by Danny Spiegel, TVGuide.com (January 10, 2005)
I watched the second-season premiere of this
engrossing, Depression-era series with a buddy
of mine who summed it this way: "Man, the
'30s sucked." Oh yes, they certainly did.
And what must've sucked even more was if you
tried to watch this show without revisiting
the finale that aired on HBO more than a year
ago. Psychic/catatonic Apollonia has apparently
gone up in flames (for actress Diane Salinger,
either the sweetest or lamest acting job in
all of television); Ruthie is alive while the
Professor is indeed dead (and dumped); Brother
Justin, who was caught checking out his sister's
crotch, is now sending out subliminal messages
over the radio (however, it's not "Check
out my sister's crotch."); and it seems
we actually know who Management is now.
Ol' craggly-voice from
the ominous trailer is actually a Russian soldier
that the notorious Henry Scudder, Ben Hawkins'
father, originally faced off against in WWI
(from, like, a three-second appearance in an
episode from 2003 that I'm so sure we all remember).
"[Scudder] is to me," said Management,
"what the creature [Justin] is to you."
And so the torch has been passed... or has it?
Is this a false lead? Maybe. But I don't care,
because for some reason I find material from
this time period fascinating, and just about
everything about this show (writing, acting
and particularly the production design) has
a high-quality — but appropriately grimy
— gloss all over it.