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What Make The Critics
Of Showtime’s New Liev
Schreiber/Jon Voight
Hourlong RAY DONOVAN??

I am – Hercules!!

“Ray Donovan” comes to us from writer-producer Ann Biderman, who created “Southland” and wrote big-screen projects “Copycat” (1995), “Primal Fear” (1996), “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” (1997) and “Public Enemies” (2009). Showtime describes the premise:

“Set in the sprawling mecca of the rich and famous, RAY DONOVAN is the man called in to make the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls’ most complicated and combustible situations go away. This powerful drama unfolds when his father, Mickey Donovan, played by Oscar® winner Jon Voight, is unexpectedly released from prison, setting off a chain of events that shakes the Donovan family to its core.”

Its supporting cast that includes Katerine Moening, Kristin Minter, Frank Whaley, Eddie Marsan, Paula Malcomson, Dash Mihok, Josh Pais, Brooke Smith, Denise Crosby and Elliott Gould.

One can watch its whole pilot here:

The critics are all over the place:

Hitfix says:

... as a whole, "Ray Donovan" feels empty, like an attempt to reverse-engineer a new classic without actually having a story worth telling. …

HuffPost TV says:

... I wish I could say that "Ray Donovan" is just a garden-variety disappointment, but the new Showtime drama is more than just an average letdown. …

Time says:

... after five episodes, Ray Donovan is still some good performances in search of a show. It feels made up of pieces of other antihero dramas–a little Sopranos here, a little Brotherhood there, even a little Entourage around the edges. Ray is so far too much a cipher to be an engaging focal character, and his flaws and failings are those of so many middle-aged cable ass-kickers in the past decade. Meanwhile, the culture-clash angle, between phony L.A. and real-as-a-brick South Boston, just makes both elements feel more caricatured. …

The New York Times says:

... the first few episodes of “Ray Donovan” are disappointing — grandiose, predictable and painfully slow. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

... once it finds its rhythm, it works very well — something like "The Sweet Smell of Success" crossed with "The Long Goodbye," in terms of "dirty town" pictures, but with more family feeling. A few caricatures stick out among the characters, but the subtler conceptions, on the page and in performance, win out. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... You won't be able to stop watching. …

The Washington Post says:

... Though I do not begrudge “Ray Donovan” its sense of momentum or tension, I was immediately struck by a desire to simply see more of Ray doing his job for a few episodes rather than seeing him deal with his brothers’ various problems. “Ray Donovan” offers us the same tantalizing Hollywood milieu of “Entourage,” minus the sunny bromanticism, a setting which is in and of itself a cliche. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

… Ray's work life offers the show's most entertaining moments ... The dreary, often predictable family story begins to suffocate the show as it gains ground over the first four episodes …

The Boston Globe says:

... this fantastic new Showtime drama is that wonder of TV wonders, a low concept series that can’t be easily reduced to a quick sentence. “Ray Donovan” is about many, many rich things … It’s the most vital new series of the year so far.

TV Guide says:

... the summer's best and boldest new show …

USA Today says:

... in Ray and Mickey, producer Ann Biderman has created two of TV's most interesting characters and one of its most absorbing dynamics. …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

... There is so much to love about Ray Donovan, but one of the best elements is that 62-year-old executive producer, creator and writer Ann Biderman (Southland, Public Enemies, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Primal Fear) has absolutely obliterated the ridiculous industry standard that you have to be some young talented thing to make an impact. She’s created the most testosterone-fueled, rough and intelligent drama in ages, and it’s a credit to Showtime’s honcho David Nevins (and other executive producers Mark Gordon and Bryan Zuriff) that he bought into her vision and believed in her ability. …

Variety says:

... Buoyed by a riveting supporting performance from Jon Voight, it’s a dense, highly organic world — at its best, playing like a present-day “Chinatown.” More often, it’s eminently entertaining, if not initially quite worthy of a spot alongside TV’s velvet-roped A-list.…

10 p.m. Sunday. Showtime.

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