The new CBS TV series Cane is something of a return to the 1980s primetime soap opera style of Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, and the like: a wealthy family imperiled by external enemies that would destroy their business, and wracked by internal rifts as those who share the family financial interests jockey for power.
Cane tries to change things up a little and make the concept more interesting by dealing with a Cuban immigrant family that produces one of the top-selling brands of rum in the United States. The series also includes much more overt violence and cruelty than its 1980s predecessors did.
The explicit violence is evidently intended to make the show more "gritty" and "real." Instead it just makes it more stupid and vulgar.
What made those earlier shows watchable was that they had a sense of fun, a breezy, stylish approach to their sleazy subject matter. But scummy story material handled in a scummy visual and performing style is just, well, scummy. That’s Cane.
In addition, the show has a decidedly unseemly political-cultural subtext: all but one of the caucasian Americans are corrupt and evil, whereas only about half of the Cubans are bad, and even most of those are forced into their wrongdoings by the evils of the caucasians.
In the pilot episode the depiction of ethnic strife, with the narrative clearly siding with the Cubans, passes beyond depicting ethnic strife to something very likely to foment it.