Last spring at a dinner with friends one of my favorite couples recommended that I start watching "The Affair" on Showtime. Unfortunately I don't have that channel as part of my cable package, so I got to work researching where else I could watch the show online. Without a "Showtime Anytime" login, I decided to download season one on iTunes.
For those who are not familiar, the show stars four actors as two married couples. The cast is comprised of serious heavy hitters - Dominic West of "The Wire," Ruth Wilson of "Luther," Maura Tierney of "ER" and Joshua Jackson of "Dawson's Creek" and "Fringe."
Dominic West plays Noah Solloway, a writer who has never managed any level of recognition, despite decades of attempts.
He is married to Helen, played by Maura Tierney. Together they live in a brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn with their four children - Whiteny, Martin, Trevor and Stacey. You learn in the first episode that Noah's salary is infintesmial compared to Helen's trust fund, which is how they afford their luxurious digs and the kids' private school.
In the very first episode, the Solloway family leaves Brooklyn to spend the summer in Montauk, Long Island. When they cross into town they decide to stop for lunch at a local seafood shack, the Lobster Roll. At that lunch, Noah meets Alison (Ruth Wilson's character) and experiences an immediate, magnetic attraction.
Later in that same episode, you learn that Alison is married to her high school sweetheart, Cole Lockhart, played by Joshua Jackson. Cole and his family own a ranch in Montauk that has been in their family for three generations.
While Alison and Cole have been together since they were teenagers, they are currently mourning the loss of their four year old son, who drowned playing in the ocean.
Without revealing anything more, I can tell you that "The Affair" is a gripping account of how two couples try to keep it together while everything around them is pulling them apart. In addition to the relationship issues, there are also constant rumbles between the locals of Montauk and the families visiting for the summer from Manhattan and Connecticut.
What I love about the show and what I think makes it super interesting is that in each hour-long episode you follow the same series of events, but told from two different perspectives. The first thirty minutes of the episode will be told from Noah's perspective, then the next thirty minutes from Alison's. In season two they add in Helen's and Cole's perspectives as well. What's cool about this approach to the narration is that sometimes the exact same conversation or dinner or tryst looks completely different depending on who is telling the story, which leaves you, the viewer, to question what actually happened.
I found "The Affair" addicting. I flew through the first season in a weekend and then I counted down to the relesae of season two, which I devoured just as quickly. The final episode of season two had me screaming at the TV. If you watched, I'm dying to talk about it!
I am already eagerly anticipating season three, so much so that I might have to upgrade to get Showtime.
If you aren't a Showtime subscriber, you can download both season one and season two on iTunes.