Sure, it’s got the excellently-cast Hank Azaria in it, but I’m not too sure I like Huff all that much. Amidst the well-shot angles and initially-tricky plot topics, it just comes across as trying too hard.
What makes for good television sometimes only requires a good (looking?) cast, good script or good directing. In these, Huff seems to possess elements of all, but they tend to run into disharmony — the script, albeit meaty, tends to drag the pace at times when it pauses for meaningful silences, or presents such a cacophony of issues that the audience is moved beyond frustration to plain boredom, instead. The clever camera angles and film-like feel tends to feel a little too pretentious then, and makes for an even faker-feeling experience.
This is not to say that the cast can’t pull the script off. They can, and they ought to be — We have Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, Blythe Danner and Paget Brewster (whom I noticed and haven’t forgotten since her memorable turn in Friends). Problem is, casting actors who are generally linked to comedy is risky: It could be great, and we end up realising they have more acting depth than originally perceived; or we could have problems breaking out of that mental ditch, having the actors then come across as completely artificial and out of place.
In this case, unfortunately, it’s the latter where the cast seems to be placed. Moreover, it’s fallen straight into No Man’s Land, where television is concerned — I (speaking just for myself, at least) am not excited, nor interested in what’s going to happen the week after. In that, however, I realise I might be alone somewhat, since the series has been slated for a second season.
To that, I say well done, and hope Season Two will be a little more natural on the feel. That’s all it needs to elevate it from its current disarray to a product far greater than the sum of its parts.