I saw episode one by accident while channel surfing Sunday night. After about 5 minutes, I was hooked. I can still say the same after episode three last night.
The show has the feel and look of a first-class feature film. In fact, this type of cable series should make feature film producers start looking over their shoulders. With shows like this and others like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, HBO and Showtime have given the industry something to be very worried about - and deservedly so. I go to the movies about once a week and all I can say is Hollywood better get its act together.
The cast is superb, notably Michael Ealy and Oded Fehr. Ealy portrays his character, an undercover FBI agent, with just the right amount of passion, conflict, and boiling rage. Fehr is evil incarnate, although you can say that Dylan's line, "Sympathy for the Devil" is right on the nose here more on that in a second. What a coup (and how ironic) to have an Israeli actor play an Arab terrorist. In an interview, this gifted actor expressed his revulsion and loathing for what "Farik", his character, represents. It made the part the most challenging thing he's done so far. Knowing that, as you watch him execute his nefarious plans, makes him even more compelling. Casting non-Arabs to play the other terrorists was a stroke of genius on the part of the creators of the show, Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff. These people are like us and live among us
a disturbing thought and a very real possibility that cranks the fear factor way up.
The interesting thing about the way that these Islamic extremists are presented to us is that you can't help feeling sympathy for them. They are likable and, in their own warped way, virtuous. That's another aspect of the show that pulls at the heart-strings and adds to the biting conflict that is the mark of a brilliant drama.
You can bet that I'll be watching the rest of the series being broadcast back to back (there is a God!) for the next two weeks. They are replaying most of the episodes throughout this week, so if you missed the first ones, you'll have the opportunity to catch up. I suggest you start with Ep. 1 if you can although each one stands very well on its own.
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