'Satisfaction' review: May not be pretty, but it hits the spot

Matt Passmore as Neil Truman and Stephanie Szostak

Matt Passmore as Neil Truman and Stephanie Szostak as Grace Truman in the pilot episode of USA's "Satisfaction." (Credit: USA Network / Guy D'Alema)

THE SHOW "Satisfaction"

WHEN|WHERE Premieres Thursday night at 10 on USA

WHAT IT'S ABOUT TV has now decided to tackle adult relationships in-depth -- FX debuts two of these shows Thursday night, too -- and it isn't always pretty. Or insightful. Sometimes it isn't either. But here comes something utterly surprising. And fascinating.


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Even plausibly insightful -- if not pretty.

"Satisfaction" smartly wonders where that title comes from, how it takes shape, whether it can be shared, and why it's so elusive. The on-screen wonderers are well-to-do husband Neil (Matt Passmore, "The Glades") and sometime-designer wife Grace (Stephanie Szostak, "R.I.P.D.").

He works long hours in investing (yawn), then walks a gym treadmill that serves to signify his life. She looks forward only to a monthly book club, which somehow in tonight's episode turns into a bar catfight and a hot younger man expressing intense interest.

Within six months, both of their lives turn inside out and around again, in ways left unrevealed here to be all the more strikingly experienced in tonight's potent pilot episode.

MY SAY Nice to finally see a show nailing what it wants to be and say, in continually discerning work from Passmore, Szostak and series creator Sean Jablonski ("Nip/Tuck"). That doesn't mean "Satisfaction" explains all.

But the exploration it promises is profound. Both Neil and Grace take deep dives into secret lives that swiftly trade their far-fetched particulars for wider-scope emotional truth, and volatile intramarriage ammo.

Intrasoul, too. As Neil says in his narrative introduction, "Something's not right, and I need to start finding out what is wrong with me." What do you do when you hate your life and your job, and you love your partner and your life together, and yet none of it adds up to anything real? How do you bridge the distance that has over the years added up between the two of you, and you and your self?

BOTTOM LINE Wish I could provide more details. But I wouldn't take that boundless discovery away from you.

GRADE A-

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