Preview: Californication


In the US: Mondays, 10.30pmET/PT, Showtime. Starts August 13th

In the UK: Five/Five US. No air date yet

You’ve got to hand it to David Duchovny. Let’s face it, he’s not as young as he was. He’s not exactly decrepit – far from it – and time has treated him very well. But it’s not the early 90s and those calls for him to star in things like The X-Files and, more relevantly, The Red Shoe Diaries aren’t coming in as often as they used to.

Faced with that problem, what does he do? He exec produces his own show, in which he stars as an irresistible 40-something who spends every waking moment sleeping with women less than half his age. And a few others as well.

Nice one, David.

Plot (plagiarised because of writer’s block from the Showtime web site)

Famed novelist & NYC transplant Hank relocates to LA after his acclaimed book is optioned, but it later becomes a crappy romantic comedy, which sparks a horrible case of writer’s block. He’s struggling to get his career back on track with the help of his agent/best friend, raise his pre-teen daughter, all while pining for his ex-girlfriend, who is now engaged to another man. It may sound desperate, but he enjoys life and owns all his various vices – drink, drugs and women – with a refreshing sense of honesty and unapologetic candor. He’s holding it together while falling apart, and he doesn’t mind it one bit.

Is it any good?

It’s a curious mix of sex, comedy and mid-life crisis. At times, it comes across like a Curb Your Enthusiasm for hotter, younger men, with Duchovny getting annoyed at the rest of the world for talking on their cell phones in movie theaters, not knowing much about culture, etc.

Most of the time, it’s a character piece and you’re not actually sure if you’re supposed to be rooting for this adulterous, self-aborbed, self-pitying man. But it’s funny all the same. Not side-splitting, but it’s wry stuff.

Duchovny’s fine, the rest of the cast are good, and it’s not a bad way to spend half an hour of your time, particularly if you like plenty of nudity (mostly female), swearing, etc, and want to try something a little less tame than mainstream sitcoms. Promising, but not a sure-fire winner.

Here’s a lovely YouTube trailer for your enjoyment.


Hank Moody (David Duchovny)

Karen (Natascha McElhone)

Becca (Madeleine Martin)

Mia (Madeline Zima)

Charlie (Evan Handler)


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.