Sophisticated and unique, this comedy centers on novelist Hank Moody (David Duchovny) who struggles to raise his teenage daughter with his on-again/off-again girlfriend in Southern California. His obsession with truth-tell... more »ing and self destructive behavior -- drinks, drugs, and relationships -- are both destroying and enriching to his career.« less
"When series creator, Tom Kapinos, first sketched character Hank Moody, played by David Duchovny, it appeared as though he'd found a wormhole into the collective unconscious of middle-age, urban men.
Hank was a bright, talented guy who, like many of his generation, seemed powerless to consummate a functional relationship with his one great love, played by Natascha McElhone.
This very-public struggle was waged on the quintessential battlefield of urban decadence and moral relativity, Los Angeles; a place where he appeared to be both victim and willing co-conspirator.
The drugs, the endless sexual escapades, the chain-smoking, the hard drinking and the lawless swagger of a rock star on the verge of another overdose all peppered his course to self discovery like a series of land mines.
Kapinos nailed the arrested adolescence of many older single men with more than their share of talent, good fortune...and too much time on their hands.
So in this birthplace of pathological narcissism, here was this intensely desirable renegade in search of a better destiny...or mother, as the case may be...and everyone [the audience] was happy.
But that was season ONE.
The second time around things started to unravel. The psychological components that gave the show life began to morph into a series of clichés that reminded me of an alcoholic who repeatedly calls to apologize for behavior he's powerless to prevent.
In the end, the behavior becomes as predictable as it is boring, and as a result, I started to resent Hank's helplessness. It also seemed to be contagious, because every member of the supporting cast was some way, somehow victimized by their own absurdly preposterous foibles.
In the end, the edges were wearing thin and the show had started to edge closer to a parody of itself.
Californication has been granted a third season, and I hope this time around Tom and company focus more on Hank's inner evolution - or devolution - if that works in some ironic way.
The endless - if improbable - sex, drugs, and rock and roll are always good sellers, but character development is far more satisfying.
Where the hell is that wormhole, anyway?
A New Chapter
J. T. Wleklinski | IL | 06/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I gave the 2nd season of Californication 4 stars out of 5. I read the reviews that were posted and I will agree that this season isn't as "good" as the first season. The first season gave the audience something they are definitely not used to seeing, the character of Hank Moody. Despite all the negative that Moody creates, the audience can't help but fall in love with him in the first season.
I don't feel that the 2nd season tried to be as funny as the first. That's what made the 1st season so enjoyable, nonstop laughs in every episode. This season is far more dramatic and has a plot that starts to develop, instead of the sex, drugs, and comedy that season 1 was about. That is why I think people didn't like it as much, because the "originality" of the 1st season wasn't duplicated as much; but how long do you think the writers could go with Hank sleeping with random women left and right before it got old. I feel this season shows the development of Hank Moody far better than season 1 had created.
Nontheless, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and if you listen to mine- you'll buy this set and enjoy your purchase...but please don't expect the same tone that season 1 created...I think the show is heading in a better direction"
Deeper than the 1st Season, Maybe Better
J. McQueen | Hartford, CT | 08/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is a pretty dramatic difference between the 1st Season and the 2nd.
The 1st Season of the show was about the existential angst of Hank Moody. His edgy, angry first novel (and only highly-acclaimed work) has been optioned by Hollywood studios and transformed into a miserably predictable romantic comedy; his former soulmate is set to marry a rich corporate goon; his daughter, mirroring her father, has gone into a dark, teenage funk; and his literary manager, while still Hank's friend, has grown tired of his Hank's inability to produce any substantive work.
In contrast, the 2nd Season is about Hank getting virtually everything that he dreamed of ... he has reunited with his soulmate; he has reestablished a strong relationship with his daughter; he has rediscovered some of his literary mojo. But, ironically, despite all of his wishes coming true, he is still a drowning man because he completely unprepared to take responsibility for getting what he wished for. He is haunted by the choices he made prior to all of his dreams coming true. And the realization that he cannot handle what he wished for causes him to meltdown in numerous ways.
I believe that this season, which maintained some of the wonderfully bizarrre elements of the 1st Season, actually gives us deeper insight into many of the characters and seemed much less episodic. As other reviewers have said, there may be fewer laugh-out loud moments. But there are substantially more moments that make us consider the choices that all of us have to make in regards to careers, romantic relationships (and entanglements) and friendhips.
Bravo, Showtime. Between Weeds, Dexter and this series, we're glued to the televisions!
4.5 Stars-Even better than season one
B. Martin | 07/23/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was a big fan of the first season of Showtime's raunchy yet surprisingly heartfelt series about the mishaps of gifted but wounded author Hank Moody, but I was suprised at how much better the second season turned out to be. The action picks up where things ended with the season one finale. Karen had left her groom-to-be at the altar and jumped in Hank's car instructing him to keep going before she changed her mind. And so, the second season opens with Hank, Karen and their teenage daughter, Becca, together again and Hank devoted to making things work this time around.
But this is Hank we're talking about, and it doesn't take him long to mess up (albiet accidentally) and the same familiar cycle begins again. When Karen turns down his marriage proposal, Hank leaves and takes up residence with music producer/man child, Lew Ashby whose biography he is writing. Ashby shares many traits with Hank, including being haunted by "the one that got away", a woman that Lew sacraficed in exchange for his fast paced lifestyle. He and Hank form a bond out of their shared loneliness and self-destructive behaviors that gives season 2 even more of a bruised heart feel than the first.
Despite the empty place in Hank's heart, and his efforts to change his patterns of behavior, this season is no mere naval gaving mope fest. Several other plots percolate around our anti-hero. Becca begins dating, Charlie is fired from his job and becomes involved with an aspiring porn star, his wife succombs to her cocaine addiction again and Hank tracks down the love of Lew's life all while facing the possiblity that he may be a father; and no, it's not Karen's. All of these plot threads weave together for a hilarious and moving examination of broken hearts and unrealized dreams. Plus it's even raunchier than the first season, which is saying a lot.
Ultimately, though, Californication is not just about sex, drugs and fast times. It is a study of how people use these very things to fill in the empty places left by heartbreak and disappointment. The fact that it is able to convey these things while at the same time being enormously funny and entertaining makes it one of the best shows on tv right now."
Steven Cain | Temporal Quantum Pocket | 07/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My first impression was that Season 2 is not quite as well written as Season 1, but it definitely has a magic all of its own.
My favorite character in Season 2 is the brilliantly nuanced Lew Ashby, played so flawlessly by Anglo-Canadian actor Callum Keith Rennie. Rennie and Duchovny have excellent on-screen chemistry, perhaps partly due to them being friends in real life, having bonded during the making of the second X-Files movie.
The on-off relationship between Hank and Karen, played by 5'10" actress Natascha McElhone, yields many moving and entertaining moments as Hanky panky fails miserably to resist the temptations of the flesh.
I was disappointed that the interviews did not include more actors, such as the superb Callum Keith Rennie, but the main cast interviews are interesting.
If you liked the first season, you should also like 2 and 3. Duchovny rules."