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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Twisted And Twisty Political Soap Opera From Starz Has A Stellar Second (And Last) Season
Of all the shows from 2012, the second season of Starz's "Boss" was my choice for the most improved. Don't get me wrong, I loved Season One of this dark and twisted political soap opera! When I reviewed it, I gave it my highest recommendation. But the show probably connected slightly more with my brain than with my heart. In the ten episodes that comprise this set,...
Published 19 months ago by K. Harris

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Yay to Kelsey grammar a fabulous actor
Not as good as the first series but I still found Kelsey grammar and the character completely compelling. Would live a third series.
Published 8 months ago by Vicky noble


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Twisted And Twisty Political Soap Opera From Starz Has A Stellar Second (And Last) Season, February 6, 2013
This review is from: Boss: Season 2 (DVD)
Of all the shows from 2012, the second season of Starz's "Boss" was my choice for the most improved. Don't get me wrong, I loved Season One of this dark and twisted political soap opera! When I reviewed it, I gave it my highest recommendation. But the show probably connected slightly more with my brain than with my heart. In the ten episodes that comprise this set, the writers managed to streamline the most successful elements of the first year and also give some of the underutilized peripheral characters a greater chance to shine. In truth, this may well be one of my absolute favorites from the 2012 line-up.

The show is filled with Machiavellian maneuvering, duplicitous double dealing, and insane political posturing. Chicago city government (as well as a state election) is the arena for the never ending game and all the players are jostling for the best position and the preservation of their own self interest. The heightened drama unfolds with an operatic grandeur with the unscrupulous Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammar) unwilling to relinquish his mayoral seat under any circumstance. Although intensely dramatic, I found myself frequently laughing out loud at the show's ruthlessness! But just as the show is hitting its stride, Starz has decided not to move forward with Season Three. So it's somewhat bittersweet to say goodbye to this gleefully unpleasant adult entertainment.

Grammar is terrific in the role that won him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. His Kane is still struggling to hang on to his devastating health secret and remain in power. As the season starts, he sits squarely on the throne. But his reign starts to be compromised by rivals, foes, personal demons and the truth itself. But never count Kane out, even when all looks lost. The story arc of "Boss" this season is absolutely perfect. It is a riveting series of highs and lows orchestrated with precision by sophisticated screenplays and intricate plotting. Unfolding like a fine novel, the season is peppered with surprising and unsettling moments.

In addition to Grammar, the show continues to boast one of TV's strongest ensemble casts. Connie Nielsen, as Kane's wife, really steps into a power position this year and steals every scene she's in. Jeff Hephner (Zajac), Kathleen Robertson (Kitty), and Troy Garity (Sam Miller) are all back as well. Robertson (who played my favorite character in Season One) is somewhat sidelined this year and I missed her presence in the thick of things. And mark my words, I predict that Hephner will become a star very soon. Perhaps the weakest aspect (to my mind) of the show's myriad plotlines continues to be Kane's daughter (Hannah Ware), but she is integrated far better this year than last. And just because you might think the great Martin Donovan (Ezra Stone) has no place anymore, don't say goodbye prematurely. Kane sure can't!

The dynamic in the mayor's office is decidedly different as well with new cast members taking on pivotal roles at Kane's side. Sanaa Lathan and Jonathan Groff are both well suited to their respective roles. Still, this largely remains Grammar's show. Naked ambition has never looked so cool even as he struggles to maintain the veneer of normality. I bid farewell to "Boss." Although I wished the show would continue, this wraps things up at a nice concluding point and doesn't leave too much twisting in the wind. Do yourself a favor, check this out from the beginning to fully enjoy the show's intricacies! KGHarris, 2/13.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second Season of Boss Hits Too Close to Home for a Season Three, March 7, 2013
This review is from: Boss: Season 2 (DVD)
The two seasons of Boss were so close to political truth they were scary. It would not shock me to find out that Starz was asked not to continue the series by those who have influence over the industry for their own political reasons. I also believe that it may have been too "intellectually" challenging for the viewers of the usual action violence as opposed to the undercover targeted violence of political intrigue and scandal. I will miss this series and have recommended it to many who NEVER saw Boss while it was on the air. Too bad, Kelsey Grammar and cast will be sorely missed. I am glad to own season 1 and now to order season 2.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneven Second Season Still Worth This BOSS's Time, April 22, 2013
This review is from: Boss: Season 2 (DVD)
If you know anything about the politics of the great `Windy City' of Chicago, then you know at the very least how corrupt a local administration can be. Now, don't blame the current politicians necessarily: any review of history would show you that they're just as much pawns to the system created years before, though none are quick to institute anything resembling lasting reform. Take Mayor Tom Kane (played with terrific conviction by Kelsey Grammer) as an example: he's as effective as he is ruthless. In fact, if he didn't have so many secrets to keep him busy, one wonders whether he'd be half as productive in the job as he is!

(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you're the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I'd encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few modest hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)

At the end of Season 1, Kane was forced to make a few fateful decisions - one involving the life and liberty of his closest confidante - and, as Season 2 opens, we see that he's still struggling to maintain a semblance of control over his office as well as his own sanity. The sanity bit is largely driven by the fact that he's suffering from a rare brain disease that's slowly robbing him of all his faculties (as well as his allies). However, Kane employs the same ruthlessness that's made him a winner in Chicago's back alleys in order to bring his condition under control (is a cure truly possible?), only to risk losing it all when he's force to bow to adversaries who attack when he's weakest.

Try as it might, BOSS was quite possibly never `meant to be' a long-running show in its current format. By that I mean that the central conceit of exploring a corrupt administration really kept the audience watching for what scandal was going to rock City Hall next; and, given the fact that so much of Kane's personality was limited to coming apart at the seams, any reviewer - much less a regular viewer - could easily make out some of the stitching of the seams. In one aspect, certain liabilities became predictable, and, as the second (swan) season wore on, methinks its days were as numbered as were Tom Kane's.

To its credit, BOSS brought on a few new characters to round out an already strong cast. Jonathon Groff joined the show as Ian Todd, a new political upstart who wanted in on Kane's reign, but he was relatively quickly relegated to `nefarious-in-waiting' status with a secret that was better served in daytime soaps. Sanaa Lathan came aboard as Mona Fredricks, Kane's new chief of staff and spiritual sexual conquest (no, they never copulated); thankfully, the writers gave her some depth but no enough smarts to see the writing on the wall as she succumbed to one foul play after the next. Returning series one regulars - Jeff Hephner as Ben Zajac; Troy Garity as reporter Sam Miller; and the lovely Kathleen Robertson as Kane's former staffer Kitty O'Neill - were given some quality face time and some surprising new developments; but, all-in-all, they lacked the courage and conviction of their performances from the first go-round, leaving much of the drama to be desired.

BOSS's failure to capture an audience, I'd argue, might be exactly in its initial design. After all, how many times can episodic television recreate the sham of bad politics and expect it to maintain its freshness? This isn't to say that the show was bogged down in a repetitive series of one-notes because that was far from the case. Like Kane's illness, there were only so many ways for the narrative to truly try something new before the inevitable breakdown came - be it emotional or physical or (broader) political. In this format, heads were only gonna roll for so long; had the showrunners and writers had the foresight to look ahead at a more involved second season, perhaps they could've gone off on stronger tangents with more department heads, allowing Kane and his court to play second-fiddle to a growing assortment of even seedier characters. Alas, it wasn't meant to be ...

BOSS: SEASON TWO is produced by Category 5 Entertainment, Grammnet Productions, Lionsgate Television, and Boss Kane Productions. DVD distribution is being handled by Lionsgate. As for the technical specifications, the show looks and sounds marvelous as there's ongoing trickery (with light and sound) involving Kane's questionable mental condition. The set - like its central mayor - is not to be trifled with, as it comes with a featurette titled "The King and his Court" as well as commentaries on the episodes. It's an impressive package for a show that, arguably, deserved a bit more.

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Gone may be much of the high-stakes thuggery that so populated BOSS's first season, but Grammer's performance remains stellar as the Chicago politician who's equally haunted by his `management style' and the mentally-debilitating disease that's slowly turning him into what he fears most: weak. Sadly, his surrounding cast isn't given as much to do this time out, making them seem less like participants in this slow-moving tale than they are victims of a system they've helped foster whether they intended it or not. It's still a bit of a powder keg - though one might argue this season's fuse was a bit protracted - which may've contributed to the STARZ's Network pulling the plug on the current format.

In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Lionsgate provided me with a DVD copy of BOSS: SEASON TWO by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Boss" Returns to a Second (but, Sadly, Last) Season, June 19, 2013
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This review is from: Boss: Season 2 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
"Boss" is loosely based on the great 20th century mayors of Chicago who ran the Windy City with a mixture of power, political acumen, and (dare we say it) an honest wish for the success of the city (that is, as long as all three could be simultaneously achieved). As we watch the story of "Boss" unfold over two seasons, we see a powerful Chicago mayor (Mayor Kane) as he keeps an iron fist over what he has achieved over the years in coming up the ranks of the Chicago system, and doing so while he wrestles with a serious physical illness. Although endowing the character with this illness is the twist in the story that makes it different from the city's actual mayoral history, anyone who grew up in Chicago instantly recognizes the reference (as does any reader of Mike Royko's columns in the Chicago Tribune published over those years), a steely parallel between the role and the reality: it's like dirty street fighting waged in men's dress suits. Anyone raised in the Chicago area, too, recognizes all the details: the types of clothing, the names of towns throughout the state, the hairstyles, even the styles of glasses. Of course, there were no smart phones in those years, but this is a modern telling of a slightly older story. Somebody really got this right in both execution AND detail.

Fans of Boss were greatly excited to see the second season of this critically acclaimed show (Grammer won a Golden Globe for best dramatic performance in Season One), and, for the most part, Season Two does not disappoint. We can easily say again what we said after watching Season One of Boss: this is Grammer's greatest role to date, and demonstrates that his acting skills cover drama, not only comedy (as we saw in 11 years of Frasier). Grammer won four Emmy's for his work in Frasier, and, I believe, was nominated for even more, so it's a high bar to pass, but fans of Boss know that something very impressive is occurring in Grammer's portrayal of this role, something that had not happened even in a show as strong as Frasier. I said it after watching Season One of Boss, and I'll say it here again: Grammer is so good in this role that it is SCARY.

Grammer has said that "Boss" is not really about politics, but rather about the craving for power. Although I can see the argument, it's really difficult to untangle the two in this setting. But that is irrelevant. Boss takes you in and drops you off into this world of political machinations, power politics, dirty campaigning, and even municipal operations (we see almost as much of the city alderman and ward bosses as we do "the Boss" himself) to the point where this could be more Machiavelli than Royko, and anyone who is interested in how political wheelings and dealings occur in such a setting will almost certainly be fascinated. We see how the Boss faces every challenge, defies every obstacle, and navigates through (and between) deceit, both personal and political, to keep himself where he wishes to be, at the reins of this most central of cities.

A small criticism of Season Two of "Boss" has been that some of the story lines become a bit more extravagant and difficult believe when compared to Season One. That may be partially true, but it's not a big concern. It is true that the first season stayed within a somewhat more constrained story line and that the second tends to open up multiple simultaneous lines. Some of Season Two can be a bit difficult to follow because of that very fact, and that's why purchasing this on disk is helpful, because you may very well need to watch the show twice to pick up all the twists and outcomes. But after watching Season One and have started Season Two, you'll likely be hanging on every scene to see how the stories play out. But the overarching story line is a somewhat unusual premise, a city boss with a terrible illness and a city to keep in his pocket while he keeps himself together. And Grammer does it superbly: this is certainly his best work to date, and you find yourself being drawn into the story because of the commanding performance he elicits. The excellent performances of nearly everyone makes it a great ensemble cast.

There is really no reason to watch Season Two before Season One, and, in reality, due to the complexities built into the story, Season Two will not really make a whole lot of sense without having first watched Season One. Both seasons are out on Blu-Ray and DVD, so pick up Season One first, and work through those eight episodes, and then come to Season Two (ten episodes). If you have a Blu-Ray player and a HD television, you'll see Chicago glisten in many of the shots. It's really a unique city that is almost always overshadowed by its noisier competitors on both the east and west coasts (and due to the Midwesterner's subdued demeanor) but nevertheless holds its own special beauty.

Boss. It's engrossing, powerful, challenging. It's unusual. It's educating, in some strange way. It sports a superb cast, excellent production values, and doesn't insult the viewer by dumbing anything down. You'll be angry at the end of Season Two that a third season was not made, but don't let that deter you. There's really no way to rate this show as anything less than five stars.

See also:
Boss: Season One [Blu-ray]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, April 30, 2013
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This review is from: Boss: Season 2 (DVD)
I am sorry that this show was cancelled. It is awesome. I hope that a movie is made. 5 Stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar!!!, June 20, 2013
By 
Scott Solomon (austin, tx United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Boss: Season 2 (DVD)
Never really cared much for Kelsey's acting until I saw this series. He is magnificent. I only pray that they continue this series for a long time. This series is definitley worth the time and money!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up to the extremely high level of the 1st season, but comes close, August 4, 2013
This review is from: Boss: Season 2 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
For the first 5 episodes, season 2 grows convincingly and compellingly ever darker, while staying in the bounds of
reality it had established, But them it pulls back from the precipice of true tragedy (which admittedly would have
left it nowhere to go if there had been a season 3), and becomes a little more melodramatic, a little more improbable,
Still compelling and entertaining, but a bit more pulpy, a bit less Shakespearian, But, none-the-less this was one of
the better series in recent TV that no one seemed to ever watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boss starring Kelsey Grammer, May 4, 2014
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This review is from: Boss: Season 2 (DVD)
I found the DVD to be exactly as I thought; dramatic, mysterious and lethal. Kelsey Grammer is a wonderful actor. I've always respected his work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great show. Needs follow up season three, March 22, 2014
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This review is from: Boss: Season 2 (DVD)
Great show. Unfortunately no follow up with season 3 which leave the last episode open Can't understand why producers stopped there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Urban drama of politics, media, and medicine, June 23, 2013
This review is from: Boss: Season 2 (DVD)
I liked this series an awful lot and am sad to see the second season stand as the final. Here is a political drama that, while taking off from known characters and setting, is not meant to be the Clinton White House as was The West Wing: The Complete Series Collection and Political Animals: The Complete Series. There is lots of Chicago and Illinois politics and grit in there too -- and, sadly for the verisimilitude, corruption.

Boss is also character drama, drugs, and and romance -- night soap stuff, yes. The boss-mayor comes close to JR Ewing in some ways. There is also unreality in there, and some of it is distracting. But hey, it's fiction. Mostly good. I was looking forward to a Season 3. Nope. This is it.
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Boss: Season 2
Boss: Season 2 by Jim McKay (DVD - 2013)
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