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Hercules Conjures
No Enthusiasm For Starz’ Latest Period Drama MAGIC CITY!!

I am – Hercules!!

A new Starz hourlong about a hotel in 1959 Miami Beach, “Magic City” comes to us from Mitch Glazer, the writer-director of 2010’s “Passion Play” (3% positive on Rotten Tomatoes). His prior screenwriting credits include 2003’s “The Recruit (43% positive), 1998’s “Great Expectations” (38%), 1993’s “Three of Hearts” (56%) and 1988’s “Scrooged” (17%).

If you’re not expecting much from a man with that resume, your expectations will be met. “Magic” follows “Playboy Club” and “Pan Am” as a series set in the “Mad Men” era but bereft of anything approaching “Mad Mad” mastermind Matt Weiner’s genius.

The series stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Watchmen,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), Olga Kurylenko (“Quantum of Solace”), Steven Strait (“10,000 B.C.”), Christian Cooke (the U.K. miniseries “The Promise”), Alex Rocco (the hotel owner in “The Godfather”), Danny Huston (“Wolverine,” the “Titans” movies) and Jessica Marais (“Legend of the Seeker”).

Morgan plays Ike Evans, owner of a lavish but financially troubled beachfront hotel, the Miramar. He is reluctantly partnered on the facility with mobster Ben “The Butcher” Diamond. One of Ike’s sons has political ambitions and wants to bone one of the housekeepers; the other is sleeping with the mobster’s third wife and may have designs on his own young stepmother.

The scenery’s nice and the nudity is plentiful, but the dialog is awful and the characters are boring. This is a series that has nothing new or interesting on its mind.

HitFix says:

... a mess, filled with paper-thin characters and clichéd dialogue and storylines. If not for the appealing lead performance by Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Ike, large stretches of the series would be unwatchable, even with all the lovely visuals. …

HuffPost TV says:

... Everything about "Magic City" shows a lack of depth, and the pacing is almost glacial. …

The New York Times says:

... The narrative is all mystique and not enough mystery, a moody melodrama that leaves no cliché of the mobster genre untouched, or improved. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

... the fate of Ike's hotel, and Ike, and everybody else here holds no sway or suspense. Glazer has built a beautiful edifice here, but he still needs to get some life into the place.

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

… the writing is a painfully failed attempt at replicating the dialogue of a 1940s noir film or classic crime fiction. You could tell the show creator to can the writer, except that they are the same guy: Mitch Glazer. … Huston is so bad, he actually makes his half-sister look good chewing scenery every week in "Smash." …

The Washington Post says:

... becomes inexorably dull — a forced exercise in deceptions, killings, affairs and under-the-table deals. … suffers from endless predictability and a lack of creative storytelling. It’s too easy to get into — and get out of. …

The Boston Herald says:

... the show is gorgeous, but it needs to reveal some substance. …

USA Today says:

... leaden dialogue … paint-by-numbers plot. ... Through it all, there isn't a plot twist you won't see coming, or a character you ever want to see again …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

… Early on, there’s enough intrigue and style in Magic City to keep the viewer wanting more, but it’s not as fully realized from the get-go as shows like Mad Men, Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. …

Variety says:

… checking into the Miramar Plaza is an offer you can afford to refuse.

10 p.m. Friday. Starz.

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Readers Talkback
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  • April 6, 2012, 2:49 p.m. CST

    I liked his GREAT EXPECTATIONS

    by Himbo

    and I like JDMorgan... but this looked like a wannabe. Even on mute.. ESPECIALLY on mute.

  • April 6, 2012, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Huston

    by GlyphGuy

    There is no escape. No hope. Only hunger and pain.

  • April 6, 2012, 3:21 p.m. CST

    Scrooged is only 17% on RT?

    by OutsideChance

    That's surprising. I obviously wouldnt rank it up there with 'Its a Wonderful Life,' but its always watchable as far as Christmas comedies go. If nothing else it's got Bill Murray and that great opening with Lee Majors.

  • April 6, 2012, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Jeffrey Dean Morgan has a great career ahead of him as Iron Man

    by OutsideChance

    ...just as soon as Marvel starts nickel and diming RDJr like they do everyone else.

  • April 6, 2012, 3:26 p.m. CST

    I gave the pilot a shot

    by torontoxic

    it sucked. The whole thing was painfully stupid. For some reason it's very important that the main characters are jewish. No plot reasoning but they hammer it home complete with kosher salt in the kitchen. The sons are boring and wooden. the main character basically whines the whole time and the badass isn't scary at all. It plays more like a day time soap opera. <P> Starz had two good seasons of Spartacus. The latest one had some highlights by overall it was pretty bad compared to the other two. <P> Boss sucked. Magic City sucks. Spartacus is getting worse. Somebody tell Starz to change their approach because what they're doing is not working out at all.

  • April 6, 2012, 3:38 p.m. CST

    @supermarch

    by Red_Right_Return

    I haven't seen Magic City, but your opinion on Season 3 of Spartacus is crap. I thought S3 rocked. Love the show and hope it continues in the same vein next season.

  • April 6, 2012, 3:51 p.m. CST

    red_right_return - it's an opinion, dick. Deal.

    by Rex Carsalot

  • April 6, 2012, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Yeah season 3 of Spartacus was awesome

    by theGoldbergV

    Took a while to get going but everything after the arena got destroyed was fantastic. Never watched any other Starz series other than Party Down, but this Magic City does indeed look gash

  • April 6, 2012, 3:58 p.m. CST

    @rex carsalot

    by Red_Right_Return

    Its an opinion, DICK, deal. See what I did there? GFY.

  • April 6, 2012, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Scrooged

    by shodan6672

    Scrooged has a 67% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, not 17%. Kind of a big difference, no?

  • April 6, 2012, 4:49 p.m. CST

    Magic City!!

    by thelordofhell

    Damn, I was hoping for a series based on Cast A Deadly Spell :-(

  • April 6, 2012, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Jessica Moreass looks good.

    by kabong

    You don't see that on made-for-women network TV. <p> Where's the ass on "Grey's Anatomy"?

  • Please? The early 70's were awesome kinda and have never been done outside of old Beastie Boys videos. Someone reboot Mannix as a period drama.

  • April 6, 2012, 6:15 p.m. CST

    The hotel owner in the Godfather!?!

    by Red Ned Lynch

    He's Moe Greene! He made his bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!

  • April 6, 2012, 6:17 p.m. CST

    I really like Jeffrey Dean Morgan...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...but I've given this show two episodes and I'm not giving it more until I hear a lot of someones say it's greatly improved.

  • April 6, 2012, 6:43 p.m. CST

    That's too bad.....

    by archer1949

    I'm a sucker for all the 40's and 50's Ellroy-esque crime story stuff.

  • April 6, 2012, 6:55 p.m. CST

    I am going to give it a few more episodes

    by angry kitty

    I want to give it a fair chance before writing it off. Some shows just need to find their momentum. I am willing to give it a shot;nice to see Jeff Dean Morgan and Danny Houston in a series.

  • April 6, 2012, 7:05 p.m. CST

    @red_right_return

    by torontoxic

    Season 3 of Spartacus had moments where it was very good but those didn't make up for the overall problems. It suddenly took this weird turn where empowering women and making the Romans look stupid became the agenda. I think you're opinion is just a little naive and lacks thought on the subject. Season 3 was nowhere near as good as 1 or 2. That little, annoying as shit chick killing Asher was a joke. Spartacus, Crixus (who was basically a set piece with tears this season), and Gannicus pretending to be Romans to test the defences was out right stupid. <P> It wasn't horrible but it was definitely not nearly as good a show this past season. Plus ffs sake someone get that Liam guy into a gym. He doesn't look strong enough to bring a fork to his own mouth let alone be Spartacus. <P> Watch them in a row and maybe you'll get it.

  • April 6, 2012, 7:27 p.m. CST

    @supermarch

    by 3lemenope

    The Romans weren't so much stupid as self-absorbed and entirely inured to the actual danger that Spartacus' rebellion represented...exactly as was reported as occurred in the Third Servile War. They treated it as any other rebellion; a military campaign that gave opportunities for social jockeying and advancement. Glaber and his wife and that blond fellow and that jackass ravenhair and his overeager sister were all acting just as Romans generally did. It was a bummer that Ashur died, being one of the most interesting characters, but let's face it: he was a rapist scumbag, and his comeuppance couldn't have come in a more narratively satisfying form. I'll grant you that after Whitfield's great turn as Spartacus, that Liam fellow took some getting used to.

  • April 6, 2012, 8:49 p.m. CST

    supermarch

    by Ribbons

    Because the period this show takes place in is when Miami went from predominantly Jewish to predominantly Cuban. There's no Hollywood conspiracy at work here, they're just trying to lay the tracks for social upheaval down the road (assuming they even make it that far). In any case, it looks like a lame attempt to duplicate the success of other antihero/period piece series, without any understanding of what makes the successful shows in those genres interesting.

  • April 6, 2012, 9:39 p.m. CST

    The Frog and the Scorpion

    by Gislef_crow

    Just once I'd like to hear someone say, "You ever hear the story of the Frog and the Scorpion?" and the other person say, "Yes, don't waste two minutes telling me about it.

  • April 6, 2012, 10:17 p.m. CST

    is Mitch Glazer related to Brian Glazer?

    by Titus05

  • April 6, 2012, 10:19 p.m. CST

    problem with Starz is that they are trying to hard to be HBO...

    by Titus05

    but all their shows look so low budget

  • April 6, 2012, 11:43 p.m. CST

    "THE HOTEL OWNER IN THE GODFATHER"- WTH

    by tailhook

    HE WAS MOE GREENE. God damn kids these days. Seriously, you didn't know he was Moe Greene? Even IMDB got it right. You couldn't have said 'Moe Greene in the Godfather' so everybody even remotely familiar with the movie would have understood you? I was like.. hotel owner? Wth.. wasn't that Moe Greene? And it was like.. YUP. How about we say Harrison Ford "the archaeologist in Raiders of the Lost Ark". Keanu Reeves! "the software programmer in The Matrix"

  • April 7, 2012, 1:16 a.m. CST

    aw

    by jsfithaca

    i like jdm. shame

  • April 7, 2012, 3:35 a.m. CST

    Spartacus season 3 was all kinds of awesome.

    by Volllllume3

    Its' very hard to take someone serious who claims otherwise.

  • April 7, 2012, 5:42 a.m. CST

    Why can't Hollywood connect the right actor with the right role?

    by chaburchak

    Jeffrey Dean Morgan would've made a perfect Jim Rockford in that reboot of THE ROCKFORD FILES they tried a few seasons back. I'm not a fan of retooling old classics but at least that one would've made sense...

  • April 7, 2012, 8:38 a.m. CST

    Boss is a good show.

    by grendel69

    Not our fault you dont have the braincells to follow along. Spartacus S3 did pretty good with a very difficult task. Andy is sorely missed. I recorded this but havent watched it, but people really dont seem to like it. I like Morgan, Huston and Olga, so Ill give it a few episodes before I write it off. Plenty of shows that turned out to be good and even great in a couple instances had rough starts.

  • April 7, 2012, 10:35 a.m. CST

    hercules

    by johnnyfavourite

    will someone there at aicn please get rid of the predicibly conserative republican stooge that is hercules...his opinions, comments and tastes are really bringing any credibility ye have, way down..

  • April 7, 2012, 10:36 a.m. CST

    by johnnyfavourite

    predictably, i mean

  • April 7, 2012, 1:55 p.m. CST

    I liked the pilot

    by Tarch

    I'm agreeing with the Boston Herald - it's got a great vibe, now give me a real story.

  • Way to go Supermarch. Didn't think you could sound any more like a dick after your first comment here but, hey, you went and proved me wrong. Go you!

  • April 7, 2012, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Saw the first 3 episodes...

    by film11

    ...and by the end of episode 3, I was looking forward to more. Not to mention the cars! The clothes! The women! And unlike others here, I think Huston is a great villain here...he can petrify with a single look. He'd scare the crap outta me, anyway.

  • The other responses were at least readable. <P> The Romans may have underestimated Spartacus but I really doubt they were so villainous and self absorbed as the third season hammered on. You'd think every Roman soldier was a functional retard based on how they were shown. <P> Per Magic City accurately depicting a shift from Jewish predominance to Cuban: I found more info on the number of veterans that settled there than much about Jewish people being the majority in the 1950's. So I can't confirm or deny it but I stand by the fact that it's incidental to the plot(s) but was a point made repeatedly for no reason at all.

  • I thought Journeyman did the 70s quite well. I'd prove it to you if NBC would get its head out if its ass and release the show on DVD.

  • April 7, 2012, 11 p.m. CST

    @supermarch

    by 3lemenope

    In reality the Romans acted quite a bit stupider than was portrayed in the third season. Instead of army regulars, Glaber in real life led a small force of hastily gathered militia. If anything, Rome took the Capuan uprising even less seriously than is portrayed in the series, and didn't really start to take it seriously until the containment at Vesuvius failed spectacularly. Powerful empires sometimes act in monumentally stupid and myopic ways, but then keep in mind that Rome's only prior experience with major slave rebellions were in Sicily and came on the heels of much more brutal wars against the Carthaginians. Compared to the Punic Wars, those slave rebellions were no threat to Rome itself, and were generally treated with contempt rather than seriousness. Their more general villainy is hammed up slightly for TV, but not much. Roman moral standards regarding the value of life, sexual propriety, slavery, and many other things would seem shockingly alien to us. They didn't have any trouble with torture, and few if any scruples when it came to interacting with non-citizens. Rome, the TV show, is probably a bit closer to the reality than Spartacus, but on this ground there really isn't a whole lot of space between them.

  • April 8, 2012, 5:57 a.m. CST

    Lookalikes

    by rakesh patel

    http://goo.gl/f0ttI - Jeffrey Dean Morgan http://goo.gl/fvRJ9 - Javier Bardem

  • April 9, 2012, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Scrooged at RT = 67%, not 17%

    by Phildogger

    Biiiiig Difference.

  • April 9, 2012, 1:43 p.m. CST

    I had high hopes for Magic City,,,,,,

    by Keith Small

    ...but I was disappointed by the first 2 episodes. I'll give it a couple more looks to see if it improves. And count me in on the plus side of the Spartacus debate. Although I'll agree that the 3rd season didn't quite measure up to the previous seasons (I thought Crixus was underused and I like the old Naevia better), it was still a hell of a show.

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