Boss is the evil West Wing: a political drama about a powerful figure concealing a degenerative illness, but one in which no-one is likeable or trying to do the right thing. It’s still about smart people working hard to do their job well, they’re just terrible, terrible people with horrible, horrible jobs.
I love it. Usually not liking anyone is a problem for me, but here they’re all such Machiavellian jerks that it’s great fun to watch them try to outscrew each other.
Kelsey Grammer plays the mayor, the main character, which is the main reason I checked it out. A quick calculation reveals I have watched at least 80 hours of Frasier. Impressively, given that, I saw him as that character for about 3 seconds – after that, he is unmistakably the seething, deranged, furious Tom Kane.
As it goes on, Boss is getting brutal to the point of brilliant absurdity. Kane seems hopelessly screwed at every turn, but there’s always a new depth to sink to, one more sacred thing to sacrifice.
The director thinks he’s being a bit more artful than he really is, and we see rather more of the sex than we strictly need to, but neither gets to be a huge problem. It’s clever, surprising and horrible.