Sunday, August 13, 2006

Brotherhood is Showtime's answer to The Sopranos. It's The Sopranos without the humor, without those moments of humanity where you think, well, maybe Tony's not that bad, really.

There are two Caffee brothers, Tommy (Jason Clarke) and Michael (Jason Isaacs). Tommy is a Rhode Island state legislator, a prestigious, but low-paying, gig. He's seemingly got the weight of Rhode Island (fortunately, a small state) on his shoulders, and looks like a man in constant need of a pack of Tums. Hopefully, he has discovered Prilosec. Michael is a hoodlum, who had disappeared for seven years (most thought he was dead), and has returned, much to his brother's chagrin, determined to reestablish himself as a bigshot gangster. He shouldn't have much of a problem, as he's a serious psychopath, with a minor in unmitigated violence. He makes Paulie Walnuts look like Conan O'Brien.

Tommy is married to Eileen (Annabeth Gish), who suffers from a profound loneliness that drives her to at least two affairs: with a mailman, as well as with that smokey-voiced, skunky-smelling seductress, Mary Jane. Michael has a girlfriend of his own, and I kind of doubt that she's going to end up being a good influence on him.

Just when I thought this show couldn't get any better, the last episode involves softball, as Michael puts together a team to make a run at the Division A - Hoodlum League. Their first game lasted a pitch or so before they started brawling.

In addition to great acting, and original writing, Brotherhood, like a lot of these cable series, has some great music, like Heroin, by The Velvet Underground. I catch up with this on Showtime On-Demand. On August 19, Showtime's running all the episodes, marathon-style.

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