Based on his performance in the July 28-launching The Last Tycoon on Amazon, Kelsey Grammer might want to consider making room for at least one more Emmy nomination in his life. I say that because having watched the nine-episode adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished 1941 novel, the five-time Emmy winner’s turn as ruthless Hollywood studio chief Pat Brady is simply boss, as I say in my video review above. I say that with his lead role over two seasons of Starz’s Boss being my previous favorite performance by the Frasier and Cheers alum.
As a piece of the American literary canon that has never achieved its expected heights in many previous big and small versions over the decades, the pinpoint examination of 1930s Tinseltown by The Great Gatsby author and sometimes screenwriter remains an ambition for many. Developed by Oscar-nominated scribe Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), co-showrun by Ray and Christopher Keyser, and picked up to series a year ago today, this Last Tycoon is snappy like His Girl Friday, though too often it also wanders into shallow and pretty standard territory.
Amongst Nazi censorship attempts, Hollywood anti-Semitism, union busting, booze, betrayal and dead wives plus cameos from Marlene Dietrich, MGM studio exec Irving Thalberg (on whom Fitzgerald’s book was supposedly based), Fritz Lang, and Louis B. Mayer, the series co-starring Matt Bomer, Lily Collins and Dominique McElligott is certainly far better that other F. Scott series from Amazon, Z: The Beginning Of Everything.
However, Grammer’s Brady is a magnet to watch Last Tycoon and sees a top-notch actor raise his game, hence raising the game of those around him and the show itself.
So, take a look at my review above — and check out the pilot of The Last Tycoon, which has been up on Amazon since last June — before the full first season debuts. Tell us, are you going tenderly into the night to binge?