Months after rejecting contemporary thriller The Vatican over behind the scenes turmoil and a dated premise, Showtime has picked two pilots up to series in relationship drama The Affair and cynical corporate comedy Happyish. Both will have 10-episode first seasons that will debut sometime later this year, though a concrete premiere date for either has not been revealed.
Created by In Treatment producers Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi, The Affair tells the story of the impact that an affair has on the marriages of those involved. To be told from the male and female perspectives, the series stars Ruth Wilson (Luther) as Alison, a waitress at a New York diner who is recovering from recent tragedy in her life. She meets handsome high school teacher Noah (Dominic West), spending the summer in town with his in-laws, and her marriage to financially strapped rancher Cole (Joshua Jackson) soon becomes emotionally complicated. Maura Tierney (ER) also stars in the series as Helen, Noah’s wife of 17 years and mother to his children.
Happyish follows advertising executive Thom Payne (Philip Seymour Hoffman) as he deals with the effects of aging out of an industry that prides itself on youth and edge. At 42 years old and on a variety of medications, Payne’s bosses are now half his age and there’s been talk of how the only way he can survive advertising is to rebrand himself, so the one question that remains is whether happiness is something that he’ll ever be able to attain again. Happyish also stars Kathryn Hahn (Parks and Recreation) as Thom’s ambitious wife Lee, searching for her brand of happiness, and Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man) as Thom’s boss Jonathan.
Will you be watching either The Affair or Happyish? How long can a show like The Affair carry out this kind of premise? Are you surprised that Philip Seymour Hoffman is coming to television?