Thirst Trap

Thirst Trap: Ashley Zukerman

Listeners to the podcast will be familiar with my… fondness… for Ashley Zukerman. That guy from Terra Nova, some of you are asking… to which I say, I’m impressed at your memory for popular culture! Anywhoo, there’s so much to like… love… nay, respect (and hell, thirst) over. For those of you who aren’t familiar, let me tell you a little something of my Ashley Zukerman thirst.

I will freely admit, I actually missed Terra Nova. It was a dinosaur show on network TV that must been airing at the same time as something else I watched. I didn’t stumble onto Zukerman’s work until Manhattan entered my consciousness.  The Sam Shaw (Don’t worry, I’ll likely be writerly thirsting over Mr. Shaw in a coming column) created period drama aired on WGN starting in 2014 and ran for two seasons.  The film historian in me with a love of all things mid-twentieth century fell head over heels in love with the series.

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There is so much to love all-around with the series. The performances all around are absolutely top-notch, from Zukerman to Rachel Brosnahan and Olivia Williams to John Benjamin Hickey. The writing is flipping stellar, and the show looks fantastic. In fact, I probably don’t need to say that this is a cancellation which still hurts my soul.

However, back to the topic at hand. Zukerman plays young scientist Charlie Isaacs. The narrative follows Charlie and Abby (Brosnahan) upon their arrival at Los Alamos, and it is through their eyes which we watch the strange goings on of this unique military base and as a whole the rapidly changing cultural climate of the World War II era.

Check out the below… while it’s a traditional zapping press interview that makes you feel for the actors, Brosnahan and Zukerman are so flipping insightful about their characters here. There insight for the period and the material truly makes me love this all the more.

Who are we kidding? It’s this portrayal which truly made me a fan of all things Ashley Zukerman. Yes… he looks great in period clothes. There is absolutely nothing that this girl like more than a 1940s suit. So, would I love to see him tackle more period roles? Hell yeah. However, what also struck me was the presence that he brings to the role. In Zukerman’s hands, Charlie is such a spot-on and endearing depiction of World War II masculinity. It’s fascinating to watch his work in the series transform as the wide-eyed nativity gives way to a world-weary growth. (So yes… once again, I’m writing about another brooding male).

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I machine gunned my way through Manhattan and quickly found my way over to Hulu to discover that prior to his work in Terra Nova, Zukerman co-starred in four series of the Australian police procedural Rush. Disappointingly, the show is not still on Hulu, and finding it in a region 1 DVD set is a Herculean task… but anyway… oh my! The series is headed by Rodger Corser (most certainly a topic of a future column) and follows a team of specialized police officers (SWAT-ish) over the course of their daily dramas. Zukerman plays the adorable Michael Sandrelli.

Personal anecdote here… I made the mistake of wiki-ing the show and stumbled onto what… befell… Michael in the fourth series of the show. Stupid spoilers. Still not sure what I expected in looking at Wikipedia. As a result, I never found the emotional strength to finish out the fourth series, so as far as I’m concerned, Michael made a magic recovery and is still alive and well in Australia, thank you very much.

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Sticking with the Australian trend, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Zukerman’s sterling work on the two series (thus far) Australian drama, The Code. Once again, he shows his ability to completely throw himself into completely complex and challenging characters and make them his own. Zukerman’s charisma and likability shines through in this show, allowing him to bring so much sympathy to the challenging computer hacker Jesse Banks. You just want to hug him.

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Let’s see… American viewers might recognize Ashley Zukerman from his ten episode arc on the ABC turned Netflix drama Designated Survivor. If you remember my earlier column on the joys of Bill Pullman, I have gone on at length about my… fondness… for political suits. So. Check. Mate. Did I loose interest in the show as soon as the arc was over? I’m fickle like that. However, it was fun while it lasted.

Finally, he’s a delight. While he’s tends to be pretty quiet on the Twitter-verse, what he does put out into the world is incredibly intelligent and well-spoken. It does my little heart good to have the belief that he isn’t a garbage person. And speaking at it from a fangirl perspective, he’s really nice with the old “like” button, and it gives me a little “squee” each time he acknowledges the presence of his fans. It’s decent. It’s nice. And it gives you a hell of a lot of mileage with your fans when you show appreciation. We love you, Ashley.

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Ashley Zukerman has always held a place on my “Why Isn’t He On My Screen More?” lists. I’m greedy like that. While the actor seems to have no trouble getting work between Australia and Hollywood, I don’t get to watch him nearly enough for my tastes (Hint. Hollywood. Hint). I guess I’ll just have to fantasy cast him in my scripts. (Just take a look at my book cover and tell me who it looks like…).

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