Is Ray Donovan any good?

Now that The Americans is over, I need something to watch. I just found out that Fairuza Balk has (or had) a recurring role on the series Ray Donovan. I’ve heard a couple good things about the show, but the premise doesn’t grab me. In fact, it seems a little derivative of The Sopranos.

Before I devote my time and money, I thought I’d find out what you fine folks think. Any Ray Donovan watchers?

It’s fantastic! One of a very few shows that gets better each season for me.

I thought the first couple of seasons were not bad. I particularly liked Jon Voight’s character, although I’ve read other people saying they can’t stand him. To me, Liev Schreiber’s character is by far the least interesting; he’s just a humourless guy who makes trouble for himself.

I would watch this show just for Jon Voight, who is one of the most underrated actors alive IMO. He far outclasses his daughter when it comes to actual acting skill. He is capable of playing SO many different kinds of characters. He can play a super calm, collected, wizard-like guy, like in Heat. He can play a totally insane out of control guy like in Runaway Train which also starred Eric Roberts in a performance far superior to anything I’ve seen from his much-better-known sister. He can do different kinds of accents in addition to different personalities. For instance, he was able to play two completely different characters from Texas - a pathetic sad-sack in Midnight Cowboy and an intimidating hardass high school football coach in Varsity Blues, thirty years apart, nailing both of the characters despite the fact that he was born and raised in Yonkers, NY, and has no connection at all to Texas or the South. So to put it simply, Jon Voight is basically the man. A lot of people hate him for two reasons: one, he supports Donald Trump because he is singularly obsessed with supporting Israel (even though he’s neither Jewish nor an Evangelical Christian) and 2. he’s been in a lot of horrible movies in addition to a lot of good ones, garnering a reputation as greedy and/or willing to debase himself by appearing in shit like Karate Dog. Nevertheless, I will always love the guy.

Ray Donovan also has the dude who played Don Eladio in Breaking Bad, which scores it major bonus points for me.

Liev Schreiber himself always seemed like an extremely rigid, boring actor to me. It’s like, he’s not quite muscular enough to just play an intimidating meathead goon, but he’s also not expressive enough to play any character. Since it’s easier to gain muscle than acting ability, I think he should just hit the gym more and score some steroids and he could be really, really good at playing big goons who are also slightly expressive.

I really like the the first 2 seasons, but gave up shortly after that. I detested the Jon Voigt character and when the show became all about how dysfunctional the Donovan family was, I just lost interest. I liked the fixer aspect and plot lines, not the husband/wife fights.

I’ve been binging on Billions (Showtime) and am enjoying it so far. I’m about 2/3 of the way through season 2. Not great, but pretty good.

If you haven’t watched Homeland, that’s really good. A few stinker episodes, but it’s still going strong after quite a few seasons.

I stopped watching it after the first season because it felt like watching a watered down version of The Sopranos, so I’d agree with the OP’s impression.

Maybe try Justified.

Sneaky Pete on amazon is quite The Americans - like. Same show runner, Alison Wright in the cast, main theme is family, deception and trust.

I watched the first episode of Ray Donovan, but it didn’t grab me.

I watched two episodes of this show and thought, “These are miserable people who are about to become even more miserable. Nothing good is going to come from this.” I didn’t watch the third episode.

I second Justified. Watch that instead.

Actually, in the TV show, I think the FBI considers him to be kind of a bad guy…

Yes, it’s very much “Sopranos Lite”. Mob/tough guy, can fix other people’s problems but not his own. A couple of asshole kids etc.
Having said that, it’s good. I watched the first 3(?) seasons but eventually gave up because I knew it was just going to be more of the same. At least while I was watching it, it never really evolved.

But, it’s still a good show and worth watching, even if it’s just until you get bored with it.

I watched the show, but I think it’s not that good. Justified, Homeland and Billions were mentioned upthread and I think all of those shows are better. Also very good is Masters of Sex, about the researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson.

This is exactly my experience with it. It was the “fixing” that was interesting, not all the personal family shit.

I agree with that. The Hollywood fixer storylines were more interesting than the family stuff.

He also did a good job as a Texan in Return to Lonesome Dove.

As for the series, add me to the list who stopped watching after the second season. It wasn’t that I disliked it, it was just that I wasn’t interested enough to continue.

I’m going to resurrect this thread, because I’ve been watching the current season (#6) and in my opinion it’s about the best season so far. They have aired eight episodes of the season, but my wife and I are running a bit behind and have only watched four. Episode 4 was fucking fantastic, and has a rating of 9.0 on IMDB.

I get this. I was disappointed when they began focusing less and less on the “fixer” stories, and more on the dysfunctional family stuff.

The thing is, though, I like all of the actors so much, and they do such a great job of portraying the characters, that I was willing to make the transition. Jon Voight as Mickey, Eddie Marsan as Terry, Dash Mihok as Bunchy, and Pooch Hall as Darryl are all great. I especially feel for Terry and Bunchy; they’re both good-hearted guys who have led hard lives, and they always end up screwing up or getting screwed.

Some seasons have been stronger than others, and some of the guest stars have been more interesting than others, but it’s been worth it.

This season, they moved the whole story to New York City, and I was a bit worried, but it has been really great. Some of the best episodes of the whole series. There’s still lots of family dysfunction, but there have also been some excellent fixer scenes. Some of the plot coincidences are a bit unlikely, but if you can put that aside it’s currently one of my favorite shows.

Susan Sarandon is back, and I always like her, but for me the real bonus this season has been the entry of Sandy Martin, who plays Mickey’s sister-in-law. I’ve always liked her, and she is amazing in this role. I also like the addition of Domenick Lombardozzi, who played Thomas Hauk on The Wire. He’s actually playing a somewhat similar character, a cop who tends to spend too much time breaking the rules, in Ray Donovan.

I tried to like it but I’ve come to the conclusion that I am SO over Mafia type shows.

The Deuce is about as close as I’ll come to that.

More than that: I’m tired of what I call “asshole shows”, which are shows in which all the main characters are horrible people, but we’re supposed to care about them because they’re played by good actors.

But that’s the thing: I don’t actually care that much about the asshole characters in the show. I’ve found myself wishing, at multiple points, that Ray and Mickey would get what they deserve. I think I like Terry the best, because for the most part he’s a genuinely decent guy.

But the fact that some of the characters are assholes doesn’t mean the show itself can’t be compelling.

I was confused in the early part of the current season. I know that Ray and his daughter moved to NYC. And Mickey and Bunchy followed him out there. But when did Terry relocate his boxing gym?

And the whole storyline with Susan Sarandon’s character and the attempt to win the mayoral race seemed muddled and not very well-written. Initially, Ray was helping her candidate but now he’s working against them?

Same here. Hated Voight’s emoting, and don’t like the guy’s politics IRL.