If the dramas on ABC were allowed to be rated MA, due to sexual content, and were a little less overdramatic, then The Affair would certainly be on the Sunday night lineup.
Review (with Spoilers)
When it comes to Showtime and other premium channels, pretty much what you pay for is a channel without limits. A station in which sex can be as dirty as the writers want, violence can be as graphic as the network feels comfortable with, and usually, the storylines can explore many topics that cable, and especially network TV, don’t cover. However, often you’ll find the premium stations use their ability to show sex and violence as a means to compensate for the story. Now, whether this applies to The Affair, look below.
Characters & Story
In the show, we are given a split focus which allows for a unique take on how the affair begin. One perspective is Noah’s (Dominic West), and the other Alison (Ruth Wilson). Now, as for whether in the future we may see other characters point of view, I’m unsure. However, going more into the characters’ lives, this is pretty much your run of the mill affair situation.
The reason I say that is, Noah seems pretty much ready to have a mid-life crisis. For while he has a happy marriage with wife Helen (Maura Tierney) and 4 eccentric children, having it all seems far from satisfying. For while personally he may have it all, financially he seemingly doesn’t. Perhaps leading to his need to stray in order to feel like a man? Who knows? As for Alison, her marriage to husband Cole (Joshua Jackson) has a tragedy looming over it. One which has seemingly led to a crappy sex life, suicidal thoughts, and Alison seeming like she is just going through the motions until the grim reaper comes.
But what livens things up is that Alison and Noah both are being questioned for murder, hence explaining why they are talking about their affair, and being that their stories don’t match up, one can only hope some much-needed drama comes out of their testimonies.
Perhaps the sole thing I really liked about this show is the idea of seeing things from Noah and Alison’s unique point of view. Also, with there being the possibility of seeing things from Cole or Helen’s point of view in the future, and maybe even Noah’s kids, there is an angle which does bring some intrigue.
Most of the issues I have with the show I feel are based off my own taste. For example, I find this show to come off like a novel geared toward the lonely, and sexually frustrated. Mostly due to the show seeming geared more toward presenting a person’s fantasy about what having an affair would be like, versus trying to make these characters seem human.
But perhaps one of my real issues with the show deal with how bland everyone seems. Take Noah for example: He is a middle aged, middle class, white guy living in a brownstone, thanks to a rich father-in-law, and Alison is living somewhere not too far from the beach and is a waitress at a place her daddy used to own. Which, as an introduction, came off very boring. Though what makes things worse is when the drama and background of the characters come in, and then everything looks like it is being done solely for dramatic effect. Some examples: Martin (Jake Richard Siciliano), in order to protest going to Helen’s father’s house, decides to fake hanging himself. Then, when it comes to Alison, while in Noah’s point of view we are presented a scene in which it looks like she is being raped by Cole. Truth is, when we see things from her point of view, we learn Cole is just trying to liven up their dull sex life by having sex in public. And, for me, cheap little dramatic tricks like that turn me off more than make me think: “What will they think of next?!”
Refocusing on Noah’s family, though, I foresee them becoming an issue. If just because I don’t think they will have any sort of storylines besides making Noah feel guilty. And with Noah and Alison already boring, lacking an interesting supporting character really made this episode so hard to finish. For while, as noted, there was a murder and that could liven things up, honestly, I didn’t find myself caring about anyone enough to really feel worried, or intrigued, about who did what and who may end up in jail because of it.
Overall: Stick Around
The Affair plays out very much like a seedy romance novel that I’m sure many will love. However, depending on how things play out with the actual affair; whether everyone’s family members get their own compelling storylines not dealing with the affair; as well as if this murder investigation can be made interesting, that will make or break the show. Hence the “Stick Around” label for while it may not sell itself with the pilot alone, it may just well become must see, for those who like brooding romances, with time.