THE SHOW "Magic City"

WHEN | WHERE Season premiere Friday night at 9 on Starz

WHAT IT'S ABOUT At the start of the second season, would-be hotel magnate -- and now in the bed with the mob -- Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is in jail for the murder of gangster James Patrick "Jimmy Shoes" Clayton (Arron Shiver). Of course he's blaming his underworld financial backer, Ben "The Butcher" Diamond (Danny Huston) for his troubles, but he also needs to raise bail to get back to running his Miramar Playa, one of Miami's grandest -- and most corrupt -- luxury hotels.

MY SAY Those who hoped Starz would hit the reset button for the second season -- like me -- will be disappointed. Often turgid, "Magic City" still crawls along without a care in the world, seemingly oblivious that viewers have about a million other options jostling for their attention.

There are moments when you just want to reach through the screen, grab Ike by those '50s-era lapels and scream, "For gawd's sakes, man, shut up and do something, anything . . . " What a shame because -- as with almost all Starz series -- the production values are through the roof here. The show is gorgeous, the acting superior, the setting vivid and even occasionally hypnotic. But the reason that reset button probably wasn't hit is because there wasn't time to. Starz hands its productions two-season orders, but they're produced concurrently, without hiatus. And without a hiatus there's no time to take a breather, or to take stock.

"Magic City" -- on paper, not on screen -- remains a compelling idea in search of great execution. And that's a reason why a third season probably won't happen.


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