‘The Affair’ heats up, ‘GLOW’ fades and an Israeli ‘Spy’ is coming

This is a show that has had its ups and downs but has never really matched the sexy fun of its first season when the affair mentioned in the title began.

August 21, 2019 16:08
3 minute read.
‘The Affair’ heats up, ‘GLOW’ fades and an Israeli ‘Spy’ is coming

SASHA BARAON COHEN as Eli Cohen in ‘The Spy’. (photo credit: NETFLIX)

The latest Israel-themed Netflix production will be the miniseries The Spy. The story of Israeli agent Eli Cohen who went undercover in Syria in the 1960s will premiere on September 6.

It was created by Gideon Raff, the Israeli showrunner behind Prisoners of War, Homeland, and most recently The Red Sea Diving Resort.

Sacha Baron Cohen, who has been appearing in musical comedies and other dramas lately, will play the lead. It’s one of those international productions where everyone speaks English while Noah Emmerich, who was the all-American FBI agent Stan in The Americans, plays a character named Dan Peleg, Cohen’s handler. It’s quite a story, so there seems to be a chance that it will transcend the inauthenticity of being presented in English.

The fifth and final season of The Affair is coming up, starting on Wednesdays on August 28 at 10 p.m. on HOT HBO and on HOT VOD.

This is a show that has had its ups and downs but has never really matched the sexy fun of its first season when the affair mentioned in the title began. After the death of a major character toward the end of the fourth season, it was clear that season 5 was going to look very different.

Without revealing any spoilers, the new season will take place in two timelines. One is the present, in which Noah (Dominic West) struggles to rebuild his life and find redemption, which is what he’s been doing for a couple of seasons now. The book he based on his relationship with Alison (Ruth Wilson) is being turned into a movie, and his ex-wife, Helen (Maura Tierney) starts to fall for the actor (Claes Bang, who was in The Square) playing the lead. In a future timeline, Joanie, the daughter of Cole (Joshua Jackson) and Alison, is all grown up and played by Anna Paquin, who starred in True Blood. She comes to Montauk, Long Island, New York, searching for secrets about her parents, and obviously, she will find many.

The third season of the unexpectedly fun Netflix series GLOW is now available. It started out being about a wrestling cable TV show for women – the title stands for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling – in 1980s Los Angeles.

But now that it has started going in so many different directions, the characters have gotten a little bit lost. It still features the women (and a few men) we’ve gotten to know and love, notably Ruth (Alison Brie, who was Pete’s wife on Mad Men), the dedicated and serious actress who has to learn to cut loose; Debbie (Betty Gilpin), her frenemy, who has been described as “Grace Kelly on steroids”; and Sam (Marc Maron), the cult horror film director who is helming the show. It’s a bit like Get Shorty meets Sex and the City, and looks at the theme of women’s empowerment in an extremely entertaining way, with no preachiness at all.

But now the show has moved from the world of seedy cable TV to a seedy floor show in Las Vegas, and Vegas is too much of a joke in itself for the writers to have much fun ridiculing it. The storylines don’t seem to flow as naturally from the characters as they did in the previous two seasons and some of it feels almost clichéd, particularly the will-they or won’t-they storyline featuring Sam and Ruth.

Geena Davis (Thelma and Louise, who also played what may have been the first female president on television in the short-lived series) looks great but doesn’t add much as a showgirl-turned-casino-owner.

It’s still often clever and fun, and features an episode when party girl Melrose (aka Melanie Rosen, played by Jackie Tohn) leads the GLOW ladies in a Passover Seder during a hike in the desert and gets Cambodian-born Jenny (Ellen Wong) to open up about her family’s ordeal at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. In addition to this Jewish moment, the name of legendary Israeli producer, Menahem Golan, gets dropped, as he conveniently hires Ruth’s boyfriend, Russell (Victor Quinaz) to be a camera operator on one of his international productions.

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