Too much going on over the past month. Too much and, still, far too little. Just got back from a trip to my old college haunt, Macon, GA. Waiting for the roofer co. to call me back, but here in Florida, everyone has a leaky roof during the storm season. My current goal is to get the first draft of the horror novel done by mid-August, just before school starts, and I am keeping to that goal, even while I’m stuck in a rut (and I am right now — I blame the recurring bouts of depression as the house caves in and the mold takes over).
As for everything big-and-small screen-summer-related thus far…well…
SMALL SCREEN DISTRACTIONS
Claws. TNT’s new Florida-based crime drama about sisterhood bonds, pain clinics, skeezy crime bosses, and strip mall nail salons seems to be comfortably at ease in its home alongside of Animal Kingdom. Niecy Nash as salon manager Desna takes what could have easily been just a sexy, brassy stereotype and molds the character into a believably empathetic, complex woman…and one who’s definitely Floridian. Here’s hoping it stays the course. The pilot’s end already had an interesting cliffhanger, and it continues from there.
Sense8’s demise. Speaking of cliffhanger, Netflix royally screwed Sense8 fans in that it not only canceled the series, it did it so abruptly, the show didn’t even get a reasonable ending. It ended on a goddamned cliffhanger. The most sophisticated superhero series on and it just…ends. So unfair. I only hope another network, if even a cable network with the right budget, picks it back up again.
Twin Peaks‘s return. One series dies and another makes a comeback after 26 years. Like Sense8, it ended after only two seasons and with a cliffhanger (of sorts — my mom had thought it was just David Lynch’s “up yours” to the network). My mother and I had watched the show together when it was on, both of us entranced by its effortless retro-chic style, murder mystery, and small town oddities, and she and I completely redid my wardrobe so that I could go to school dressed like Donna Hayward (or Audrey Horne, much to my mom’s dismay as she hemmed and hawed over it), but sweaters and plaid skirts would be fitting only when I came home during Christmas break since my family lived in England, and I was going to college in the sticky, paper mill stinking town of Macon, GA.
I now watch the new return to Twin Peaks, with my mother in mind, but I don’t think she would’ve cared care much for this comeback. All the things she’d hated about Lynch’s movies — the creep factor, the sex scenes, the sudden bursts of gory violence — play well on Showtime, but they detract from what made Twin Peaks unique. There’s so little charm to be had in this “return” to the series, and, six episodes in, I feel like it cares little about the characters of the fictional northwestern town of Twin Peaks. Instead, so far, it focuses primarily on bizarre events involving Agent Cooper…and Bob (true fans will know of Bob). I suppose it’s an attempt to resolve the cliffhanger from the original, but…well…mehhhhh.
(Hey, at least we finally get to meet Diane though.)
American Gods. First of all, Neil Gaiman is a brilliant author. I loved his novel Neverwhere, and his funny short story “Chivalry” is among my all-time favorites. But I didn’t care for American Gods. Too many things happening, too many characters. As a result, the TV version doesn’t sit well with me either. Frankly, as I’m attempting to watch it, it’s kind of like Twin Peaks in that I’m all…
The Handmaid’s Tale. My favorite new series this year so far. It’s incredibly dark and aptly timely, and the season finale made it all the more heartbreaking to watch. Hopefully, the (#resist) rebellion in the fundamentalist dystopia of Gilead will be next season’s focus. Elisabeth Moss is mesmerizing as Offred, and everything else, from the cinematography to the costume colors to the soundtrack… it’s all…perfection.
And new seasons:
Better Call Saul: Now we’re getting into the whole how-Jimmy-became-Saul goodness.
House of Cards: Those Machiavellian schemers, the Underwoods, keep on keepin’ on.
Animal Kingdom: The shady Cody boys are, so far, finding it damned difficult to cut business ties from head honcho (Mama) Smurf, and her grandson, J, is quickly becoming her new favorite.
Orange Is the New Black: Oh, those crazy girls in Litchfield Penitentiary, taking the prison over, holding guards hostage. It may have been Taystee’s season to avenge all of the wrongdoings that have happened at Litchfield, especially Poussey’s death, but it’s Flaca and Maritza, BFF’s foreva and newly minted Youtube stars, who have always held my adoration.
Fear the Walking Dead: Like its originator, FTWD always seems to need a push to gain the momentum it’s severely lacking. Unlike TWD, however, it doesn’t have comic source material. It’s its own world, so it can explore other possibilities that would more than likely happen in a zombie apocalypse. This season, thus far, we’ve an anti-NWO community of paranoid survivalists and a gangster who controls a major source of uncontaminated water, something TWD never seemed to touch upon (food, yes, but clean water sources free of rotting bodies…not really). This past episode involving a character’s return was the best episode of the series as it offered the pathos that had been sorely lacking during our protagonist family’s journey. I cried at the end of it. Hope it has another episode like it at some point.
Fargo: New story involving two brothers, one a wealthy businessman with a parking lot empire, the other a down-and-out parole officer involved with one of his parolees. Throw in a decades-old fight over a stamp, a case of mistaken identity, a handful of murders, an adorably awkward female police chief (well, sort of one in title), a nasty villain with a tooth-rotting case of bulimia, some utterly brutal shocks and you have…well…Fargo in a nutshell.
BIG SCREEN DISTRACTIONS
Wonder Woman (Girl, you so fly). Loved the action, the heart, the humor…oh, and the fact that Patty Jenkins made the tiresome Zach Snyder look like a jaded amateur in her success as a (first-time) action movie director. Here’s hoping DC can learn a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t in their current batch of superhero films.
It Comes At Night. WARNING: I AM ABOUT TO BE SORT OF SPOILERY… Basically, It Comes At Night is a horror movie that isn’t a horror movie at all. I mean, when the critics and the film’s PR advertises it as a horror film, one would assume it would be just that, right? I think people have forgotten the elements of horror. Scares help, and there were no scares in this film whatsoever. There’s dramatic tension, certainly, but let’s call this film what it actually is: a post-apocalyptic chamber piece. Two families stuck in a cabin dwelling, plenty of paranoia, and an emotional gutpunch in the end. There you have it. Not a bad film but, again, not a horror film.
Rough Night. Good god, was this movie stupid.