Adam: There have been a few things on my watch list as of late:
- There is the Netflix series Big Mouth, which is really just prepubescence and puberty humor animated… with monsters. It makes me laugh, feel a wee uncomfortable, and remember all of the awkwardness that was, well, what I experienced.
There are the two Marvel projects that have hit TV this fall: Inhumans and The Gifted:
- I had really high hopes for Inhumans. They had been set up well by Agents of SHIELD, the source material is absolutely brilliant, and it has completely fallen flat. The Royal Family has been made all-too-human (I cannot believe Marvel/Disney did not have the fx budget to pull off even Karnak). The story arc is just flat – completely sanitized from the source material. And, worse of all, it has made everything about humans… again. I just wish that production companies overall would not jump the shark and play the “Oh!!! We gotta do this while it is hot” game. This thinking is what lost us Agent Carter… which I am still bitter about. (Alix note: I also get bitter EVERY time I am reminded of the loss of Agent Carter. I stopped watching Agents of Shield at that point because of that bitterness)
- The Gifted. It is moving slowly… but I see more potential here. Life is not rosy – things are not clean. People don’t get along… at all. Fox seems to be channeling the precursor to the world of Logan with this one. This was a smart choice. The questions being asked and the character development is much more smartly done. Plus, add using the cache of Bill (True Blood) and Winifred (Angel) as a way to establish the cast for fan bases, and I think you have something here. I am excited to see the dystopic reality here and if it connects up with what Legion has prepared for us in the next season (CANNOT WAIT FOR THAT!) I am also looking forward to New Mutants (my favorite X-expansion title) and Runaways (this starting to feel like a side title escapade similar to the first Marvel’s Civil War).
- Salem. On a whim, I decided to binge out the WGN/Fox take on the Salem Witch Panic from way back in the day. Though it was not amazing… there were some definite strong points in it. The whole of the series, for me, built to one monologue in the last episodes of the series. Here is the clip – sorry it is so bad:
- What I like about this is, finally, the whole of the story – the hypocrisy of the Puritan patriarchal structure, the use of scripture to control the community and condemn anyone who would go against it, the fear turned to panic turned to mob rule that was how those native to America were treated by invaders… and back to white males as fear-mongering liars – is captured in two lovely minutes of televisual splendor. It may not be the best TV out there – but I was impressed, which caused me to think about the show in a new light. There was something here, to be sure. Too bad it had to end all cleanly the way it did (though there were some great twists throughout).
That is really where I am at right now. Next up – Punisher and Stranger Things …
Andrew: I’ll skip Stranger Things for now, given that a number of the PDP crew watched that together and we need to do something with our data. So with that prelude, here we go….
- Mindhunter. Netflix dropped this 10-episode series a few weeks ago. As such it was lost in all the hype about Stranger Things, the latter which did live up to the hype.
The show is based on the book Mind Hunter by former Agent John Douglas. Basically, the series is about the first FBI agents trying to figure out, understand, and classify a new type of, but as of yet undefined, criminal. Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany, who play Agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench respectively, are superb in their lead roles. The production team catches the feel and the aura of the late 70s extremely well. The plotline is taut and the dialogue is crisp.I don’t want to give too much away here, but there’s a lot of tension and great foreshadowing. Plus, as Holden and Ford meet some obvious psychotics, the show gets really – I mean really really – creepy in places. The hunt is on, but not in the traditional way of other police/detective television series. They are on the hunt for a new idea, a new way for the FBI to do its business. I’m already excited for season two to drop…whenever that is. (Pop Culture Bonus: Author John Douglas was also the basis for the character of Jack Crawford in Manhunter, Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal.)
- Gerald’s Game. As a Stephen King fanatic, I am wary about adaptations of his books on the screen. As Art has pointed out, a change in medium changes the narrative. Unfortunately, many of King’s works not only get changed; they turn to utter crap (Needful Things, The Stand miniseries, The Dark Tower). So I came to Gerald’s Game with trepidation.This time, I was not disappointed. Again I don’t want to give much away. Let’s say the husband Gerald, wants to spice up the sex life in his marriage. His wife Jessie is not thrilled. Handcuffs. Death. Survival. Gerald’s Game includes only two main characters. That’s a lot of work for the two actors who are on screen for darn near every second: Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood. Furthermore, the entire film basically takes place in one room.I thought I would be bored to tears. Nope. Gugino and Greenwood are great. I leave the last words to King himself – who is his own worst critic. He called Gerald’s Game “hypnotic, horrifying, and terrific.” I concur. (Academic Research Bonus: There is a definitely a feminist case to be made about this book and movie. Someone – not me – ought to take that up.) (Pop Culture Bonus: Gerald’s Game is directly related to King’s other book Doloris Claiborn.)
Otherwise in the Country of Hermannia, I’ve been binge-watching “Indictment News” for the last few weeks, which has cut into my binge-watching of tv series. Of course, watching “Indictment News” is a lot like watching “Nixon, The Sequel.”