Archive for the ‘TV series’ Category

You: Season 2 – **

Posted: January 16, 2020 in 2019, Crime/Detective, TV series, USA, XX

Damn.

This sequel is a drag. The first season was so good. Yet this time around the story doesn’t excite. Joe moves to LA, meets a new woman he falls in love with and starts to stalk. But that’s not the core of the story anymore.

Nothing is really the core of the story. There’s a bit of everything going on. Sure, that’s a good change from the first season where the love/stalk story was too present. But then again, that was also its coolness. Maybe it’s the setting. Los Angeles isn’t New York. And its inhabitants just aren’t quite like the ones of the Big Apple. Most of the new characters in this show are tiresome stereotypes of Angelenos. And that’s the biggest flaw.

Not a season to binge watch.

 

Thirty years ago a female jogger was left for dead after having been molested in Central Park, New York. During the same night a group of young kids had gathered in the park for some wilding, attacking and mugging random passers-by. The investigating police made a link between the two events and arrested dozens of these kids, interrogating them about the rape. Five kids were left to their own devices at the police station and somehow ended up confessing to crimes they didn’t commit. A mediatized trial followed and even though the kids were minor and there was a lack of evidence, all of them were sentenced to years in prison. Four were minors and got five years detention, starting in a juvenile centre. One was sixteen at the time of the events and went straight to the adult prison system.

Most Europeans, and a whole generation of Northern Americans as well, were unaware of this case until this four part series became one of the main releases on Netflix this year and received critical acclaim.

Unfortunately, by end of the year, so many articles have been written about this production, that it becomes very challenging to watch the series without expectations. Yes, it’s a great series and a must-see. But no, it’s not the best series of the decade. You want this to be a mix between The Wire and The People vs O.J. , but it is not. It’s way too short. It is generating more questions than providing answers. It’s a show that will stick with you days after having watched it. So, that’s good. But it does feel like so much more could have been told.

Episode 1 is tough to watch. The characters are introduced and you immediately find yourself in the same mess they get themselves into. Dozens of kids are arrested, yet there are five of them that are detained longer and coerced into admitting to a crime they didn’t commit. These kids were at the wrong place at the wrong time and didn’t get the support they needed. Easy victims for the interrogating police…. The creators of the series clearly want the viewer to feel empathy for the innocent kids and anger towards the judicial system. It works, but it also annoys. This is where the series is flawed. The kids are sweet and innocent and adorable even. The police, judges and prosecutors are heartless monsters. It’s predictable tv making. This is also where an hour episode just isn’t enough.

Episode 2 is better. However as a court room drama it is not detailed enough. This is very intriguing stuff. We get snippets of the story. We learn that each kid had a different lawyer. We learn that each family of these kids deals differently with the accusations. We learn about the discussions amongst the prosecutors. We get to see some witnesses. All very briefly. This may have been the way the accused kids saw the trial (and it’s their story), but as a viewer you want to learn more. What about the jurors? The judge? This part of the story needs an 8 episode series alone.

The second half of the series is excellent though. In the third episode the show focuses on how the four minors get released from detention and have to struggle all over again. It’s a sad episode, but a very necessary one, because it focuses on how getting out of prison isn’t always a gift and how it’s very hard to rehabilitate in society. Episode 4 focusses entirely on the story of the one kid that was sent to adult prison and it is superb television, mainly because of the tour de force of Jharrel Jerome, who deservedly won an Emmy for his performance.

The acting in this series is top-notch. It makes up for the fragmented storytelling. Whoever did the casting deserves another award. A special shout out to Asante Blackk (playing the kid who is left alone at the police station: the moment you realize this will be a tough watch), Caleel Harris (the kid who is forced to lie by his own dad!), Niecy Nash (the troubled mother of the kid who will suffer the most) and Michael Kenneth Williams (the dad who told his kid to lie and has to suffer the consequences) !

www.imdb.com/title/tt7137906/

This is a good introduction to the case and the series:

It took me nearly 30 years to watch this show. By the time it was aired on tv here, I was in college and didn’t watch tv. My then indie/alternative music mindset did not appreciate Summertime or Boom Boom Shake The Room either. So, Will Smith was just not someone cool enough to follow.

Yet, watching this first season was fun! It’s good. Not every episode is great. The overal concept is still weird and badly exploited, but by the end of the series you start to appreciate Will Smith’s remarks and some of the other characters’ traits. The show also isn’t that outdated. Intrigued what the next seasons will offer. Personal favorite: Jazz!

www.imdb.com/title/tt0098800

Come on, vogue
Let your body move to the music (move to the music)
Hey, hey, hey
Come on, vogue
Let your body go with the flow (go with the flow)
You know you can do it

Madonna’s best track is featured during the entire first episode of the second season. It’s a really good episode. If you only have to watch one episode of this entire series, pick that one. You can also watch the entire show of course, but there are not that many episodes nearly as good.

Madonna’s Vogue kind of made the late eighties New York ball culture mainstream. For a few months. Until the hype was over. Few people actually know about this underground culture, which is experiencing a bit of a revival right now. And this show is only going to get more people intrigued.

The show is important. No doubt. It focuses on an underground culture with characters from the black and latino underrepresented lgbtq community. And it tells the story of the struggle that people with HIV or Aids had to go through 30 years ago. That storyline is quite moving. BUT – in capitals – the acting, writing and directing is messy. Especially in season 1, which introduces the characters. Maybe that has to do with the directing. And the budget. It feels like every scene was never rehearsed and shot in one take only. It’s amateur. And annoying. The dialogues feel awkward as well. Season 2 improves on all of this. The acting is much better and especially the monologues of diva Miss Electra are hilarious and well-written. The episode stories however are often too far-fetched (the one where they have to hide a corpse, really?) or a real drag (the aids cabaret in the hospital).

Some characters are really cool though. That Miss Electra steals the show. She’s a vicious queen with a cold heart, but defrosts by the end of season 2. She is by far the most fierce, intriguing and hilarious person in the cast. Dominique Jackson is acting a bit wooden in season 1, but shines in season 2. Get her an award. Equally growing in her role is MJ Rodriguez as Blanca, who keeps the show going. She needs an award to.

There’s a lot going on. And the AIDS-related storylines are really good. But the interaction between the characters doesn’t feel realistic. They are inconsistent. In one episode they hate each other’s guts, in the next they support each other like sisters, in another one they are ready to physically harm each other, in the end they go on a day trip together. It’s weird. I’m sure there is enough drama in real life. So to add extra drama just doesn’t make sense.

Still. Season 3 may be great. and the soundtrack is excellent

www.imdb.com/title/tt7562112

A young lawyer, working for the public prosecutor’s officer, has been living in guilt for many years. As a child, she was the snitch that made her older brother go to jail for drug trafficking. Unwillingly of course. But her father always made her believe she did the right thing.

When she’s working on a case in which her incarcerated brother is involved, she gets drawn into his world. First out of curiosity, later out of necessity. An act of beneficence gets her in trouble. She forges a document to make sure her brother gets a better treatment in jail. But this illegal misstep is the start of one rollercoaster ride of misery and drama. Her entire career is ruined. Unless she helps a detective by infiltrating into the brotherhood gang that her brother is leading…

Though flawed, this is a very enthralling series. It’s a mix of a prison drama and a detective story with a main lead that plays a double part. It’s set in Brazil, so the drama is very dramatic. But it’s also very violent and grim. It deals about police brutality and corruption and a lot of murderous crime. People get beaten, tortured, killed by the dozens. It brings you the exact opposite of the cheerful and colorful image that Brazil has in many ignorant foreigner’s eyes. This is one dark tale. Even Cidade de Deus has characters laughing and dancing at one point. This one has zero joyful smiles.

But it’s worth the watch. Noreen Costa is phenomenal as the main lead. She not only needs to convince the detective that he can trust her. She also needs to convince the brotherhood that they need her. And more important: she needs to convince the audience watching at home that she can pull this off. Hermila Guedes is equally excellent as the wife of the imprisoned brother. In a very macho setting, these two actresses and their characters keep the show from being a total waste of time. Girl power!

The male leads are only slightly less impressive. Danilo Grangheia as the detective is great. So is Seu Jorge as the brother and leader of the prison gang. We just don’t get to know their characters that well. It’s all very superficial and the show fails to create empathy or sympathy for them. Where you believe the women immediately and you understand their actions from start to finish, it’s much harder to understand what these male characters are all about.

The story may be full of inaccuracies and illogical situations, but the storytelling is well done. Each episode ends with a good cliffhanger that make you want to continue watching. And the ideas are quite clever and flow in a constant entertaining pace. The last episode is a bit too much though. It’s inconsistent and feels rushed. It also isn’t conclusive. There’s no end. Not even an open end. A lot of questions remain.

So watch this by the millions so netflix will make the second season. Because we need to know what’s going to happen next !!!

www.imdb.com/title/tt8905964

Too much product placement. (Is this show sponsored by Burger King and New Coke?)

Too many characters. (who again are siblings ?)

Too many references. (A corrupt mayor… Events leading up to the 4th of July… A chief with lines like “I can do anything I want, I’m the chief of police” … Jaws isn’t even eighties)

Too many repetitive scenes. (We get it. El can move things. El can locate people after being blindfolded.)

Contrary to other fans of the show, this guy here was disappointed in Season 3. Even got bored at certain moments. And the end doesn’t promise anything better for Season 4.

Oh well.

Still a great show though. Eighties forever!

www.imdb.com/title/tt4574334

This Is Us : Season 3 – **

Posted: September 15, 2019 in 2018, Drama, TV series, USA, XX

Kevin goes on a mission to Vietnam to learn more about what his father did over there. He’s also dating Beth’s niece. And becomes an alcoholic. Again.

Randall becomes a politician and acts like a total asshole at times.

Kate gets pregnant and gives birth.

This is one boring season.

Yes, you get to learn a bit more about the side characters. But it’s still all about the Pearson family and they become more and more annoying and less and less credible in their family antics.

It took months to finish watching this season. Only one episode was great: R & B. But then the final episode blew it again.

Not looking forward to season 4

www.imdb.com/title/tt5555260