This list will be updated as various news outposts provide their reviews of the second season of In Treatment. I must say that the initial buzz is overwhelmingly and gratifyingly POSITIVE. Hooray! Everyone seems to have finally figured out what WE have known all along!
Posted April 18:
The National Post (this article is no longer available at The National Post website)
Robert Cushman admits–
“I was very sniffy about the first season of In Treatment. I said that this show about a psychologist and his patients was just another medical soap, more highfalutin than most, but still focusing on the practitioner rather than on those practised upon. I have to eat crow. The second season strikes me as being a quantum leap on its predecessor, but this isn’t because it’s abandoned the things that, first time around, I felt were flaws. It’s kept them, pushed them even further into the centre and proved them to be assets.”
Crow never tasted so good, eh? Good for you, Mr. Cushman!
Posted April 10:
The Los Angeles Times/Matea Gold : Gabriel Byrne feels the burden of being ‘In Treatment’
The star appears in every scene of the HBO drama. ‘It’s a doggedly difficult role to play,’ he says.
“It’s a doggedly difficult role to play,” said Byrne, who is in every scene of all 35 episodes, which begin airing tonight. Each was filmed on a Queens soundstage in about two days, a punishing pace that forced the actor to master his lines breathtakingly quickly: by the end, he was up to 12 pages in 30 minutes.
“I didn’t experience the winter in New York at all,” he recalled. “I arrived in the dark and I left in the dark, and all day I was in a room in a chair. It taught me an awful lot about perseverance and stamina and focus and concentration, and not staggering under the weight of it.”
It was a grueling experience to undergo for a quiet drama that attracted a small audience in its first season, despite its many critical plaudits, which included a Golden Globe win and Emmy nomination for Byrne.
But the actor speaks about the series in ambitious terms not usually applied to a television show. “The themes that are examined in this season are reflective of our culture, our society, in a larger context,” he said. “In my opinion, it deals with the loneliness of the kind of communities that we live in. Everything that we took for granted, the stable pillars of society — that’s no longer there. So uncertainty produces fear and anxiety.”
“… In Treatment belongs to Byrne, who won a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination for best actor last year. It’s almost incongruous that Byrne spends most of his screen time sitting down and watching, since his performance is so rich and dimensional…[he] makes the huge task of appearing in almost every scene of this series seem effortless.”
The New York Times : Michelle Orange analyzes the show’s move to Brooklyn and takes a closer look at the writers.
“The show is sort of designed for theater writers,” said Marsha Norman (“ ’night, Mother”), who wrote the new season’s Paul-Gina episodes. “Who doesn’t want to write a two-character play where people sit in chairs?”
“And I just think Gabriel is heaven,” Ms. Norman added, laughing. “I would watch him sit and think about being a therapist, much less actually do it.”
“In Treatment is simply the most addictive TV show on the air (in the cable wires?). As I settled in for a new round of advice and repressed memories, I was reminded of the therapist’s famous last line in the Philip Roth novel Portnoy’s Complaint: “Now, vee may perhaps to begin, yes?” Yes. Grade: A”
PopMatters : an overview of the second season, with tons of spoilers, but insightful writing makes being spoiled fun. Read at your own risk.
Posted April 2:
Star-Ledger (New Jersey) : Alan Sepinwall is a big IT fan. He offers three articles: the review [no longer available on the Internet], a blog posting with info about how he plans to post after each week’s episodes and provide a venue for conversation about the show, and a behind-the-scenes article [no longer available on the Internet] with lots of juicy inside info from showrunner/head writer Warren Leight and director Paris Barclay. From his review:
“One of the demons Paul is fighting with Gina is his need to be a savior to all his patients… But if that hero complex is bad for his psyche, it makes him both the kind of doctor any patient would be lucky to have and a very appealing, albeit flawed, main character on this incredible, underappreciated drama.”
Newsday [this article is no longer available at the Newsday website] :
“In Treatment fans will fall into this new season like a chocoholic falling into a vat of sundae sauce…Byrne is brilliant and – for the most part – so is this fine and absorbing show.”
“If it is possible to find pleasure in other people’s psychic pain — and obviously it is — there is no better place for it than in the therapy sessions that begin on Sunday night.”
Be careful! This review is teeming with spoilers for Season Two.
“Weston is a caring — possibly too caring man — whose professional demeanor doesn’t quite mask his conflicting impulses. He’s clearly intelligent, yet he sometimes makes poor decisions; he has a temper, yet he can demonstrate great patience, especially with Oliver (Aaron Shaw) and Walter, who thinks therapy is a joke. It’s hard to picture any other actor making the contradictory aspects of this passionate, self-doubting man come alive in such a realistic way. Yet even when Weston is silent, the resourceful Byrne makes the therapist the compelling center of most sessions.”
The review includes an interview with Gabriel Byrne.
Time Magazine [this is now subscription-only content]
“Byrne is terrific in what may be the toughest role on TV today, and not just in terms of sheer verbiage. Paul is both sounding board and active agent, constantly thinking and teasing out his patients’ agendas and issues while betraying, in his slightest inflections, the personal feelings that come pouring out in his sessions with Gina…” And the review continues: “But like a successful patient, the show has learned and grown, becoming more reliably compelling.”
“It’s not surprising that the HBO drama series “In Treatment” returns for a second season (Sunday, 9 to 10 p.m. EDT) with its radiant intelligence intact, its merciless revelatory eye again trained on everyone in view…” And the review continues: “The distinctive power of this character Gabriel Byrne inhabits with such unfailing mastery has all along been built on hints, then proofs, of vulnerability, a haunting sense of failures in his personal life and chances missed.”
The San Francisco Chronicle : Tim Goodman recants:
“While I stand by my [first] review, based on the earlier episodes of Season 1, I’m willing to confide that Season 2 hooked me a lot quicker and I like the series a lot more now. Call it what you will – personal growth or Season 2 being less cloyingly self-conscious… It’s a strong cast, and Byrne and Wiest continue to deliver incredibly mannered and minutely shaded performances. It’s quite a breakthrough.”
“Byrne, Davis, Pill, Mahoney, and Wiest should all be considered for Emmys. The writing should be a slam dunk to take home awards. TV simply doesn’t get much more genuine or dramatically rewarding as In Treatment, this year or any other.”