Citing low ratings as the main cause, Starz unfortunately cancelled Boss in November, after two seasons on air. The program never really offered an accessible premise, following Kelsey Grammar as Mayor Tom Kane, a smart, capable, and wholly powerful man navigating the dangerous waters of politics in Chicago--all while dealing with the onslaught of dementia.
The dementia is only a side premise in Boss, but in Season 2 it becomes more perilous for Kane, as he begins taking drugs more strongly with side effects and those closest to him begin to suspect something is wrong. The rest of the complicated narrative focuses on political navigating between Kane’s former assistant, Kitty (Kathleen Robertson), a shrewd woman with her hopes pinned on earning political power, State’s Attorney Jeff Doyle (John Hoogenakker), and Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner), as well as too many external problems to ever focus the series properly.
At it’s best, Boss is shocking and revelatory, fast-paced and more than a little troubling. It’s characters are often vividly drawn and frequently reprehensible, and despite this, or perhaps because of it, it’s easy to see why Boss didn’t garner a satisfactory audience. There is no hero in the Windy City, and without a hero, Boss is nothing but a cesspool of corruption and heartbreak that will stagnate as many audiences as it manages to bring in.
Boss is available at a sale price on Amazon.
Best Special Feature: There are plenty of audio commentaries on the disc and if those are your thing, you are probably sure to enjoy them more than the one featurette “The King and his Court.” I’m not always a fan of audio commentaries, so I preferred the featurette, which takes a look at the character of Tom Kane and the moves the writers had to make after Kane decimated his inner circle at the end of Season 1. New characters are also introduced. The cast and crew often associate the series with Shakespeare and while I think that’s more of a lofty goal than an actuality, it’s pretty interesting to hear how the comparisons work out.
Other Special Features: Trailers
Episode Guide (on paper and tucked into the set)