I’ve been struggling to find a new TV show to get hooked on, especially now that most of my favourite shows are on hiatus. I came across the ad for Magic City in a Vanity Fair issue, and thought it would be my kind of show- who wouldn’t be attracted to a little Mad Men meets Boardwalk Empire?
Magic City is a show that centers around Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who plays a hotel owner turned half mobster. That’s always the story isn’t it? The good guy trying to make a good man out of himself but the only way to do that is to become what he’s always hated- a slimy,cheating, murdering mobster. Okay so I might’ve jumped the gun on the murder part, Ike is a good Jewish boy through and through. He started from the bottom as a cabana boy, and now he owns his hotel. He’s done pretty well for hismelf and tries to avoid getting involved with the Miami mobsters.
Ben Diamond is his evil maniacal counterpart. After Ike asks Ben to help him keep the hotel, Ben agrees to help him out by buying most of the shares, but reminds Ike that he owns him now. You know how these things work. Ben Diamond is the head mobster in the city, and he’s got his claws right in Ike’s Miramar Playa Hotel. After Ike realizes asking Ben for a favour usually ends up with someone being murdered, Ike starts to find otherways of buying Ben out of his hotel.
The show is charming, it is visually accurate of the times. Magic City takes place in 1950s Miami, with its swanky hotels, beautiful palm trees and boat loads of money floating around. The show starts off right before Castro takes over Cuba, most of the money that was in Miami during that time was affected by the revolution. That’s obviously going to be a huge element of the show as it moves forward.
For me, Jeffrey Dean Morgan will always be the dead guy who was in love with Katherine Heigl’s character in Grey’s Anatomy. It’s hard to see him in this role as hotel owner Ike Evans. He definitely looks the part…but when he opens his mouth it reminds me that Jon Hamm and Don Draper are probably the same person…and that Morgan is just playing the character of Ike Evans. Do you get me? I’m not saying Morgan’s acting is terrible, because it isn’t (most of the time)…I think it’s the way the show is shot that adds this element of pure ‘I’m just putting this cigarette in my mouth because it looks cool not because I actually smoke a pack a day’. The little things that make the show are the elements that prove to the audience these characters are from the 50s…this is something Mad Men blends in seamlessly…but is so obvious in Magic City.
Some scenes are just dragged on with weird close ups…there are scenes that point deliberately to another plot line, and it makes you feel dumb as the audience. It’s like let me figure it out on my own, in Boardwalk Empire they leave everything for the audience to figure out, sometimes you’re left wondering what just happened? But it’s better then being spoon fed the story. Am I right?
Overall, I think it’s a good show, it’s sort of like last year’s flop The Playboy Club with Eddie Cibrian. At least Magic City is on Starz which gives the show a higher budget, and they do well on visual style. If you’re stuck on finding something new to watch, give it a try, like I said if you’re a fan of Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire you’ll probably enjoy the show, just don’t expect more.
The second season of Magic City premieres June 14th on Starz.