Programming

The Watchman: The ‘Good Behavior’ Doesn’t Last

And ‘Breaking Bad’ lives on in new book 10/09/2017 8:00 AM Eastern
Michelle Dockery is con artist Letty in TNT's "Good Behavior," returning for its sophomore season Oct. 15.
TakeAway

Contributing editor Michael Malone’s weekly look at the programming scene

The second season of Good Behavior starts on TNT Oct. 15, and shows Letty and Javier trying to go legit. Letty is a con artist and Javier a killer, but they aim to provide a stable environment for Letty’s young son, Jacob.

Their attempts at wholesome living do not, by multiple accounts, last long. “Ten seconds in, she’s stealing, and he’s killing people,” said Michelle Dockery, who plays Letty.

Creator Chad Hodge said Letty and Javier’s gainful new lives go on a tiny bit longer than 10 seconds. Season two “is all about Letty and Javier trying to make a normal life for themselves,” he said. “That lasts for about 16 seconds.”

Hodge described season two as “sexy, funny, sort of absurd, sad for sure and cathartic.”

Dockery of course played Lady Mary in Downton Abbey. She said more and more people around Good Behavior’s Wilmington, N.C., base see her as Letty, not as the redoubtable Mary. Hodge notes how many Good Behavior fans are surprised to hear Dockery speak in an English accent off the set.

Hodge described Dockery as a creative whirlwind. “My favorite thing about Michelle is, she tries slightly different things every take,” he said. “It’s such a joy to work with someone who’s willing to take risks.”

Both Dockery and Hodge take some risks in season two.

Still thinking about the shows we adored five years ago, esteemed TV critic Alan Sepinwall has published Breaking Bad 101: The Complete Critical Companion. It’s a review of every episode, along with other musings about the iconoclastic AMC series, and it features a foreword by series fan, and Lost co-creator, Damon Lindelof.

In his introduction, Sepinwall describes being holed up in a hospital room after his appendix burst, where he watched the famed “Ozymandias” episode from season five, which saw Walt and Skyler brawl, Walt take their baby, Hank get killed and the Nazis steal Walt’s barrels of cash. “As it turned out, the meds and sterile hospital atmosphere actually added to the experience,” he wrote.

Last year, Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz published TV (The Book), which ranked the top shows in TV history. Breaking Bad finished fifth.

It’s been four years, almost to the day, since Breaking Bad wrapped. But Sepinwall said plenty of viewers are just finding the series these days. Plus, spinoff Better Call Saul keeps Breaking Bad top of mind. “A bunch of characters from that world are still out in the zeitgeist,” Sepinwall said.

He’s enjoying Saul and HBO rookie The Deuce, but said not much else on TV has the action, suspense and character that Breaking Bad offered. “There’s not a lot out there,” Sepinwall said, “that’s able to be all the things that Breaking Bad was.”

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