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Slings and Arrows 3 Seasons

Season 3
4.8 out of 5 stars (73) IMDb 9/10

A hit on the Sundance Channel, this quirky Canadian series has been hailed as the next Six Feet Under. Follow the outrageous fortunes of a dysfunctional Shakespearean theatre troupe as it struggles with artistic egos, conspiratorial board members, and a meddlesome ghost. Paul Gross (Due South) and Mark McKinney (Kids in the Hall) lead the cast. "Absolutely addictive"--The New York Times.

Starring:
Paul Gross, Martha Burns

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Episode 6 is currently unavailable

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Season 3

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1. Divided Kingdom

Trying to top the critical and financial success of its last production, the festival plans to stage King Lear, as well as a contemporary new musical. But creative director Geoffrey Tennant finds himself seized by fits of uncontrollable weeping--among other, more intimate maladies.

TV-MA CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: July 24, 2006

Not available

2. Vex Not His Ghost

Charles Kingman--the theatrical lion whom Geoffrey has recruited to play Lear--brings some secret demons of his own to the production and immediately alienates cast and crew alike. Meanwhile, the festival's general manager, Richard Smith-Jones, flexes his creative muscles.

TV-MA CC Runtime: 47 minutes Release date: July 31, 2006

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3. That Way Madness Lies

Charles's erratic behavior becomes more and more disruptive, prompting Geoffrey to consider replacing him. As tensions grow within the cast of Lear, personal and professional jealousies widen the rift between the Shakespearean actors and the eager young players in the musical.

TV-MA CC Runtime: 48 minutes Release date: August 7, 2006

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4. Every Inch a King

The final rehearsal of King Lear turns into a full-on train wreck, as Charles fumbles dozens of lines. With East Hastings a smashing success, Richard--now known as "Big Dick" among his youthful admirers--proposes the heretofore unthinkable: moving the Shakespearean tragedy into the workshop stage and the musical into the main venue.

TV-MA CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: August 14, 2006

Not available

5. All Blessed Secrets

Anna, the festival's efficient assistant manager, steps in to help Geoffrey with Charles. But King Lear loses its Regan as actress Ellen Fanshaw flees the festival for the promise of a big payday on TV.

TV-MA CC Runtime: 46 minutes Release date: August 21, 2006

Not available

6. The Promised End

The forced cancellation of King Lear brings severe consequences to the actors and festival staff, especially Geoffrey and Anna. Refusing to surrender, however, Geoffrey reassembles the cast and crew for a single, illicit, underground performance of the play--for Charles, for themselves, and for their art.

TV-MA CC Runtime: 47 minutes Release date: August 28, 2006

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By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 25, 2007
Format: DVD
Warning: Spoilers!

Season Three was the final act in one of the remarkable small format series in the history of television. The Canadian series is unlike anything that could ever have been produced in the United States. American TV is focused on long-running series that can be taken into syndication. This doesn't mean that some great television doesn't result, but it does mean that smaller series such as SLINGS AND ARROWS, with its three six-episode seasons, has no place. This is a tragedy on a number of levels, not least because some series are simply better served by shorter formats.

Season Three of the series was far and away the most controversial of the three. Many fans of the first two seasons found the collapse of all the successes of the first two seasons to be off putting. They liked the way that HAMLET in Season One was an unexpected success while the daring MACBETH of Season Two became not only a festival success but made its way to Broadway. The final season was, however, a far more subdued and somber affair. Like the first two seasons, it focused on a central play in the Shakespearean corpus: KING LEAR. And like the first two seasons there is a difficulty with the lead actor. In this case, however, the actor is dying.

I personally think the final season is a tremendous artistic success. And much of the reason for that is the amazing performance by William Hutt as Charles Kingman, the dying Lear. Hutt has, very much like Ellen in the series, spent very little time in television and film. He is in fact one of the most distinguished Shakespearean actors of his day. Some great stage actors' transition to the silver screen as they age, finding the less grueling film schedule's physical demands easier to meet.
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Format: DVD
When life takes its toll
When fate treats you bad
You used to be king
And now you've been had
Alone with you're fool
You think you'll go made
It's nice to take a walk in the rain

A stomp through a storm
Is what I'd advise
When people you trust
Tell nothing but lies
And kidnap your friend
And gouge out his eyes
It's nice to take a walk in the rain

In Season 1 of "Slings & Arrows," when the reasonably insane Geoffrey Tennant (Paul Gross) returned to the New Burbage Theater as artistic director it was to put on a production of "Hamlet" that features a young American heartthrob as the melancholy Dane and the then unknown Rachel McAdams as the production's Ophelia. Season 2 saw Geoffrey forced to put on a production of "MacBeth" as a tribute to the late Oliver Welles (Stephen Ouimette), an honor made painfully ironic by the fact that the spirit of Geoffrey's predecessor and former mentor is still around bedeviling our hero. The second season was not quite on the level of the first, and so I was concerned that the third and final season would not be a charm, but continue the decline. However, by the time I watched the six episodes in which the New Burbage Theater puts on a new production of "King Lear," I had to try and decide if this last season was the best of all for this Canadian production that is a must see for anybody who has been involved in the theater, even if they have never been in a production of one of the Bard's works.
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Format: DVD
Slings and Arrows, a title taken from the infamous Hamlet speech - but I didn't have to tell you that did I? - returns to the screen (and now to DVD) with a third season. Like the theatre world that the show is based around, Slings and Arrows intertwines equal parts comedy and tragedy to create a moving and funny third season.

Unlike the majority of episodic television shows, Slings and Arrows focuses on the whole picture rather than making sure each episode has a gimmick to focus itself around. Luckily, this doesn't have the effect of making the show feel soap operatic or boring; instead, it allows the audience to become familiar with each character in the show and to enjoy the arc of the story as if they were watching a six segments of a super-long film.

This is the first season that I have seen, and I had no difficulty picking up the story line and relating to each character and their specific struggles and relationships. I can't speak to the relationship between seasons, though, since I haven't seen them myself, but it seems that the first two were more comedic and uplifting, while this final season, based around a production of King Lear, is a bit more solemn, dealing with a leading actor who is dying of cancer. The lead actor is played by the respected Canadian Shakespearean actor William Hutt, although "played" is not the best word for such a performance. Watching Hutt in this heartbreakingly powerful portrayal is the epitome of witnessing a master craftsman at work.

Series regulars Mark McKinney (of Kids in the Hall fame) as uptight number-cruncher Richard Smith-Jones and Paul Gross as artistic director Geoffrey Tennant each face new challenges and life-altering experiences in this third season.
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