I like Californication (2007- ), except that it certainly does propagate the unreasonable characterization that everyone in LA is so good-looking. I suppose the Venice Beach area is well above average in this respect, though! I remember David Duchovny (this show’s Hank Moody) notoriously giving interviews around the later years of The X-Files (that show’s Fox Mulder) that he loved watching porn, so I guess it’s somehow fitting that he ended up in such a naughty, sex-oriented, yet oddly-literary show.
Duchovny is well-suited to presenting something along the lines of self-loathing and a frequently-“mumbling” spoken presentation, both of which are also present in the character of Mulder. However, combined with the actor’s family and educational backgrounds (a teacher/administrator mother, a writer/publicist father, attending an independent NYC boys’ school, a B.A. in English/poetry at Princeton, and an M.A. and an incomplete Ph.D. in English literature at Yale), these characteristics actually conspire to work much better as applied to the character of a prematurely has-been writer than to the character of a “flaky” FBI agent.
Hank is vaguely aware of pop culture and self-consciously espouses retro-hipness, saying things such as “B to the I to the double-L” and preferring LPs and mid-’70s Bob Dylan, and he also disparages not only LA (favouring New York) but also the “non-literary” context of his current occupation: blogging. Moreover, the character’s unforced level of discourse can be as erudite as: “Is there another mode of egress?” when trying to sneak out of a girls’ high school. Even more than with Mulder, you can’t help but wonder: How much actual Duchovny is there written into fictional Hank?
I think the writing is geared toward an intelligent, adult audience. Duchovny is obviously comfortable with the sharp and witty dialogue, so it seems to be a perfect fit. But I don’t think it’s Duchovny being written into Hank, it’s an actor taking a well-written role and making it his.
OK, but Duchovny is credited as an Executive Producer on the show, and he is also very well known for having checked into rehab late last year for sexual addiction. That suggests an involvement beyond merely acting.
Also, Duchovny apparently often contributed dialogue changes on “The X-Files” and has also written and directed things, so he’s clearly not just an actor.