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October 30, 2014

Ion's new show Durham County was ... uncomfortable to watch

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 8th 2009 9:03AM
Durham CountyDurham County is being touted as the Ion (formerly PAX) network's first foray into original scripted programming in years. And that's kind of true. Except that Durham County first premiered more than two years ago in Canada. There, it's had two six-episode seasons. But while there was a long two-year gap between those seasons up north, Ion will be airing both as a twelve-episode first season stateside.

Based on just that first episode, Durham County is one hell of a ride. I don't think I've felt that much discomfort about what I was watching on a television show in a long, long time. It wasn't so much the gratuitous violence, and it was certainly there, but it was in the characterizations. There were parts of that premiere that were equal parts riveting and just so disturbing you didn't even want to be in the same room with it.

A lot of that probably has to do with where you are in life. I'm a parent and a husband, so I was especially discomfited by Justin Louis' turn as Ray Prager. My wife seems convinced that Ray killed the two girls in the woods; that he was suffering some delusion of himself watching from afar as part of his fantasy. She may be right, she's a lot more intuitive than I am.

What messed me up was when he went back and started dancing with one of them later. Even worse was that she was still alive. As the episode ended, we still don't know the status of them. I assume the redhead was dead, but did the blonde finally die?

Then you have Ray the father. His son wants to be a writer, and apparently he's pretty damned good at it. His father wants him to play hockey, to relive his old man's glory. I started seeing Ray as the homicidal Al Bundy, trapped forever in the glory days of his youth.

But it was his conversation in the park, in broad daylight, that really pushed me over the edge. Here's a woman who supports Ray, Jr. and his writing. She believes he has a real gift. Ray, Sr. only wanted to talk about his own hockey career. By this point we, the audience, had already seen his dance with the near-dead so I knew she needed to be careful.

But to smack her down and drag her off right in the middle of the park when we've seen people jogging and biking by only moments before-- That takes balls the size of Canada right there. Or so many screws loose your head is in danger of falling off. I think Ray has a bit of both.

I know Mike Sweeney and his family are the main characters of the show, but for now, it's Ray that's making it must-see for me. I don't want to know what he's going to do next, but I'm dying to find out. I'm scared to death for his family, for the Sweeney's daughter, and for pretty much everyone he's going to come across, but damn if he's not a good character.

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Apres Ski

Amazing to watch! Your good guy is only as good as your bad guy . . . and the bad guy in this is the one to watch! Worth watching & keeping up with.

I was mad because I discovered it had been filmed earlier & we were just getting here in the States. Now, I'm waiting for the next installment for seasons 3 & 4.

Good writing is hard to find anywhere in the arts these days. When there's good writing, I'm there watching the execution of the actors because that too is hard to find these days. I"m keeping up with this show because the characters are interesting to watch.

October 23 2009 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chanti

I absolutely LOVE this show. I especially love the psychological aspects. Hugh Dillon is an amazing actor and love Dr. Penn Verrity she is twisted!!! I find it very believable! Haven't seen a psycho women like this on TV or in a movie in a long time!!

October 02 2009 at 8:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Peter hirschman

I too watched the first episode And found the fact that
there is not one But TWO Rapists (the first was the Blonde headed guy that Ray spies on, Out there in the
Feild.) intriguing( The Scenes For next week has him back again). my biggest problem was the amount of backstory
regarding why the family was moving from toranto to this town . We should of been shown This even if it was in flashback Mode. also as is sometimes usal whith canadian and british shows; the accents and lighting some times makes it hard to follow The story(ex. kenneth Branaugh in "Wallender") .

but I WILL continue to watch (or dvr)this show for at least a couple of more weeks to see how it goes .
PRH

September 09 2009 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jessica

The show was disturbing... and I liked it. The idea that a serial killer is living in your neighborhood, being a father (regardless of how good he is at it), and pursued by a cop right next door, is riveting. I may hate it after a few episodes, but for now I will watch.

September 09 2009 at 7:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

I watched the premiere of this show last night and couldn't stomach the child rape part of it. I'm not a prud buy any stretch but that really turned me off. Have we really fallen that far that people would find that entertaining to watch, or even worse, exciting? It was sickening and infuriating to me. Ion went too far IMHO.

September 08 2009 at 3:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jj

the problem is Ray is going to play by another guy in season 2 .... that sucks !!!

September 08 2009 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
corey

I've really been liking the amount of Canadian content the U.S. has been picking up.
Even if I don't agree all of the shows they pick up, I'm still loving the Canadian love from below the border!
What are some of your current Fav Canadian shows south of the northern border? Mine:
Kenny Vs Spenny, Flashpoint
Also I'm not sure if they are airing but definitly check out,
Little Mosque on the Prairie and Trailer Park Boys

September 08 2009 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
misguided

It gets even better! I like the Twin Peaks-type vibe. A definite must-see.

September 08 2009 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy_MO

I found this series very odd, not only in its characterizations but also in its writing, acting, and editing. There were points where it just didn't make sense; almost like it was edited out of order. Still, I'm going to give it a couple more viewings to see how it goes.

September 08 2009 at 9:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chocolatfrog

Its a hell of a ride!!! I watch the 2 series and I was amazingly surprised but the good quality of the production and the acting too. Some wont notice but a couple of actors are french speaking Quebecers, as I am and its refreshing to see them play in english so good. Laurence Leboeuf, Sweeney's daughter, will have a great career.

The second serie is as dark and the first one. And a third series have been ordered.

September 08 2009 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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