Yay! One of my favorite shows of the decade is ending its run this year, and it looks like they're getting close to the end of the Cold War onscreen as well. Oddly, the show now feels newly relevant- as we see America and the Soviet Union's relationship thaw in this final season, it feels all too sadly prophetic when you look at what's happening right now in the real world. I'll be sad when this one is over, but I can't wait for the season to start. March 28th, everyone. Mark your calendars.
Collateral is a BBC miniseries now streaming on Netflix starring Carey Mulligan, and all four hour long episodes are written by David Hare, who previously wrote The Hours and The Reader. It’s a complicated procedural drama about a pizza delivery man who was murdered on a street corner, the cops who investigate the murder, the politics that play into the reaction to the murder, and the conspiracy surrounding his death that unfolds over time.
There’s actually even more to it than that. There are a lot of moving pieces in this series, and you don’t really start to catch up or tie any threads together until the final hour, so this requires you to really stick with it, assuming you don’t lose interest first. I have to admit, I’m normally into all kinds of crime procedurals, but this one was a bit of a challenge. When trying to tie this whole political conspiracy together, it wants to be comparative to a David Simon series (think The Wire), but it doesn’t quite measure up. Even on Simon’s shows, there are characters whose personal dramas require audience investment, and this one tries to do that as well, but the characters aren’t all that compelling.
Collateral stars Carey Mulligan, but the truth is that she’s part of a large ensemble cast and her Detective Kip Giaspie doesn’t quite take over as the lead until the final hour. Investing in a lot of extraneous characters besides her tough, smart cop feels a bit pointless and no other performance stands out much except perhaps John Simm (above), as a disillusioned Labor party MP. There’s a storyline involving a female priest (Nicola Walker) that felt particularly irrelevant to the proceedings overall, with no real payoff. It could be that the length of the series doesn’t allow for in depth character growth or for the audience to get involved enough in these people’s lives, but some measure of attachment is necessary in these types of shows, even if the central mystery is the selling point. Even Giaspie herself remains something of a cipher (I think the only thing we know about her is that she sympathizes with immigrants and that remains her one personality trait throughout the show).
I don’t know if this is intended to be an ongoing series or a one off, but I can’t say that I’m all that interested either way. There are some timely messages about the current immigration politics in Britain, it touches on sexual harassment and the effect of trauma on damaged lives and it does do one thing that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen onscreen before, and that’s to explore the psychology of a female killer, which is rare and interesting. But overall, I’d say next time (if there is one) give the actors some juicier characters to work with.
Finally, a trailer for the second season of Legion! This trippy show is premiering on April 3rd, so if you haven't caught up I'd highly recommend it. It's nothing like any other superhero show, trust me. And it's only eight episodes, so you've got plenty of time before the new season starts.
This miniseries is currently airing on the BBC in the UK, but all four episodes will drop on Netflix on March 9th. For my money, British shows are better at these topical procedural dramas, but I wonder if that's just because the setting makes it less familiar to me and therefore more interesting than the usual cop shows over here. I'll be checking it out for sure.
This looks interesting. The only version of the classic novel I've ever seen was the 1960's Francois Truffaut one with Julie Christie, and it wasn't that great. This already looks like a big improvement, and with talent like this, including 99 Homes director Ramin Bahrani, how could it not be? No premiere date yet, but it's coming out in the spring, so I'll keep an eye out.
Spring TV season is right around the corner! Here's a new trailer for Season 2 of Jessica Jones, which is going to delve into her backstory and family history. Looks like Kilgrave is back too, although I'm really hoping that's just a dream sequence. It drops on March 8th.
And here's the new one for Season 5 of Silicon Valley, starting March 25th, a show which has never declined in quality or humor for as long as I've watched it, although I do wonder how much longer it might go, since the whole premise of the show relies on the guys never fully reaching success.
Homeland's changed a lot over the seasons, but after all these years I'm in it 'til the end at this point. Ever since Brody's death the show has basically revamped itself each year, telling self-contained seasonal arcs, but this time it looks like a continuation of last year's President Keane storyline. The show plots its stories with real world parallels but was caught flat-footed (as we all were) when Elizabeth Marvel's Keane, who started out as an obvious good but hated Hillary-type figure had to be morphed into a paranoid wannabe dictator who might actually be some sort of spy? Yeah, it was contrived, but give 'em a break, they were not expecting to get saddled with Trump. So now here we are and the show is going for what looks like a government conspiracy from the inside with Saul pulled into the mix and Carrie on the outside worming her way in. The seventh season premiere is this Sunday night at 9pm on Showtime.
Yay! A full trailer for the new season of Jessica Jones, which is returning after two and a half years off the air. I guess we saw her in The Defenders, but her own show was far superior and I'm excited it's finally coming back. The season drops on March 7th. As a doomed Luke/Jessica shipper though, I just wish Mike Colter's Luke Cage could be in it. Sniff.
Yay! This CW show remains one of my faves, and is finally coming back for its fourth season soon. After last year's premise altering finale, the show takes place in an essentially new universe this season, where zombies have come out of the shadows and taken over the city. It annoys me that Ravi (Rahul Kohli) looks like he's become a zombie now (we need SOME remaining humans on the show), but I can't wait until this one starts again.
The Handmaid's Tale whiffed tonight, with Claire Foy taking it from Elisabeth Moss (damn! should have stuck with my first instinct on that one) and NBC's This is Us taking ensemble. I also should have considered that they might move over to Veep on the comedy side, given that that show hadn't won here yet. What was I thinking? Nice to see a couple of surprises at least, in the TV categories.
- MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES: William H. Macy, Shameless
- FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
- ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES: Veep
- MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES: Sterling K. Brown, This is Us
- FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES: Claire Foy, The Crown
- ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES: This is Us
- MALE ACTOR IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE: Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies
- FEMALE ACTOR IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE: Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies