'The Affair': A look at the second season and the show's success

'Affair' stars Dominic West and Ruth Wilson as two married people who engage in an affair. The critically-acclaimed Showtime program co-stars Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson.

Showtime
'The Affair' stars Ruth Wilson (l.) and Dominic West (r.).

The acclaimed Showtime drama “The Affair” recently returned for a second season and has slightly tweaked its format of telling its story from two points of view.

“The Affair” stars Dominic West and Ruth Wilson as two people, both of whom are married, who embark on an affair. The show co-stars Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson as their respective spouses. “Affair” quickly became critically acclaimed – despite only being in its first season, the program won the Golden Globe for best drama over such awards season favorites as “Game of Thrones” and “House of Cards.” Wilson also won the best actress in a drama Golden Globe over category veterans like “Homeland” actress Claire Danes and “The Good Wife” actress Julianna Margulies. 

The episodes in the first season included the retelling of events from the points of view of both Noah (West) and Alison (Wilson). With the debut of season two, which aired on Oct. 4, the show adds a new wrinkle – viewers now also see events from the points of view of Helen (Tierney) and Cole (Jackson) as well as Noah and Alison.

"The Affair" is the newest high-profile TV program from Showtime. The cable TV channel is also the home of well-reviewed original programming such as “Homeland,” “Masters of Sex,” “Penny Dreadful,” and “Episodes.” The highly-anticipated new episodes of the TV show “Twin Peaks” will also air on Showtime.

Because it airs on Showtime, “The Affair” thus got the attention of critics from its debut because the network’s track record has shown that new programs airing there could be the next big hit. However, the Golden Globe wins by “Affair” got the attention of even more people, with its win for best drama being widely viewed as a surprise. 

Those behind the Golden Globes seem to recently be favoring giving top prizes to or nominating relatively new shows. Wins and nominations for the Golden Globe best comedy series prize gave similar boosts to the Fox show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and the CW program “Jane the Virgin,” respectively. “Brooklyn” won the best comedy prize while it was airing its first season, taking the award over veterans like HBO’s “Girls” and ABC’s “Modern Family,” and "Brooklyn" actor Andy Samberg also won the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy that year. 

Last year, some were surprised when the CW show “Jane” got a nomination for the best comedy or musical series prize. So when “Jane” actress Gina Rodriguez won the Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy, beating contenders like “Veep” actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and “Girls” actress Lena Dunham, it was even more of an upset. Its nominations and wins most likely put "Jane" on the radar of people who were not yet familiar with the program.

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