‘Rec­tify’ back for much-an­tic­i­pated third sea­son

Still no short­age of first-rate tele­vi­sion shows for sum­mer of 2015

Cape Breton Post - - ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT - Ken MacLeod

Greet­ings TV fans! Proper Chan­nels is go­ing on va­ca­tion, but, not to worry — The Sum­mer of Great TV™ is show­ing no signs of let­ting up, so it’s a real treat to be able to de­vote this fi­nal col­umn for July to a closer look at three more pretty de­cent sum­mer shows.

“REC­TIFY” (Sun­dance TV, Thurs­days): Sea­son three of the finest un­der-the-radar drama on tele­vi­sion be­gan July 9, and even with the small sam­ple size of a sin­gle episode to judge the new sea­son on, it’s plain to see that all the things that made “Rec­tify” es­sen­tial view­ing dur­ing its first two sea­sons are still front and cen­tre.

This slow-burn­ing se­ries cre­ated by vet­eran char­ac­ter ac­tor Ray McKin­non tells the un­set­tling story of Daniel Holden (Aden Young), re­leased from death row af­ter nearly two decades when new DNA ev­i­dence casts rea­son­able doubt on his con­vic­tion for the first-de­gree mur­der of a teenaged girl when he was just 18.

But un­like your usual tele­vised crime story, “Rec­tify” is no who­dun­nit that rest­lessly turns over ev­ery rock to find the killer, who, truth be told, may or may not be Daniel him­self.

In­stead, it’s a thought­ful med­i­ta­tion on what it might be like to have your life put on hold and, af­ter hav­ing be­come re­signed to your fate, be sud­denly and un­ex­pect­edly thrown back into the great, wide world once again. From its very first scenes, “Re­c­ify” has al­ways been the story of a man slowly learn­ing how to live again, with all other sub­plots, as com­pelling as they may be, pushed to the mar­gins in ser­vice of the larger story.

McKin­non, a South­erner, has cre­ated a show that is spe­cific to the lan­guid rhythms of small­town South­ern life, and with sup­port­ing char­ac­ters, par­tic­u­larly step­brother Teddy (Clayne Craw­ford) and his wife, Tawney (Ade­laide Cle­mens) so per­fectly in tune with his vi­sion, it’s lit­tle won­der “Rec­tify” is con­sid­ered one of the finest dra­mas on tele­vi­sion.

At the same time, it’s dif­fer­ent enough that it would never at- tract an au­di­ence large enough to sur­vive on net­work tele­vi­sion, so we can thank Sun­dance for giv­ing “Rec­tify” the ex­po­sure it so richly de­serves.

“WAY­WARD PINES” (Fox, Thurs­days): I’m a huge fan of tele­vised science-fic­tion/fan­tasy, but I’ll ad­mit I didn’t hold out much hope for “Way­ward Pines” when I heard Fox was do­ing a se­ries on Blake Crouch’s tril­ogy of the same name, mostly be­cause Fox is usu­ally so bone-headed in the way it han­dles sci-fi — i.e., their mis­er­able treat­ment of such un­der­rated gems as “Ter- mi­na­tor: The Sarah Con­nors Chron­i­cles” and “Doll­house.”

Shows what I know. “Way­ward Pines” is a mind-blow­ing view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that’s right up my science-fic­tional al­ley, and it looks like Fox is keep­ing its interfering paws off the show, at least for the time be­ing.

The se­ries stars Matt Dil­lion as se­cret ser­vice agent Ethan Burke, who trav­els to the sleepy town of Way­ward Pines, Idaho, in search of two fel­low agents who have gone miss­ing. Once Dil­lion’s char­ac­ter ar­rives in town, he finds he can­not leave and his ev­ery move­ment is be­ing watched and recorded.

Things get more and more bizarre with each pass­ing episode — he finds the dead body of one of the agents, but the other has set­tled into a typ­i­cal sub­ur­ban lifestyle and tells Ethan she’s been there for 10 years, even though he last saw her only weeks be­fore — un­til the Big Re­veal in episode 5 that’s a true jaw-drop­per.

I won’t spoil it for any­one want­ing to get caught up with the show, but se­ries cre­ator Chad Hodge has struck gold with “Way­ward Pines, a wildly en­ter­tain­ing yarn that’s helped out con­sid­er­ably by a cast filled with great char­ac­ter ac­tors like Melissa Leo, Juli­ette Lewis, Toby Jones and Carla Gug­ino.

“KEY AND PEELE” (The Com­edy Net­work, Wed­nes­days): I’ve seen some first-rate sketch com­edy this year (“In­side Amy Schumer” and “Sun­ny­side”) but I don’t think I’ve seen a fun­ner bit than last week’s “fem­i­nist pi­rates” sketch from the sea­son 5 pre­miere of “Key and Peele,” where a bunch of fe­ro­cious pi­rates sing blood-cur­dling songs about how much they . . . cher­ish and re­spect women.

The lyrics were hi­lar­i­ous and things were rolling along just fine un­til one scurvy dog sings a re­ally nasty anti-women verse — only to be promptly shot dead by a lady pi­rate lurk­ing un­seen in the back­ground.

I don’t know how I man­aged to miss the first four sea­sons of Kee­gan-Michael Key’s and Jor­dan Peele’s hi­lar­i­ous sketch show, but I’ll be tun­ing in for the rest of sea­son 5, for sure, and prob­a­bly hunt­ing down the pre­vi­ous sea­sons as well.

Ken MacLeod is an editor and re­porter with the Cape Bre­ton Post. He prob­a­bly watches more tele­vi­sion than is good for him, but wel­comes any com­ment from read­ers on what they might have read in this col­umn or what they might like to see in fu­ture col­umns. He can be reached at kmacleod@cb­post.com.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Alden Young has de­liv­ered an Emmy-wor­thy per­for­mance as lead char­ac­ter Daniel Holden in the first two sea­sons of Sun­dance TV’s South­ern Gothic, “Rec­tify,” and it looks like more of the same is in store for fans of the show with the new sea­son. Sea­son 3 pre­miered on Sun­dance last week and has since been picked up by Net­flix Canada.

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