In between each and every blockbuster film that has been released during the summer season, I grew a little bored. While the anticipation for each one was there, they were all fun to watch in their own ways, ultimately leaving me wanting something more. Trying to catch up on cleaning out my DVR, I ran across a new TV series which I knew nothing about: The Old Man.
Now, I’ve been a fan of Jeff Bridges ever since watching TRON way back in the day. I’ve followed the actor’s journey through Hollywood for the past 40 years and I was thrilled when he won an Oscar in 2010. The Bearded One has made his presence felt in mostly Western roles ever since, including R.I.P.D., True Grit, Hell or High Water and Bad Times at the El Royale.
But I was thrilled to see the actor step out of expectations with this show. Little did I know I’d be hooked from the very first episode.
The Old Man, which is adapted from Thomas Perry’s 2017 novel, involves an aged CIA operative who’s been living off the grid for the past 30 years. He goes on the lam after killing a would-be assassin. Not being able to trust anyone, his past haunts his future while trying to stay one step ahead of FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Harold Harper (played by John Lithgow). They had a rough working relationship during the Soviet-Afghan War, and each side still yearns to defeat the other many years later.
The chase is on, but this time, it’s personal — sound familiar? As the storyline unfolds, Jeff Bridges’ character (who goes by different names), eventually reveals his daughter (played by Alia Shawkat) is caught up in it all, as well. But even she’s more than meets the eye to everyone she’s been in contact with.
Who will survive the face off?
But more importantly, how many scenes will include the featured actors?
It takes a lot of concentration to play both the hero and the villain simultaneously in this series. Jeff Bridges gives his all as Dan Chase/Johnny Kohler, but he’s ultimately outplayed by the unassuming divorcee, Zoe McDonald (played with gusto by Amy Brenneman). Together, they go head-to-head with both an international warlord, as well as a governmental bigwig. Hopefully each one will survive, somehow.
After being pleasantly surprised by the first seven episodes of Season 1, I’m happy to report there will be a second season. It received the greenlight after the third episode aired. That’s high praise! Fortunately, it’s also gotten a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so I’m not alone in enjoying this series.
For much of the international intrigue, there’s a lot of cat-and-mouse games going on. As a fugitive spy facing murder charges, I’m definitely getting the 24 feels, in the vein of a never-ending action movie — something moving at the speed of the Jason Bourne franchise, with the action-packed fights of the John Wick films. It’s definitely a nice combination, especially since it airs during the summer doldrums.
“It’s hard to disappear in this world…”
As the season finale airs, the featured actors finally team up for a few scenes, which has been a long time coming. How will these spy games end when there’s always a political countermove that can be made, until checkmate finally arrives? There’s so many twists and turns, it doesn’t take much for your head to spin. As warring My Two Dads board a plane together, each one is certain of their impending doom (as well as possibly their “daughter”). To Be Continued in Season 2…
Entering this show, I absolutely recognized the restless sleeping, late-night bathroom trips, aches and pains, anxious, agitated and forgetful moments of our hero. But once he decides to abandon his daughter in order to keep her alive, my thoughts started to sway. This is when the opposition began to state its claim. The game has changed… but has it, really?
A 30-year grudge is renewed by a warlord, and “the beast who eats everything” must respond. What will come of “Hamzad’s monster?” Tune in sometime next year!
Remember Heat, the 1995 Michael Mann action flick that featured Robert de Niro and Al Pacino? Every single advertisement for the movie highlighted the aforementioned actors, although they only shared one, single, solitary scene. Together. The Old Man felt like that, to some extent. All the while you followed these character’s lives, they only interacted via flashbacks… until the final episode. And that’s a really great one.
I have no idea how faithfully co-creators Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine followed the original source material, but I really want it to successfully end with a bang, and not a whimper.
I’m already looking forward to Season 2, but I’ve been burned enough times in the past to realize it may not wrap up how I’m hoping it will.