USA Network’s Brilliant New Series ‘SATISFACTION’ Engages On Multi-Levels
REVIEWED BY: MICHAEL J. ROBERTS
This country is going through a “marriage” renaissance as its traditional definition in both gender and fidelity are finally catching up with an ever changing and understanding demographic. USA Network’s masterfully acted and beautifully shot new series Satisfaction explores this quagmire of fidelity with two ‘fourty-somethings’ Neil and Grace Truman, who find their marriage at a crossroads. But the brilliance of this new show created by Sean Jablonski (who gave us Suits and Nip/Tuck) is that there is no question of the love the two central characters have for one another despite each of their individual choices to find sexual satisfaction outside the confines of matrimony.
In the pilot episode, which will officially air on the USA Network on July 17th, we find Neil Truman at the breaking point as both this career and family have become morally and psychologically unmanageable causing him to quit his high paying and powerful job, yet keeping that bit of news a secret from his wife. As the episode unfolds, we discover Grace is confronting the same quandary as she realizes her would-be career has been thrown away to raise their daughter Anika (Michelle DeShon). Grace’s solution is to employ a male prostitute, Simon, to quell her desires. The complex nature of the relationship and series become clear when Neil finds his wife with Simon and instead of using the affair to end the marriage, Neil sees it as a jumping off point to a journey of self rediscovery when Simon’s cell phone and client list is left behind.
Satisfaction works as well as it does because of the voracity of the actors who each give very nuanced and truthful performances. As Neil, Matt Passmore (formerly of The Glades) gives a mannered, masculine and relatable performance, which is why as an audience we instantly care about him. Film actress Stephanie Szostak’s (The Devil Wears Prada, We Bought A Zoo) Grace is quite thrilling to watch because she takes us a very ubiquitous journey in how she can manipulate not only her family but her best friend as well. The triad is completed with Blair Redford who embodies Simon with a winsome, multi-dimensional persona that helps flush out the greater emotional distress of both Neil and Grace.
What all these actors accomplish is that we are invested in their complex and flawed characters from the start, which is a rarity among pilot episodes. More than that, this is a episodic television series that will appeal to a mass demographic as my ninety-one year father was as equally engaged as my twenty and thirty something friends who watched the pilot at various screenings. Satisfaction is a must-watch new series that not only entertains, but will also make you contemplate the complexity of relationships in today’s society of social exploration and family dynamics.