Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Binge-Worthy Show - Scandal

There are some shows you settle in to binge-watch but need breaks from occasionally because of story and episode overload.  Then there are shows where you curse there not being enough hours in the day (sleep or work comes into play) and have to pause the marathon despite being desperate for the next episode.

ABC's Scandal is so very much the latter. 

I had wanted to catch up on this series from Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes because I'd heard it was great.  I'm a big GA fan, so it's not that wasn't interested when it first debuted ... it just didn't fit into my viewing schedule.  When I made a plan for my binge, I had a much shorter time period to fit in the 29 episodes, as season one (7 episodes) is only available on Netflix streaming and season two (22 episodes) on Hulu Plus.  I have been very dissatisfied with Hulu Plus and had cancelled my subscription, which means I had till next Sunday to get through the eps.  So I buckled it ... and got immediately hooked.

Scandal has one of the best pilots I've seen in a while.  Fast-paced, suck-you-in plot lines, great cast, edge-of-your-seat tension and story.  I got all I needed from that first 43 minutes to know this was a show to love and anticipate.

I so want to go into all that happens throughout the first two seasons but I won't because I want you to enjoy it all for yourselves.  That's the fun ... all those "holy s**t!", "WTF??", "They did NOT just ..." moments that make for great television.  I would never take that from you, and you have a whole summer to experience it for yourselves.  But I will give you something:


Everyone knows Washington D.C. is a town full of dirty little secrets, and every good, juicy scandal needs a fixer ... someone to have your back, get you out of a big, public mess, sideline the press, essentially save your ass.  The best of the best is Olivia Pope (played by the terrific Kerry Washington, Django Unchained, Boston Legal), former White House communications director who has dedicated her life to protecting and defending the public images of the nation's elite and keeping those secrets under wraps. Revered and feared at the same time, she now runs her own prominent crisis management firm featuring a loyal, savvy but ultimately dysfunctional staff with their own individual specialties - and damaged pasts.


Self-proclaimed "gladiators in suits," they would follow Olivia anywhere -she saved each of them in some way at one point - and do whatever it takes to secure their clients' bacons.  Harrison Wright (Columbus Short, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) is a slick litigator; Huck (Guillermo Diaz, Weeds, No Ordinary Family), is a former soldier-turned-government assassin and a brilliant hacker; investigator Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield, NCIS), a red-haired shark with real bite; and Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes, Easy Money), the office new hire initiated in a trial by fire on her very first day on the job.

 Season one featured Henry Ian Cusick (Lost) as Stephen Finch, but his character did not return for season two.

Harrison has his own way of describing their firm:

"We do our jobs right, we never need to go to court.  The reason we're not a law firm is that we don't need to play by the rules of the law.  We're fixers, crisis managers.  We make the problems of our clients, big or small, go away.  It's not about solving a crime, it's not about justice.  It's about our clients."


Olivia's other life - which she is still very-much attached to -sometimes by choice, sometimes not - consists of her former boss, President Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant (Tony Goldwyn, Ghost, Law & Order: Criminal Intent), First Lady Millicent "Mellie" Grant (Bellamy Young, Criminal Minds, Dirty Sexy Money), Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry, Grey's Anatomy) and Assistant State Attorney David Rosen (Joshua Malina, Leap Year, In Plain Sight).  Olivia frequently needs the help and resources of her powerful former collegues - and they hers - but complications often arise, and Olivia has to rely on and utilize her damage control skills on her own behalf more than she likes.


Rhimes really knows how to assemble casts that are diverse - all races are on the same equal playing field and never is made an issue - and I love crews like this: teams where each player brings their own talents and skills to the table to work together and kick ass (think Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Leverage).  Scandal is smart, twisty, quick, intricate and keeps you engaged scene-to-scene, episode to episode.  I couldn't wait to see what came next and was treadted on more than one occasion to surprises and shocks I never saw coming.  Very exciting TV!

Scandal's third season premieres this fall and will no doubt pick up right where season two left off (at least, I hope it will) - with one hell of a cliffhanger.  It will be going up against CBS' Elementary and NBC's Hannibal, but this show has nothing to worry about.  I have the problem, being that I watch all three.  But I think one of the other two is going to have to be watched online at a later time, cause I'm seriously gonna need to see every ep as it happens!

So hunker down and binge-watch Scandal on Netflix and Hulu Plus now!  And catch it on ABC Thursdays at 10 p.m. this fall.

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