When Damages debuted on FX in 2007, I was fully prepared to love it. I tuned in to the premiere to see what the buzz was all about, and the show impressed me immensely. Glenn Close and Rose Byrne were superb as dueling lawyers, the story was gripping, and the production was impressive. I thought I had found my new Lost, but my excitement proved to be short-lived. As the weeks went on, my enthusiasm for the legal thriller quickly waned, and I quit watching after about a month.
You see, Damages just got too dang complicated for basic cable! Everyone started spying on everyone else, and a dozen characters were dying and spilling secrets every episode, and though the dialogue and acting remained top-notch throughout, I had no idea what was going on. Keeping track of the complex plot lines and characters (most of whom are rather nondescript suit-wearing businessmen) week-to-week was a chore, and even the commercial breaks were long enough to confuse me. Damages, with its layered, flash-forwarding structure, was just a tough show to watch on TV. Perhaps that’s why the ratings fell every season it played on FX (the show has now been shifted over to DirecTV, where the fourth season will premiere on July 13).
But I recently rediscovered the legal drama on DVD, and I am so glad that I did. Watching Damages is an entirely different experience without the commercials and long waits for answers. When played back-to-back, episodes of Damages feel like part of an expertly crafted mystery film. The story flows smoothly from episode to episode, and minor players that only appear for an episode or two don’t cause so much head-scratching. Cliffhangers get answered quickly, and the complicated story arcs are much easier to follow when viewed in close proximity to one another.
Basically, Damages is sensational DVD-viewing. I can’t stop watching it! (Or tweeting about it!) I started the first season just four days ago, and I’m already well into the third. Is that embarrassing? (Answer: No.)
What about you, PopWatchers? Have you ever given up on a TV show, only to rediscover it on DVD later?