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Saturday, November 22, 2014

'Rake' S1 DVD: Aussie Barrister Courting Disaster

Product Details
BFS Entertainment including the third season of the uber-awesome modern Australian dramedy "Rake" in its October 2014 releases, which include DVD sets of the equally good reviewed "WPC 56" S2 and comparably spectacular "Secret Army" S1, has prompted a series of reviews of "Rake" with these thoughts regarding S1 of these shows. Reviews of S2 and S3 will follow during the next several weeks.

The accolades for S1 include an award from the Australian Writer's Guild.

As an aside, the 2014 mid-season Fox remake of "Rake" with Greg Kinnear falling victim to Tivo overload precludes comparing the top-notch original and the American version.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of a network promo. for "Rake" S1 includes a taste of the raucous nature of this show about a legal professional who lives his life in a less than professional manner.

The titular scoundrel is criminal defense attorney Cleaver Greene, whose highly defective self-control results in regularly engaging in behavior that is as reprehensible as his advocacy on behalf of his clients is usually effective. He further benefits from both having a great deal of charm and having enough sense of self to feel remorse regarding the harm that he inflicts on himself and on those near and dear to him.

The pilot strikes the tough balance between introducing the characters and providing a level of exposition that causes ADD-inflicted viewers to stop watching halfway through. We learn that Greene is involved in a tax dispute, is indebted to the kind of people to whom you do not want to be on the bad side of, has a regular relationship with a prostitute, gets along well with his ex-wife, is subject to manipulation by his 15 year-old son, squats in the offices from which he practices law, and lives above a cafe. Each of these elements (and other sordid aspects of the life of our hero) are factors in each of the eight hour-long S1 episodes.

The bizarre legal case in the pilot has Greene defending a man who admits to eating another human being; the plot elements include proof that the consumed man consented to being killed and subsequently eaten and Australia lacking a law that prohibits cannibalism. Specific sources of dark humor are too tasty to spoil.

Another case with a culinary element involves a celebrity chef who seems as addicted to getting married as Greene is to his personal vices.

Easily the most amusing legal case involves a man and his wife who take the practice of doing "it" doggy style to an incredibly perverse extreme. Suffice it to say that a courtroom analysis on detecting when a Rottweiler is indicating consent regarding a particular activity is hilarious.

Many of Greene's worlds (and vices) collide in the season finale that has him defending someone who fits the textbook definition of frienemy in a bizarre murder case. Like the aforementioned episode, alternative sexual activity is at the center of the case. It offers the terrific bonus of good discussions regarding separating love and sex.

The vicarious thrills associated with watching Greene indulge almost constant whims, highly entertaining courtroom hi-jinks, wonderfully warped defendants, truly unexpected "reveals" during trials, and plain ole silliness and wildness that are crammed in each episode of "Rake" make it a perfect show for anyone with either a good sense of humor or at least an appreciation for the type of developments that are tragic if they happen to you and hilarious when someone is the victim.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Rake" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.