[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
One of the few bright spots for me in the very, very, VERY dark second season of The Witches of East End was the arrival of Frederick, the long lost Beauchamp brother and son played by Christian Cooke. He was seemingly killed in the finale, but I’m sure had they come back, he would have, too. Good thing he and they didn’t because now he’s headlining Crackle’s first original drama series, The Art of More. All ten episodes were released for your binge-viewing pleasure this past Thursday. I’ll go ahead now and call itÂ a crackling good time. (Only a little bit sorry, y’all. It was right there).
The show ended up on my radar because Haven‘s Shawn Piller directedÂ two episodes this summer and put pics of his time on set in Montreal up on his Instagram feed. The premise is fairly straightforward, to a point. Former American soldier Tommy (now Graham, played by Cooke) is a rising star at a New York auction house who leveraged his military access in Iraq to procure certain artifacts.
Underneath that, he has a genuine interest in, and affinity for, art. He tries to merge those two skills, plus his background as a mercenary, by reinventing himself with the help of Arthur Davenport,Â a benefactor of sorts (played by Cary Elwes) who he initially blackmails but with whom heÂ forms a genuine alliance.
Also in the mix is Dennis Quaid as Samuel Brukner, a blustery collector who’s happily blowing through his “f-ck you” money. Kate Bosworth plays Roxanna, a competing auction house rep with whom he has a professional and personal history,Â and who really doesn’t likeÂ or trust Graham.Â Brukner’s assistant, Belinda (Montreal native Cristina Rosato, who’s done several French-language productions and the recent Canadian series Remedy), has a soft spot for Graham so she does what she can to help him get in front of her boss.
Complicating things considerably is the sudden arrival of one of Graham’s Iraqi heist buddies, Hassan (Arrow‘s Patrick Sabongui), who makes the case he needs money to get his family out of Iraq. Graham agrees to help him and then everything goes south in a hurry when Hassan tries to play the New York game with the same lethal ferocity he used at home.
And that’s your setup. It’s a fantastic looking show, and Cooke and Elwes are fantastic together. The show wink nudges at their chemistry (which is off the charts) by acknowledging the obvious presumptions about their characters’ relationship. Cooke is just that guy. I Tweeted last year that WoEE had a hard time keeping the heat down when he did scenes with Jenna Dewan-Tatum,Â and sheÂ played his sister.
If you need a little fun, pretty, and hot escapism while you’re traveling this week, or taking a break from a completely different kind of binge, give The Art of More a go. If I hadn’t started watching it at midnight, I’d easily have mowed through a few episodes.Â It taps the same vein that made me enjoy Agent X so much. Crackle is free, and multi-device compatible. The series is sponsored, so there are ad breaksÂ similar to what you get when you stream network shows. I’m down with that. The first episode is also on YouTube (linked below).
Here are a couple of sneak peeks, too.
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