two episodes (here’s hoping he writes a lot more). Safinia announces himself here in much the same way Matthew Weiner and Vince Gilligan did with Mad Men and Breaking Bad, respectively. Safinia co-wrote the 2006 feature Apocalypto and has two movies in production.
Full piece here.