Rectify – The best show you aren’t watching.

I think we should banish expectations and re-instate wonder.“*

Consider it re-instated.

Season three of the Sundance Channel’s show “Rectify”  wrapped up last night with a few tears from the actors (and this viewer) and an uncharacteristic hint of optimism.

For the past month I’ve tried to muscle up words to describe how good the show is and I simply can’t.

It’s just sublime.

The show received a Peabody Award in 2014. In the event you are unfamiliar with the Peabody Award, it awards radio and television programs “Reflecting excellence in quality, rather than popularity or commercial success, the Peabody is awarded to about 25–35 winners annually…accepted from a wide variety of sources and styles, deliberations seek ‘Excellence On It’s Own Terms’.”

In my book, a Peabody Award carries more gravitas than the Emmy or Golden Globe, but infinitely less flash.

Everything about the show is simply beyond reproach. The writing, the performances, the direction, literally everything about “Rectify” raises the bar on episodic television.

It may seem like I am gushing a little and I suppose I am. Fuckit, the show is that good.

Ray McKinnon and his team have created a show that tackles weighty issues (God, the legal system, family dynamics, relationships, love) with such dexterity that I can’t think of one show currently on television that comes close.

The actors are mining the depth of their characters souls and it shows in each and every performance in each and every episode. These performances, all of them, are flawless. “Rectify” is that rare show where all the supporting characters and their performances (and storylines) are just as good (and by good I mean excellent) as the leads.

If you don’t believe the tears are real in the first seven minutes of the first episode and the last two minutes of last nights episode, well, you may in fact be without a soul.

Admittedly, “Rectify” moves at a relatively slow pace (OK, glacial) to begin with and that can be off putting to the ADD set but by the fourth episode of Season 1, you might just find yourself hooked.

You can stream the first two seasons on Netflix (and you should) and I suspect at the end of those you’ll want to purchase the third season on iTunes. This is one of the shows that is best watched binge viewing.

People have certainly written about “Rectify” but perhaps the best thing I have read comes from the review of last nights episode by Brian Lowery in Variety:

At a time when more TV dramas feel like the great American novel, “Rectify” is something of a marvel, playing like a little haiku. Lyrical and hypnotic, the SundanceTV series concluded its six-episode third season Thursday, advancing the ball on a variety of fronts, with fractured relationships and new beginnings. While the plot was set in motion by a murder, the program is defined by its personal drama. Although series creator Ray McKinnon and his cast haven’t received enough accolades beyond love letters from critics, unlike the show’s fictional characters, they have nothing for which to atone.

Do yourself the favor and watch the show. Then tell your friends to watch the show. It’s that good.

* = Season Two episode “Donald the Normal”

A few other articles:


The AV Club

The NY Times (they didn’t seem to like it)

The Hollywood Reporter (they did seem to like it)