I loved the 2007 miniseries, and the 2008 series was a big letdown to me, especially in its omissions. I missed Jorge and Cricket from the first show, and I certainly missed Joe Mantegna.
But a couple of substitutions were just as irritating. Hart Bochner's character was far less intriguing a love interest than Stephen Moyer, and even if they couldn't (or didn't choose to) hire Moyer for the series, I resented the way they had Messing denigrate him in that "what was I thinking?" way. It seemed to negate the pleasure I got from the first miniseries, and to negate the time I spent on it.
And if they couldn't (or wouldn't) hire the plain Peter Jacobson again to play Kenny (Jacobson was the perfect grasping studio type, using power as a substitute for sex appeal) I wish they hadn't been so silly and hired the very attractive David Alan Basche to replace him. It was very interesting that Molly had been married to a physically imperfect man. It gave her depth, and Jacobson did, after all, exude intelligence.
Plus, Kenny wasn't a complete rat all the time. And even when he was ... even as he was substituting younger arm candy for Molly ... he was always aware of Molly's smarts. Jacobson also had a great rapport on screen with Jorge, played by the handsome Aden Young.
Jacobson had an interesting way of playing Kenny's sense of entitlement: the way he always turned to Molly when he needed something done right, as if she'd always be at his disposal. You got glimpses of what a great beauty-and-the-beast team they had once been. When she helped him, as she always did, it seemed to be from sheer habit and kindness.
But the only reason to have Basche in his place seemed to be the pandering notion that you can never have too much sex appeal on a show. I didn't want the possibility of a reconciliation hanging in the air, and Messing never did play off Basche as well as she played off Jacobson. I didn't like feeling that Molly might still be nursing romantic feelings for her ex- husband. You never felt that with Jacobson.
There was something irritating, too, about the way they had made Kenny fail at the studio. The whole "starter wife" premise was that Molly had nursed this man to success, and now wasn't reaping the fruits of it. I didn't understand the point of taking the success away, unless it was so that they wouldn't have to spend money on a great house for Kenny, or studio scenes, or more glittering parties or premieres.
And that's another thing: the production values on the series never seemed quite as good as on the miniseries either. Messing was still delightful, as were Judy Davis and Chris Diamantopoulos, but I was extremely disappointed. I saw the miniseries after purchasing it on Itunes, and bought the series the same way. If I'd been catching it when it was first broadcast, I might not even have watched it till the end.