Author Archives: Dan Attamante
In just eight episodes, HBO’s True Detective will take detectives Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey back to a case they couldn’t solve in 1995 Louisiana whose killer may now be resurfacing. After the first two episodes, seemingly occult-based murders have begun to lead the two down a path of drugs, flop houses, and a burnt-out, backwoods church of ‘redemption’ looking for answers.
The ‘history’ of the case in True Detective unfolds through a series of flashbacks as the former partners retell their tale(s) to two current detectives who lost the files to storm Rita. The pace flows slower than most television crime shows as if McConaughey and Harrelson are actually reliving their partnership and a case nearly two decades old (within a slow, southern atmosphere no less). The show’s mystery and acting help carry the viewer through the proceedings at a decent pace, but the current detectives are quite distracting when you’re trying to figure out if they’re hiding something or if they’re just giving each other goofy looks whenever they can because they think it’s funny.
Very rarely does a television show have the decency to wrap up the series in a timely fashion. Most choose to alienate their audience with shoddy, lifeless episodes and tired or ridiculous plots in hopes of prolonging the life of their ‘baby.’ It’s times like that where we should take a page out of Stephen King’s book and “kill your darlings.”
That being said, Californication’s seventh season, airing in April 2014, will be it’s last. While I wish I could say it remains an untarnished series, I just can’t – but at least they were able to pull the plug themselves. What started as a heartfelt series about a tortured writer trying to get his wife and daughter back together as a family has turned into a circus of attempted shock value, almost insulting stereotypes, and a disintegrating interest from the audience for any of the core cast’s issues. It’s upsetting to see one of this decade’s most recognizable anti-heroes fall even further than the bar floor he was passed out on.
Enlightened was a two season HBO series written by Mike White,who we all may only remember from School of Rock, although his catalog covers some ground throughout the 2000s. Starring Laura Dern as Amy Jellicoe, a former corporate meltdown turned progressive peacekeeper through an emotional rehab, who is just trying desperately to get back into the good graces of her old company, while trying to simultaneously clean up their act is a show of just that: desperation.
Season one focuses on Jellicoe’s desperation to ‘stick to the script’ of her self-help books as she returns to work at Open Air, Abbadon, the company where she had had her infamous breakdown just a month before. Many of the same faces now inhabit the upper levels, which makes Jellicoe’s rise back that much more difficult as no one but Jellicoe is open to second chances.
All great things must come to an end and in two episodes, so will Britains’ Channel 4’s Misfits. For the past four (and slightly more than) a half seasons, Misfits has centered around a group of young English community service workers in a town where a freak storm gave many of the citizens ‘special’ powers. In typical superpower fashion, accidents sparked powers sparked ideas sparked battles of good vs evil – the subtlety of which is what sets this show apart from powerhouse superheroes like The Avengers, or even their adolescent attempt at a series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There is no city-wide destruction or mass casualties, just barebones hero work- maybe a little destruction- and a few casualties. That may sound boring because we’d all rather watch some costumed mastermind shoot laser beams through the clock face of Big Ben, while some super-strengthed glob knocks over the London Eye, Misfits operates in a small town seemingly devoid of any contact to outside England. It’s because of this reclusiveness that Misfits writers focus more on creatively dark, yet humorous storytelling turning Misfits into some sort of situational dramedy melting pot with ever soapy ‘will-they-won’t-they’ relationships, nearly unbelievable sci-fi and horror storylines, and a homegrown sense of action and mystery.