Critical Condition: Satisfaction

TV Guide dubbed Satisfaction (TV3, 9.30 Sunday) "provocative and sexily surprising, reminiscent at times of HBO's Hung, only more entertaining than depressing."

TV Guide dubbed Satisfaction (TV3, 9.30 Sunday) “provocative and sexily surprising, reminiscent at times of HBO’s Hung, only more entertaining than depressing” — but not all critics found it as satisfying.

“At its best, it’s a well-acted, surprisingly clear-eyed look at the inconsistent relationship between passion and enduring love, and the innovative ways in which people bend their own rules to accommodate their need for pleasure. At its worse, it’s a morally and narratively contrived excuse to watch a very entitled Everyman navigate a world of rich but unhappy women, including his own wife and daughter.”

“What do you do when you hate your life and your job, and you love your partner and your life together, and yet none of it adds up to anything real? How do you bridge the distance that has over the years added up between the two of you, and you and your self? Wish I could provide more details. But I wouldn’t take that boundless discovery away from you.”

Satisfaction‘s premise is much darker and more complicated than marketing for the series would have viewers believe. The two leads want to actively improve their relationship, and do seem to genuinely love each other. The irony is, of course, that it’s their lying and cheating that is bringing them closer together. The question for Satisfaction, though, is how the show will sustain this over the course of multiple seasons. As a movie or miniseries, Satisfaction would be an intriguing meditation on the nature of marriage at midlife. Instead, the series is open-ended while the story (however interesting for now) seems finite.”

Vulture“This is one of those situations where I don’t want to describe too much of the plot, not because I enjoyed or admired every twist (I found many of them either forced, silly, or needlessly pretentious — sometimes all three), but because they were genuinely surprising, and there aren’t too many TV shows you can say that about. Suffice it to say that the main couple’s vows to remain faithful are revealed as both conditional and fungible (if you pretend to be somebody else, is it really cheating?), and that by the end of the pilot, the show already seems to have written itself into a corner.”

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