If Mad Men and The Sopranos had never existed, would Magic City seem like a better show? I’m not sure, but it would certainly help. It’s difficult to watch this sleek saga of a late-1950s Miami hotel owner (the excellently brooding Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and not be reminded of the fashion cues and gangster plots those two earlier shows have burned into our minds.
Morgan’s Ike Evans battles the Mob (personified by a Danny Huston so satanic he practically grows horns), union leaders, and the district attorney’s office. Ike is morally askew, but he does love his family. The show looks great, with a glossy sheen that avoids the Miami Vice palette. I have a lot of respect for creator Mitch Glazer, a fine former rock journalist and screenwriter whose credits include Scrooged, but I wish I could get more invested in the subplots involving Ike’s sons (Steven Strait and Christian Cooke). Still, I’ll keep watching; Magic City burns with ambition. B-