I loved Boss, both seasons were really great. It's the first political drama that I could not get enough of. Every little detail of the story actually meant something, there was a reason behind every action, justified by characters' psychology or the situation. Yes, many of dialogues were not without pathos, why wouldn't they be, the show is roughly based on Shakespeare's King Lear. Yet numerous lines are just a bouquet of refined hints and undertones.
Americans are complaining that British series and actors are starting to dominate the drama niche (well, Jimmy Kimmel sort of did at the EMMYs), yet US TV series amazing, like Boss, are six feet under a pile of appalling shows like, let's say, Homeland, where nobody knows what they're doing, especially the writers; or CSIs (either one) with acting so poor and dialogues so pathetic, they make my eyes and ears bleed.
Boss had been renewed for the second season before the pilot aired, Iäm not sure it would have happened if Starz waited a little, because the first season's ratings were very modest, and those for season 2 were, the least to say, heartbreaking. The future of this series seems to be really dark, and that's a shame.
But I don't blame the viewers, which, I'm sure Starz and the creators of the show do, no, I blame the creators. I have absolutely no idea what kind of target audience they had in mind when writing it, filming and editing.
I know that cable channels like Starz can afford what major network channels like ABC and Fox can't (I'm talking about sex and violence here) and they're using that excessively, desperately trying to compete. What they don't seem to understand is that by doing so, they're placing themselves to the whole different and much tougher sort of competition, against, you know, regular porn, with all the plumbers and women in their thirties wearing school uniform.
Yes, I am complaining about all the sex scenes and how explicit they were in Boss. OK, women en masse are not that really into politics, I get it. But what about people who love all the mindless fucking on TV, are they the ones to appreciate the complicated characters, elegantly introduced events and reasoning (meaning, the characters don't normally say out loud "I did this because that"), dramatic dialogues and great acting? Are they really?
I'm leaving this question to creators. All in all, I think that to gain the audience, they should have been either more brutal (murders did not seem all that graphic) to attract more freaks, or more decent, not to scare fancy drama lovers.
Anyway, despite the fact that I kept rolling my eyes on all these less than decent scenes, I loved the series.
For me it was a story about how a man has built a system that now controls him, a machine that won't ever let him be human again, an environment, where nobody could be trusted but himself. This trust in self, though, is also put to test by his sickness. The real mortality he replaces with more familiar and understandable concept of political death, a type of death he can actually escape. That's why the stakes are so high, that's why he sacrifices so much to keep his kingdom; he seeks comfort in his power, because there's nothing in his other life that could possibly make him feel better in these tragic circumstances.
There is no hidden partisan message you often find in other political dramas and even soaps like Nashville, there is no single political figure that has principles or ideals, except for, maybe Mona, but she's just too young. All their actions are driven by desire of power, or money that essentially lead to power. Boss is a technical review of political machine, a reminder to the voters that the warm looks from billboard posters, touching messages and smiles are no more than the result of calculation carried out behind the doors of political offices.