The new summer season continues with a burn off a series that was slate to start 6 months ago. NBC tries it luck and here is how they fared.
The plot in NBC’s words: “The Philanthropist” chronicles the heroic adventures of a billionaire playboy turned vigilante philanthropist. James Purefoy (“Rome”) stars as Teddy Rist, a successful tycoon whose life is forever changed after rescuing a young boy during a hurricane in the Nigerian town he was visiting. Rist is spontaneous and impulsive and quickly decides to channel his passion, power and money into helping those in need. Rist’s actions are not just about helping others – he is purging his soul to help exorcise the inner demons which have been festering ever since his young son died and he lost everything he truly loved. Since the death of his son, the danger and risk to his life is the only way he can feel genuinely alive and he’ll do anything in order to achieve his goals. A man who has everything but can feel nothing, Rist keeps his adrenaline pumping by putting his business head and money-making skills to good use through bargaining with the self-righteous, making deals with drug barons and trading with the nefarious. “The Philanthropist” boasts a heady cast of established and up-and-coming talent. Purefoy takes on the lead role of Teddy Rist, Jesse L. Martin (“Law & Order”) plays Teddy’s business partner and friend, Philip Maidstone, and Neve Campbell (“Burn Up”) plays Olivia, Philip’s wife who also runs the charitable foundation set up by the two billionaires. Purefoy, Martin and Campbell are supported by a tremendous line up of names from both sides of the Atlantic including Lindy Booth (“The 4400”), Michael Kenneth Williams (“The Wire”), Krista Allen (“The Starter Wife”) and newcomer James Albrecht.
Fun Facts: The show films around the world and is really an “international” show. Locations such as Mozambique, Prague, Asia, and pretty much every continent minus Australia and Antarctica are featured.
The Good: The Philanthropist was greenlight more than a year ago and is finally seeing the light of day, which I am glad for. The show is really a story about a rich guy doing the best possible thing he can, and that too him is the act of helping others. The show is gorgeous (see Fun Facts for that reason) and it really makes the most of its locals. Showcasing the native people and really using all the avenues it can. The acting is above-average with the likes of Neve Campbell and Jesse L. Martin more so than the lead James Purefoy who can sometimes overact and try to much. But there are some negatives…
The Bad: As I said above the lead can be unlikeable at times but not enough to turn me away by any means. On the other idea I read I original script last summer which had a epic sort of feel to it. Like you were watching a movie and that is not translated on too the screen. There is too much change in the pilot that you do not get the full feel of the characters or what is happening. But..
Overall: It is not summer fare at its best but it is fun, escapist television. Worth a look at least for a couple episodes.