TV Review: Californication

Jesse Tigges, Columbus Alive

For a series often hampered by inconsistency, this season of "Californication" has by far been the least consistent. Yet I'm still pleased with its outcome. A lot of story (and characters) have been packed into this season - probably too many - but the final three episodes do a nice job of wrapping things up for Hank Moody (David Duchovny) and his cohorts.

This season's best new characters - RZA's awesomely ridiculous Samurai Apocalypse and his sometimes paramour Kali (Meagan Good) - have mingled well with already excellent existing ensemble, but "Californication" is at its best when it keeps things simple.

Interaction between Hank and his agent/best friend Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) is always spectacular. Not so much with the messy stuff between Runkle, his ex Marcy (Pamela Adlon) and her well-hung hubby Stu (Stephen Tobolowsky). Those plots are fun but reduce the show's best couple, Marcy and Runkle, to shrill cartoons too often.

While the Runkle family has become a dysfunctional mess, the Moodys - sans Hank-appeared to become more stable, with Karen (Natascha McElhone) marrying Batesy (Jason Beghe) and moving to the suburbs with Becca (Madeleine Martin). Naturally nothing in Hank's life can be stable: Enter Becca's douche boyfriend, Tyler (Scott Michael Foster), and Batesy's return to the bottle.

I don't want to give too much away, but Hank's role as a father is tested (again), and "Californication" returns the focus to its core relationships - the Moodys and Runkles. The show is right on the top of its game.


10:30 p.m. Sundays on Showtime

3 stars