One show standing alone

Maura Tierney who plays Helen in the Showtime drama series 'The Affair' Photo: Supplied
Maura Tierney who plays Helen in the Showtime drama series 'The Affair' Photo: Supplied

Television is a little like poetry and heavy metal.

Like poetry and heavy metal, 98% of television is the most appalling and offensive rubbish that should be expunged from human history and buried deep under a pile of asbestos in an old uranium mine, which should then be filled with black pudding and sealed with molten lava.

That would be really neat.

Fortunately for poetry, heavy metal and television, the 2% left above the Earth's surface will keep the medium alive, despite the vicious and bitter criticism it, and poetry and heavy metal, most richly deserve.

And because this is the second-last time I will ever write this small, occasionally inaccurate and sometimes obscure column, I am going to concentrate on my favourite show of the moment, which sits high in that 2%, even though I wrote about it two weeks ago, and would have written about it last week if I could have been bothered writing a column at all, but I couldn't and I didn't.

The show of the moment, the only one that grips me tightly and drags me on a difficult and confusing ride to a place I'm not sure even exists, is The Affair.

Series three began on Sky's SoHo channel last week, and oh God, but it was stunning.


The Affair began following an extramarital relationship between Noah Solloway (Dominic West) and Alison Lockhart (Ruth Wilson) when they met in the resort town of Montauk in Long Island.

There were lots of painful difficulties and poor behaviour and many consequences, and a road death and police investigation as things got torrid and awful and dramatic, before our hero ended up in prison and we had to wait until series three to see him released a shell of the sterling if conflicted fellow he was.

The story is told from various perspectives, with the terrific story-telling device of unreliable narrators who remember things very differently.

And series three opened in just that style, with Noah paranoid and unpleasant and difficult, certain he is being followed, and in the end there was a violent act; or was there?

Why did he end up bleeding on the floor of his scummy flat?

Did he end up bleeding on the floor of his scummy flat?

Was it in his mind? Or someone else's mind? Or our mind?

What happened in jail?

Something did, but when, if ever, will we find out what?

Of course, episode two on Sunday lurched off in a different direction, jumping back a year to follow the stories of Alison and Noah's former wife Helen (Maura Tierney), so we'll have to wait until this week to find out.

Without doubt it will be worth the wait.

 - by Charles Loughrey


What happened? Only 'Rashomon' knows. Subjective points of view without absolutes, that's what.

Will you be putting On Screen by CTHT online? This new TV column is interesting because it caters for an audience different from that of RI. The author assumes we may have come across the videos of Aline McKenna, like Blank Blank Blank Redacted, and 'I Steal Pet Shop Boys'. No. Not really, Tilley. We're still getting over Sophie Tucker.

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