Making a movie from a book is one thing, fraught with peril; making a TV series after the movie that was made from the book… well, that’s just crazy.
Which is why it’s a stroke of genius that the series Get Shorty, a version of Elmore Leonard’s novel, uses the title and basic premise of a gangster who wants to produce a film and not much else.
The result is a wonderfully dark comedy crime show that has translated as well to the small screen as, for example, Fargo.
Seasons 1 and 2 landed on Showmax simultaneously last week, so let’s try to recap with as few spoilers as possible.
Our anti-hero is Miles Daly, played by Irishman Chris O’Dowd. Allowing him to keep his homegrown accent is an interesting choice, and a good one; somehow it makes him seem like a bit of a nice guy, even if he’s not entirely so, because Miles works for a mid-level crime syndicate, making dead bodies and getting rid of them and such.
On the home front, he has a daughter with whom he shares a love of movies. Their relationship is a strong theme throughout the two seasons, as Miles juggles the two sides of his life. Which is a bit like juggling flaming chainsaws; every time things seem to be going well, they crash and burn.
When a fantastic script accidentally comes his way, Miles decides to try to break into the Hollywood scene and get this movie made. He hooks up with Rick Moreweather (Ray Romano), a producer of the kind of flicks that go straight to the DVD discount bin.
For the financial backing, Miles approaches his boss, Amara De Escalones (Lidia Porto), selling it as a great way to launder her drug money. Amara may be the scary head of her little crime family, but she’s adorably naïve when it comes to movie making. There’s a soft heart beneath that impressive bosom, which is revealed in Season 2.
As much as Miles is a loving father but not such a great husband, he’s got a lifetime of crime experience and an unexpected skill set on his side as he negotiates the shark-infested waters of Hollywood film studios.
His sidekick Louis Darnell (Sean Bridgers) has his own code of conduct and ethics as a Mormon; he has no problem putting a bullet in someone’s head, but sex outside marriage? Absolutely not.
Ray Romano proves once again that there is life after a long-running sitcom – he’s had some impressive outings since then and Rick Moreweather is no exception. Without giving too much away, Rick’s role in Season 2 becomes more significant, along with the introduction of a new character, FBI agent Clara Dillard, played by Felicity Huffman.
Get Shorty has been renewed for a third season, due August 2019, in which we will find Miles embracing more ruthless methods as he settles scores in an attempt to continue climbing the Hollywood ladder.
WATCH: At the PaleyFest Fall TV Previews in LA on 9 September 2018, the cast and creative team of Get Shorty discuss some of the key developments of Season 2, including the addition of unusual FBI Agent Clara Dillard and Miles Daly’s shocking decision to work with the Feds. The actors also offer some thoughts on the importance of understanding their characters’ actions and stories: