10/07/2014 07:49 pm ET Updated Dec 07, 2014

The Affair Is Totally Addictive

TV Review Jackie K Cooper
The Affair (SHOWTIME)

On October 12, SHOWTIME will present the first chapter of a new series titled The Affair. The show stars Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson and offers a "he said/she said" version of how two married people come to have an affair with each other. There is also the specter of a crime looming over the whole affair as there are interjected scenes in the first episode that show Noah (West) and Alison (Wilson) talking separately with a police investigator.

This is not a new approach to telling a story. There have been a multitude of other TV shows and movies which told the plot from a variety of viewpoints. Still it certainly works as a hooking point for this one. From the first moment of the show you are fascinated by the movements of Noah towards his inexplicable meeting with Alison. And when they do meet, the variations on his view and hers of the occasion are totally different.

Noah sees himself as the seduced one while Alison recalls the moments as totally innocent, at least on her part. Even small details of their recollections are massively dissimilar. He remembers her dressed in seductive outfits while she recalls them as being more sedate. It will be fascinating to watch how this plays out in the upcoming chapters.

The acting is impressive across the board. West projects just the right amount of rugged masculinity. Noah seems unlikely to do anything totally irrational but there are clues that he could be seduced into being unfaithful. Wilson is wantonly seductive as Alison in Noah's version of things but totally fragile in her own recollections. This displays quite a range of talent, and even more depths are anticipated.

Aside from West and Wilson you have two major talents in the supporting roles of the spouses. Maura Tierney isn't on view much in the first episode but her talent precedes her appearance. She has been amazing in other roles on television, movies and the Broadway stage. As Helen, Noah's wife, she is only required to be a good mother and good wife thus far. We can hope the role will offer more meat in the future.

Joshua Jackson plays Cole, Alison's husband. This is a different type of role for Jackson who is best remembered for playing Pacey in Dawson's Creek. After that came "Fringe" and now this show. It is a process of maturity that has resulted in his most adult performance to date. As Cole he has to project passion and despair -- and he nails it.

You can never know if the caliber of story and performances will last during the run of a series but this one has established high hopes. Be sure and view the pilot and I am convinced you will be on board for the full ride.

The Affair airs Sunday nights at 10 on SHOWTIME.
Jackie K Cooper

For a "free" view of the pilot click here: