16 Jul 2015

WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: The Good Wife

Back in 2009, amidst the dependably boring CBS lineup, Robert and Michelle King introduced The Good Wife. It was a show so refreshing, so swift, and so well-acted it felt like something CBS accidentally beamed in from another planet, or at least another network.

At the outset, The Good Wife was inspired mostly by Eliot Spitzer’s sex scandal in New York, but also Bill and Hillary Clinton, Dick Morris, John Edwards, and Rod Blagojevich’s fall from the governor’s office in Illinois. But it grew from centering on the stunned wife (Julianna Marguiles) of a disgraced politician (Chris Noth) going back to work in her former profession as a litigator to support her family, into one of the most vital interrogations of modern legal issues in narrative entertainment. Its office politics oscillate between the silly ironies of The Office and the heavyweight battles of Game of Thrones, and it has the deepest reserve of recurring characters of any show not named The Simpsons.

To prove its bona fides as a standout among CBS’ other longer-running series, The Good Wife has been the only drama on the network nominated for Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmys in the past decade. It’s the only series earning CBS any meaningful awards consideration in the current Golden Age Of Television. (The only other CBS series nominated for a meaningful drama Emmy in the past decade: Tyne Daly for Judging Amy, Simon Baker for The Mentalist, and Quentin Tarantino for directing the two-part CSI season finale “Grave Danger.”).

It also bears noting just how fiercely The Good Wife has embraced all manners of technological advancements and the legal discussions surrounding them. Our own Clive Thompson wrote about this two years ago—and it remains true throughout the series. Whether it’s inventing a stand-in company for Google to tackle issues of giant corporations doing business with oppressive foreign governments or mimicking the Edward Snowden case with NSA analysts, The Good Wife has done a better job at quickly incorporating contemporary legal issues into a cast of familiar, intelligent characters than any fictional television program in recent memory. The Good Wife isn’t perfect when it deals with technology or ripped-from-the-headlines issues—we’ll get to a few of them below—but it’s more cogent and well-reasoned than almost any other television series when dealing with hot-button issues, and it jumps into the ring with a cavalcade of compelling characters on either side of these arguments.

Full article here.

12 Jun 2015

‘Doctor Faustus’ and Christopher Marlowe Return to New York

Christopher Marlowe’s plays are so rarely staged at New York’s major theaters that this season is a banner one for that Elizabethan tragedian, whose work influenced Shakespeare but has since been spectacularly overshadowed by that of his contemporary. First came a production of “Tamburlaine the Great,” starring the mighty John Douglas Thompson. Now the Classic Stage Company follows up with a new version of “Doctor Faustus,” adapted by David Brindel and Andrei Belgrader and directed by Mr. Belgrader.
Mr. Belgrader’s production of “The Cherry Orchard” was the finest of the company’s Chekhov cycle. Now he will oversee two intriguing actors in the leading roles of this Marlowe tragedy: Chris Noth, ever to be known (sorry) as Mr. Big of “Sex and the City,” plays the title role, the voracious seeker of knowledge who makes that famously unfortunate pact with the forces of the devil. Mephistopheles, as the devil’s advocate is called here, will be played by Zach Grenier. (Opens Thursday and runs through July 12, 136 East 13th Street, East Village; 866-811-4111, classicstage.org.)


9 Jun 2015

Chris Noth meets The Devil in 'Faustus'

Since 2009, Chris Noth has played politician Peter Florrick on the CBS series The Good Wife, When we met Peter in the first season, he was resigning as state's attorney and entering prison, after a scandal involving corruption and prostitution.
The hubris that got Peter into that mess pales in comparison to Noth's latest character, the title part in Doctor Faustus off-Broadway. And unlike Peter -- who will enter Good Wife's seventh season this fall as a governor, with aspirations to a higher office -- the man who signs his soul away to Satan in Christopher Marlowe's early 17th century work has few prospects for rehabilitation or redemption.
"Everything he wanted, we now do," Noth, 60, says of Faustus. "We soar above the earth, we know no bounds. And yet we're still troubled. We've gotten God-like, and we're still not satisfied. It's almost like Marlowe had an eye on the future."
Chatting in the front row of the Classic Stage Company's intimate venue before a recent performance of the show, which opens June 18, Noth says he was drawn to Faustus in part as an opportunity to work with director Andrei Belgrader, who adapted the play with David Bridel.

Full article here.

Chris Noth talks about “Doctor Faustus”