K Street - The Complete Series
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K Street (DVD)
K STREET is an experimental fusion of reality and fiction--an entertaining, fly-on-the-wall look at government, filmed in and around the corridors of power in Washington. The series ventures inside the world of powerful political consultants--a world that few people ever experience first-hand. Produced on location in Washington, D.C., the largely improvised ten-episode series combines fictional characters with appearances by real-life political figures, all centered around the biggest political news of the week.]]>
What a weird and wonderful creature is this thing called K Street. Named after Washington, D.C.'s "fourth wing" of political power and coproduced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, this beguiling, problematic HBO series ran for only 10 half-hour episodes, each aired immediately after blistering five-day production schedules during which Soderbergh, as director, editor, and videographer (under his nom de camera, Peter Andrews) combined fact and fiction within Washington's corridors of power, casting savvy actors alongside real-life D.C. power brokers, journalists, lobbyists, and political consultants. The result is one of the most unusual hybrids in television history, in which top-drawer consultants (and bipartisan celebrity couple) James Carville and Mary Matalin work for a fictional firm run by a reclusive billionaire (Elliott Gould), where they must endure FBI scrutiny for doing business with a Saudi organization that might be a front for terrorists. As this crisis approaches meltdown, Soderbergh's fly-on-the-wall approach (first tested in Traffic) grows increasingly fascinating (especially for Beltway insiders, many appearing as themselves) and potentially mystifying for less-informed viewers. There's no hand-holding here, no back-story, no glossary or who's-who, and (most regrettably) no DVD supplements to guide the political layperson. What you get instead is a privileged glimpse of backroom politics in action, quasi-factual, semi-fictional, and never less than riveting. --Jeff Shannon
- All 10 episodes on two discs
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Top customer reviews
This style of film-making does require concentration in order to get the best out of it, and that's a good thing. Who wants to sit back and let some inane sitcom wash over you when you can engage your mind with a DVD in the same way that you can with some of the best books? That's a rare feat and Soderbergh should be congratulated.
I knew enough of the key political players to keep up, as I suspect would most Americans who watched this series. But I was a little lost when other real life figures entered the fray. While you're thinking "That's obviously a well-known writer, but who is he?!... or maybe he's just an actor *playing* a well-known writer and I'm not meant to recognise him..." some vital exchange between the characters has slipped by. Fortunately, with a DVD you can curse under your breath and hit "rewind", but that does detract from the enjoyment. Some concession to scene setting along the lines of "Jeff, about your column on..." would have helped cue viewers in to the person's (be they real or an actor) place in the scheme of things.
What matters in the end though is that K Street has left me with a sore back. That's because not once during the marathon beginning-to-end viewing session did I sit back on the couch and let this series wash over me. I was sitting up, leaning forward, engaged the whole time. When was the last time you could say *that* about a TV show?
This is a great show for political junkies of all stripes since it is inside the beltway from both sides of the aisle.
You have to remember that this show was in production during all of the events it depicts and that it interacted with the political scene in a very post-modern way.
Some stuff from the show made it into the political debate and vice versa and it is often hard to tell what is scripted, what is not, if it is a real or fiction, etc.
--in one famous incident, Howard Dean actually used a line from the show in a debate!
Carville and Matalin are great, and every politician/lobbyist/lawyer plays their role well too...
I loved this show when it was on HBO and I just got the DVD and felt the same way.
My girlfriend--who has worked in politics her whole life--had never heard of the show and she was enthralled with the depiction of life in DC.
If you are at all a fan of Soderburgh and like his style as depicted in "Traffic," you will love this series.
The characters in K-Street represent this Duality. Maggie Morris is a leader in the lobbying group with connections with the Bush White House. She looks like she has everything in control but her personal life is like a roller coaster. She is a lesbian and had a very turbulent relationship with another woman, this has quite an effect on her working relationship with others. Francisco Dupree, an odd man who has his hands in everything and knows many key players in Washington, is in reality nothing more than a political opportunist. In one instance he hires a photographer to take pictures of him with congressional and senetorial leaders. Tommy Flannegan at first glance seems to be a quiet well mannered lobbyist. Instead he sees a therapist with his wife because of his dark secret where he picks up prostitutes and makes pornographic movies. The final key point is that all of these members are essentially opportunists who conduct have internal wars with eachother.
K-Street features a cast of real life political hard ballers with James Carville and his wife Mary Matalin forming main characters. In addition there are apperances by James Dean, Tucker Carlson, Tom Daschle, Paul Begala, Al Hunt, and many more.
K-Street is quite possibly one of the best series on political lobbying and the infighting in Washington. I especially liked the Sodderberg form of filming, using interesting angles and filters.
While I enjoyed the way the creators had free-thought scripts, it eventually led to my main point of contention. The story had so many different plots and stories it went in a million different directions and kept the viewer off-guard and then unriveted.
As for the DVD I was hoping there would be much more offered. I had hoped that there would be interviews with political leaders or even George Clooney, yet there were no extra features. At the end of episode 10 there was really nothing that finished up the show. It just simply ends. To be honest when it finished I was getting into the story and I felt ditched.
I will give this 4 stars because while the DVD and some of the plot was lacking it is still a necessary addition for anyone who loves politics or very interesting intelligent television.