A few weeks ago, I was on MAX and a show popped up called Men of a Certain Age. The promotional shots did not make it look like something I’d be interested in, but the casting of Ray Ramano, Scott Bakula, and Andre Braugher piqued my interest. After reading over the synopsis I decided to give the show a shot and I’m thankful I did.
Men of a Certain Age ran for two seasons on TNT from 2009-2011. I had never heard of the show, but considering all of the heavyweights that were on during peak prestige TV at that time (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, etc. etc.) it’s not too surprising.
The show was originally created for HBO, who passed it on before TNT picked it up. The show is quite simple, it’s about three men in their late forties.
Divorce, relationships, sex, raising children, health, gambling addiction, employment, finances, letting go of a dream, and awkward relationships with fathers are all explored in this series. At times it’s hysterical, and other times heartbreaking as you watch these guys try and do their best.
Men of a Certain Age reminds me of a good independent film that may not be about much on paper, but the performances and the relatability make it so fulfilling. It has a soul and a heart, and feels real and grounded.
It’s also nice to see three leading men, outside of their thirties, who aren’t naturally young looking. All three men look their age, act their age, and that’s rewarding to watch in itself. Life isn’t always exciting and thrilling, yet somehow through great writing you find yourself invested in their lives and anxious to see where things go next.
The performances are wonderful from the entire cast. I came away with a new respect for Ray Ramano’s acting ability, and the supporting cast is terrific in every way. A string to beautiful, older actresses make their way into the show, such as Melinda McGraw, Penelope Ann Miller, Alanna Ubach, Majandra Delfino, LisaGay Hamilton, and Sarah Clarke. Some great supporting actors show up like Todd Stashwick (who recently stole the show in Picard Season Three), Patrick Gallagher, Dennis Haskins, Joe Manfrellotti, and Richard Gant.
Sadly, despite great reviews, the show was cancelled prematurely and while the final episode does wrap up most of the loose ends, you can tell there was so much more story to tell.
As a guy on the cusp of entering his forties, I found the show comforting. In fact, I give it credit for helping me come to peace with the aging process. I wouldn’t say its inspiring or mind blowing in anyway, but it’s a solid show that just shows life from a realistic angle of getting older.
Just last week, I was emailing a friend, and I made the confession that I haven’t listened to a commentary track in over a decade. I’ve certainly justified paying for blu-rays under the assumption of listening to a commentary track, but I never do. I’d just prefer to watch something new.
But when it came to Men of a Certain Age, I just didn’t get enough. I needed more, so I bought both seasons on DVDs in hopes that the Commentary Track listing was accurate. Thankfully for me, it was.
The first season contained a commentary track with the three leads and the co-creator on both the pilot and season finale. The second season was a labor of love with Ray Romano and Mike Royce (the co-creator) recording tracks for all of the episodes all recorded after the show was cancelled, plus they dumped a bunch of special features on the discs as well.
I honestly don’t know of another piece of media, that takes a look at men in their forties in an optimistic light. Sure, the aches and pains are there along with the deteriorating eyesight, but overall things aren’t so grim. For a guy like me, who spent my life thinking if I didn’t have everything in place by forty my life would be over, it has been a life changer for me. And so, Men of a Certain Age has found a little place in my heart.
Check out Men of a Certain Age if you get some time.