As of right now, Satisfaction is actually suspenseful--leaving the audience unsure if its protagonists will embrace their better natures or succumb to their special version of suburban ennui. And though some of that suspense is a result of some messy decision-making, those types of messes look a lot like life.
Provocative and sexily surprising, reminiscent at times of HBO's Hung, only more entertaining than depressing, the Trumans' story plays out with a funny-sad poignancy that rings true even when some of the details feel off.
At its best, it's a well-acted, surprisingly clear-eyed look at the inconsistent relationship between passion and enduring love, and the innovative ways in which people bend their own rules to accommodate their need for pleasure. At its worse, it's a morally and narratively contrived excuse to watch a very entitled Everyman navigate a world of rich but unhappy women, including his own wife and daughter.
Wisely, show creator Sean Jablonski does not cast blame on either of the Trumans for their marital mess. That makes the characters more interesting and sympathetic, rather than merely a victim and an offender.
Satisfaction is the most daring, because it’s not really a comedy, and that makes its intent oblique and quasi-European.... The series picks up as it moves away from the couple’s problems and into the complications Neil’s new career creates.
Satisfaction has the most provocative premise--until about halfway through when it doesn’t just go off the rails, it careens into the ocean, swims for England, sits for afternoon tea and then flings itself into the moon.
For every tired element, there are lovely, even mysterious touches.... Emotionally, I'm not sure that a lot of Satisfaction makes sense at all, but a certain strain of dream logic holds it together.
Passmore and Szostak give fine performances, and many viewers will no doubt appreciate having a drama that's designed to reflect modern life, without a crime or a medical crisis as a catalyst. They just might appreciate it more if it were a bit less grim and if the big plot twists felt a lot more organic.
What the network is positioning Satisfaction as, and what it feels like it should be, is a morally complex story of two people experimenting with what makes them happy, the TV equivalent of a ‘70s adult-relationship movie. And for maybe a half-hour, the pilot feels like that.... And the back half of Satisfaction‘s premiere seems to lose its nerve.
Passmore's too bland to pull off the many dynamic emotional shifts Neil goes through, and the whole thing feels shapeless, providing little idea of how the series functions going forward.
Passmore was an engaging lead on "The Glades" and he is not bad here but the scripting of Satisfaction is leaden and unbelievable. Again, we’ve seen it before. And, at least in the premiere, there’s not enough entertainment value to see it again.
Awards & Rankings
Generally favorable reviews- based on 45 Ratings
Aug 22, 2014I watched the next to last episode last night. What a farce! It is disjointed and goes nowhere. I have no interest in the season finaleI watched the next to last episode last night. What a farce! It is disjointed and goes nowhere. I have no interest in the season finale because it is obvious that it will be the same, leaving any resolution for a possible next season! Satisfaction gives me no satisfaction!… Full Review »
Aug 4, 2014I'm usually not one for the bland USA network dramas but I'm not disappointed I gave Satisfaction a try. The show has an interesting premiseI'm usually not one for the bland USA network dramas but I'm not disappointed I gave Satisfaction a try. The show has an interesting premise and a very strong pilot. While the pilot can be a bit all over the place, it does have strong interesting characters. The show appears to be a lot less formulaic than other USA shows which could eventually make it one of the network's strongest shows.… Full Review »
Aug 2, 2014And yet again do we have a show that makes us ask ourselves one question:
Are we willing to buy into its unlikely premise?
If you haven'tAnd yet again do we have a show that makes us ask ourselves one question:
Are we willing to buy into its unlikely premise?
If you haven't seen the first episode, the next paragraph will contain spoilers, so watch out for the,
spoiler warnings, if you don't want too much information.
*** Spoiler Start ***
Neil and Grace are a married couple with a daughter, him working as an investment broker,
her being a housewive trying to get back into a career as an architect.
Both are not satisfied with their lives and while Neil looses his nerve and snaps on an airplane and
in his bosses office with the risk of loosing his job, Grace calls an escort from time to time for..uhm...sex.
Neil finds out about the escort and accidentally gets hold of the guys smartphone using it to try out being
an escort himself. The escort, of course, doesn't like this at all.
This will turn in into a plotline involving Neil and the escort having an escalating conflict.
*** Spoiler End **
This is the basic setup which doesn't simply have the problem that it's hard to believe,
but has more problems, the biggest having to do with the marriage problems itself and with the character of Grace.
Firstly, we are not seeing any real marital problems. They're basically both bored because things
aren't fresh anymore after 20 years of marriage. Who can blame them?
Yet we don't see absolutely no effort of realising the problem, talking about it and do same
marriage counseling, for example.
This has, for the most part, to do with Grace. She's almost an enigma.
We don't know anything about her except she isn't satisfied with the marriage and wants to work as an architect, and that's it.
We get no idea what she wants from Neil and the marriage. When she interacts with Neil, she shows almost no emotions.
The show tries to make us believe that the problem is her lack of fulfillment in a job,
but that's BS. We know that being successful in your job doesn't lead to a happy marriage by itself.
Additionally the show focuses on Neil being the one responsible for the problems and him trying to change.
But Grace doesn't do anything for the relationship. She isn't willing to talk about the problems
even when Neil asks her whether she would tell him, if she had a problem.
Grace has a sister, so that character could be used to put in some scenes with the two talking about
Grace's marriage, so we could understand Grace better. No such thing.
I came to the conclusion, that this is all deliberately done by the writers to keep the unlikely plot going.
Only as long as Grace is kind of like a black hole, emotionally, guaranteeing no progress
in dealing with the marital problems, this show is able to keep on going.
If you can live with that, ok, but I call this a sham.
The show is constructed in a way that I can't simple accept the unbelievable premise and get on with it,
but I constantly have to question the credibility of the plot and I have to swallow that premise
over and over again.
Again and again, I ask myself: 'Ok, they have some not very severe marital problems, but how
does that turn into this specific plotline that is constantly on the verge of spinning out of control?
What? A party with everybody wearing masks? What's going on here, how did we get here?'.
This show isn't bad at all, on the contrary, it's watchable.
But I simply don't buy into it. Facing all those unlikely events happening, maybe a certain amount
of humor would help, since the show lacks any kind of humor.
I just think, that the unbelievable plotlines aren't matched by the heft of some real marital problems,
making the the latter simply a lazy pretence for the former.… Full Review »