Here are some of my thoughts in a quick round up of some this week’s episodes from the tube. Although I guess that phrase the “tube” isn’t that relevant any more, what with LCD and Plasma sets being so ubiquitous these days.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: *For those that haven’t seen the following episodes, SPOILERS may be present from here on out.*)
True Detective: Seeing Things (S1E02)
The Needle and the Damage Done
Well I’m gobsmacked by the quality of this show. I am not a fan of Woody Harrelson or Matthew McConaughey but if they aren’t giving us great television each week then there is something very wrong in the universe. After the slow burn setup of the first episode which really helped set the stage for the series, “Seeing Things” can be argued is a bit on the nose for a title when you look at what we got. Not to wax romantic here but the writing itself has been nothing short of lyrical in the way the characters interact with each other for the first 2 episodes. The boys in 1995 are continuing to work the Dora Lange case tracking down her past to see if it breaks something open. But what we get is the show bringing us deeper into the world of two cops who are on a collision course with destruction in their partnership and personal lives. Harrelson is showing us a man who is a coward and a dick all at once. What’s great is as he moves back and forth weaving the tale of his life, we see a guy who has convinced himself that this is the way it has to be. Yet he has a beautiful moment of compassion towards an underage prostitute at a hillbilly bunny ranch. On the other hand we get to learn more about Rust and how he got to be here. FUCK, that shit is messed up. Here is a man who has completely fucked his life up and yet is a better cop for it. It just doesn’t feel karmicly right but so far it’s working for him. After the revelation with his daughter I really wonder if he wasn’t the one who caused it. It would make sense based on his reinvention but I might be wrong. Regardless, it will be a fun 6 episodes to see it play out and how it connects with the current case. If you are not watching this… stop right now and FIX THAT SHIT!
Black Sails: I. (S1E01)
Yo Ho A Pirate’s Life For Me
I took a flyer on this one and it paid off. The show opens with a ship being captured by pirates led by Toby Stephens. Great opening to set the tone but then we get one of the best opening credits sequences on TV that’s right up there with Game of Thrones for setting the mood with great music (great use of the Hurdy gurdy) and cool visuals. It was worth watching just for those credits alone right now. The show itself is another attempt by Starz! to push itself up against the HBOs and Showtimes with this new series all about pirates and the Machiavellian plots by pretty much everyone in the show. This is soap opera on the grand scale of historical drama. Oh, let’s not forget about the sex/nudity. While it makes sense, it feels like they are using the Spartacus formula looking for success. The real story is Stephens’ Captain Flint is having issues with the crew due to his secret agenda to find a ship carrying with what amounts to $5 million in Spanish gold aboard. That is enough today to own an island. In 1715 it would allow him to own the world. As he finds the Captain’s Log that has the ship’s schedule and route, he is foiled by having the pertinent page removed beforehand. Which brings us to the other major plot point… this is a loosely connected prequel to Treasure Island as the page in question is in the hands of new crewman John Silver… yes that John Silver. This leads to a spider web of plots, betrayals and murder… well actually multiple murders. ‘Tis the life of a pirate after all. Regardless, the show has some merit and could turn better as it goes forward as did Spartacus. Hopefully all the players are up to the task in this epic tale.
The Musketeers: Friends and Enemies (S1E01)
All For One and One For All
BBC, historical epic, famous novel, what could go wrong? Well quite a bit actually. The BBC decided to reinvent The Three Musketeers for the modern audience with Peter Capaldi serving as Cardinal Richelieu, the reviled villain of the piece. It was meant to be a stop gap between series of Doctor Who, however that was scuttled when Capaldi nabbed the role of the new Doctor. None of which matters nor is it the cause of the show not being better. The show is suffering from the issues of scale and scope for this ambitious project. The Musketeers always seem to be able to cause issues with those who attempt to film them. It never quite feels epic enough or quick enough or well, good enough. It is serviceable and the actors are providing the best they can but the scripts are not well written and as a result the performances are coming off even more stilted and wooden than they should. It also doesn’t help that the story is fairly well known having at least 7 movies or television shows about the subject come out in the past 13 years. d’Artagnan mistakenly thinks his father is killed by Athos who is being framed by another for this crime and others. This leads to the obligatory sword fight and subsequent team up to help Athos clear his good name in time before he is executed. It’s all wrapped up a little too quickly and neatly. Even with the slight twist near the end it still doesn’t change the fact that this attempt falls short. It’s supposed to be “all for one, one for all” not “All for none!” it currently isn’t worth catching. This may change but it is highly doubtful.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!