TV of 2020

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thirtyframesasecond
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: TV of 2020

#2 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:47 am

Netflix has just released a series called Messiah, which is about a fella who claims to be the second coming of Christ. Naturally, it's causing a bit of a stir.

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: TV of 2020

#3 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:20 pm

I think the Gattis/Moffat Dracula starring Claes Bang will be coming to Netflix in the US soon. Hmmm, didn't really like this at all. TBF, I'm not really a fan of the Moffat Dr Who or their Sherlock, and as much as I love Gattis's enthusiasm and support for great horror films, I think he's the lesser of the League of Gentleman writers. I wonder what Pemberton/Shearsmith would do with Dracula?

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The Curious Sofa
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Re: TV of 2020

#4 Post by The Curious Sofa » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:00 am

Watched the first two episodes of Dracula and wasn't a fan but then I don't like Dr. Who. It's very much a Dr. Who approach to the material with jolley, jokey lead characters who don't resemble relatable beings as much as walking wisecrack generators. I like the idea of setting the second episode entirely on the Demeter, an episode in the novel which usually gets skipped or dealt with in a few minutes and which is full of potential but the episode is merely ok. Not sure I'll bother with the last episode as even many of those who liked the series seem to think its the weakest.

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colinr0380
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Re: TV of 2020

#5 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:20 am

I was actually coming in to say a bit of the opposite, though I entirely understand the concerns as I share many of them! This series could only be made in this era of the BBC, and as such contains a lot of the issues that many of its other primetime shows do, especially Doctor Who, which is the shoving in of 'issues' into adaptations without consideration for how it can be overwhelming to the fabric of the original material, and especially the colourblind casting issue which feels a lot like shoehorning in of ethnically diverse casts to meet a kind of quota rather than having things feel particularly naturally occurring in a story itself (which is perhaps more just a reflection of the transitive era we are in where producers are admirably trying to hire diverse talent but yet are still wedded to old school adaptations of classic literature as a safety net to retain a large audience). But I think Mark Gatiss as a horror fan with obviously a deep love of the material managed to create something that, whilst in no way being a faithful adaptation of the Bram Stoker story and having to fulfil all of these modern television remits, was able to cheekily fool around with all the tropes and audience expectations. I was also pleasantly surprised by just how bloody it all was!

In some ways I think that it is probably best to approach this series as three 90 minute standalone pieces. There are a lot of through lines but it feels as if the writers have taken Jonathan Harker's adventures in Dracaula's Transylvanian castle, the voyage of the Demeter and the tragedy of Lucy Westenra as the three major structuring elements of this adaptation to riff on and then built up their new Dracula tale from scratch around that, using elements from the original story but also the film and stage adaptations since. So a homoerotic-parasitic relationship between Harker and Dracula is the big theme of the first piece. Then the Demeter is the Agatha Christie "And Then There Were None" adaptation with the Van Helsing character as Poirot (or Sherlock!)

I was generally fine with the first two episodes (and particularly like the way that Dracula is able to draw his victims into another realm of sensory pleasure in order to carry on their intimate conversations during the bloodsucking! That really shows the influence that the Hannibal series has had though, as really the whole interaction between Sister Agatha and Count Dracula is doing the Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter confidant-betrayer thing on a supernatural level. Which I guess makes the, rather sidelined in this adaptation, insipid character of Mina Harker the equivalent of that annoying girl that Will Graham was feeling guilt over and trying to save throughout the series?) but to be honest did also let out a deep groan at the jump to the present day as the 'stinger' at the end of the second episode. I was really considering whether to even bother watching the third at all, but am glad that I continued on, as moving into the present both made all of the above issues more obvious and easier to swallow in some ways!

It might be damning with faint praise to say that the third episode is perhaps a better remake of Dracula 2000! And the 'wisecrack generators' that Curious Sofa was worried about do go into overdrive in the early scenes of Dracula being infatuated with the modern world. But I have to admit to laughing at the "OK, who gave him the Wi-Fi password?";"It was my name" moment in the secure facility, and it does have one of the best lines in the whole series: "You might want to avert your eyes as I am going to have to kill a child". And the slightly eye rolling moment of Dracula having to be 'taught' about female rights in the modern world does get blackly ironically post-Weinstein twisted at the end to him bringing in his lawyer (the Renfield character, amusingly played by Mark Gatiss himself!) and asserting his own rights to not be held against his will, ageless and lecherous vampire or not!

Whilst Dolly Wells appears to be getting all of the praise (at least in the Radio Times) for her role(s) as various generations of feminist Van Helsings (though ironically despite the crackling Hannibal-esque conversation scenes, this still ends up underlining how Van Helsing is often just a transient figure in the face of immortal evil, though it beautifully turns this 'failing' into a virtue in the finale! And I did really like that they get Van Helsing running across a table before diving at a set of curtains to tear them down from the window similar to Peter Cushing's big action scene from the Hammer films!) this episode really belongs to Lydia West as Lucy Westenra. They do an interesting thing here by entirely separating the characters of Mina and Lucy from each other which means that there is no more of that issue of Lucy being the supporting character who is sacrificed before Mina is able to be saved. Lucy is still very much the 'bad girl' of the piece, but by pushing her to the foreground and not having to move on elsewhere there is much more time allowed to luxuriate in all of those dark and dangerous aspects of her character's psyche (again Hannibal-like) than has ever been afforded to that character before.

We get a rather standard set up of showing Lucy living it up at the nightclub, moving from boyfriend to boyfriend and watched with unrequited longing by her ex, the new generation Jonathan Harker (kind of literalising that dangerous sense of interchangability between Mina and Lucy in a naughty way!), before accepting an engagement proposal from a Texan lunk just interested in her for her looks ("But then again, would she be interested in me if I didn't have money?"), all compered by a gay best friend who appears to have wandered in from Giri/Haji. Following this she starts up a relationship by text message with Dracula, all done through Jonathan's stolen phone!

However then we get some great scenes of late night meets in the local graveyard that are brilliantly perversely disturbing. They get into Lucy's lack of fear of death and Dracula speaks of her even seeming to wish to experience it as the ultimate thrill because it is the last 'unknowable experience' left to humanity (which itself is preparing for it to turn out to be his own ultimate fear). In the end Lucy is the one who seduces the vampire, even reacting relatively positively to his party trick of letting her hear the voices of the dead inside their coffins and see the little decomposing zombie children peering at them curiously from the shadows.

And then we get Lucy's tragedy, not of becoming a vampire bride and having to be staked but of having her beautiful looks destroyed by partial cremation and welcoming death over her new crispy form (but with the frisson that it was really only losing the looks that changed her mind on the matter, despite Dracula trying to cheer her up by saying that she was his 'greatest success yet', almost as if he were Frankenstein and she his bride! So Jonathan kind of got the girl back briefly when the stakes were high enough, but only by default). Amusingly in the wake of Curious Sofa's comments I was actually coming here with my own revelation that this whole episode does play like a modern Doctor Who one (I guess that makes Van Helsing the Brigadier equivalent?), but one where the companion instead of getting to see all the promised sights and adventures actually ends up being horribly abused and destroyed by the Doctor's casual usage of them!

That tragic love story over we get Van Helsing and Dracula facing off, as she teases him with her imminent death from cancer causing him to be unable to drink her 'toxic' blood, and that she now has worked out that his ultimate fear is not daylight or being away from home soil, but really just a fear of death itself. So we end in a really nicely poetic way (though again extremely similar to the Hannibal series) of the two, more suited than either would wish to admit, opponents wrapped in each other's embrace, drinking deep of each other, haloed in the light of the sun. Suicide or murder? Maybe a bit of both.

So despite my misgivings I really liked that third episode a lot. That really made Lydia West an actress to watch out for. And I did like those small moments of Mark Gatiss's Renfield-inspired lawyer, always obsequious but at the same time seeming to be rather chafing against his Master's seeming lack of ambition, continually pushing for Dracula to be putting his mind towards some form of business matters of world domination whilst the Count is slouching around his apartment, more concerned with sexting with his latest meal on his phone!

(Also the monster-in-the-mirror reflction motif of the third episode felt very like the usage in Richard Stanley's Dust Devil)

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therewillbeblus
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Re: TV of 2020

#6 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:20 pm

MacGruber the TV show is finally actually coming, will air on NBC

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Brian C
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Re: TV of 2020

#7 Post by Brian C » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:19 pm

Just to clarify, it appears to be slated for Peacock, NBC’s streaming service.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: TV of 2020

#8 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:41 pm

I wonder if that streaming service will have an eclectic range of content that transcends the idea of an “NBC show.” Basically, will it be a toned down for mass audiences or an equivalent to R-rated series like the film? I don’t think it’ll work as anything but the insane raunch of the film’s vibe

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Big Ben
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Re: TV of 2020

#9 Post by Big Ben » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:09 am

therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:41 pm
I wonder if that streaming service will have an eclectic range of content that transcends the idea of an “NBC show.” Basically, will it be a toned down for mass audiences or an equivalent to R-rated series like the film? I don’t think it’ll work as anything but the insane raunch of the film’s vibe
Possibly. Well I can't speak for everything but CBS' streaming shows certainly do not. Star Trek Discovery certainly has no problems showing R rated violence with the occasional mutilation, decapitation and disembowelment being on full display. Granted this isn't a gore fest but it's certainly something that goes against what I would expect to see on non paid television. The new Picard series looks to be more violent too although to what degree I don't know. It certainly isn't the William Shatner led stuff for sure.

I've no doubt that NBC will be more lenient because they won't have to worry about the FCC going apeshit over content.

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The Curious Sofa
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Re: TV of 2020

#10 Post by The Curious Sofa » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:08 am

Anyone who likes horror tv shows could do a lot worse than checking out Evil, which ends its first season today. This is the latest show by Robert and Regina King who created The Good Wife. Like many others, I regard that as the best network show of the last decade. Its still ongoing spin-off The Good Fight is even better.

This show may not seem promising to anybody who isn't familiar with the Kings' work. Evil is a traditional network procedural, there is a case a week which gets wrapped up in 40 minutes and an overarching plot stretching across the entire season. The subject matter doesn't appear that fresh either. It's basically the latest iteration of The X-Files, crossed with the (underrated) Exorcist tv show from a couple of years ago. Compared to current streaming and cable shows, which are more like extended movies, Evil may seem formulaic and a little old fashioned. The first couple of episodes are solid, no more, but stick with it and many of virtues of The Good Wife/Fight become apparent. Some early reviews remarked that its good but not on the same level as The Good Wife. That's because when The Good Wife started out, it wasn't nearly as good as it would become. The reason that show became great was because its characters' complexities and its ongoing themes revealed themselves over time. The Kings play the long game and they populate their shows with a large cast of recurring characters you look forward to meeting again. There are themes and characters being set up, which aim to pay off over several seasons. The Kings don't make TV series which look like movies, they are very comfortable making broadcast tv dramas and I don't think anybody is better at that right now than they are.

Evil centers on three investigators (two sceptics, one believer) employed by the catholic church to debunk or prove miracles and cases of demonic possession. It plays with familiar genre tropes and then gives them some thought. One thing which makes this different is that despite the spooky stuff (and some of it is really creepy) there is always the possibility of a rational explanation. Unlike Scully in The X-Files, it never undermines its sceptic heroine (beautifully played by Katja Herbers from Westworld). The show has no less than two important supporting characters, who may or may not be demons. One, in full body make up, looks like something you may see on a show like Sabrina or American Horror Story, decent make-up but a little hokey. A couple of episodes after his first appearance, the show acknowledges his slightly generic tv-demon appearance in a way which I found smart. While being self-aware in regard of its horror elements, this never feels self-congratulatory, as a lot of postmodern horror does. By the middle of season one, it all starts to fall into place. Characters who seemed marginal become vital, the three lead characters gain depth and reveal flaws, the overarching plot takes shape.

While the first seasons of a lot of current genre shows feel self contained (Watchmen, which I thought was great, doesn't really need a second season) this is putting everything into place for a show which will only get better the longer it runs. The good news is that a second season has already been greenlit.
Last edited by The Curious Sofa on Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hearthesilence
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Re: TV of 2020

#11 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:21 pm

Haven't seen the show yet, but I actually know some people who worked on the pilot. When they told me about it, they mentioned X-Files, but the first thing that came to my mind was Night of the Demon, partly because I just saw it at the Jacques Tourneur retrospective at Lincoln Center. The more I think about it, what made Tourneur's film so great is the foundation for the whole genre of skeptics (often paired with believers) investigating the paranormal: when your view of the world (the logic behind how it works and how you rationalize everything in general) is upended in a very profound way. There's a growing fear and uncertainty when it sinks in that you understand nothing the way you thought you did, and by the end, it's horrific when you give in to the idea that anything can happen, including things now beyond your imagination.

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: TV of 2020

#12 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:14 pm

Friendly reminder that because of the game, HBO's Sunday shows are already up streaming

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knives
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Re: TV of 2020

#13 Post by knives » Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:33 pm

Man, that ending to The Good Place is so good. It's probably the only time a sitcom has aimed for pathos in its ending that really worked for me. Also Janet as Dr. Manhattan is intense.

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Murdoch
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Re: TV of 2020

#14 Post by Murdoch » Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:40 pm

Agreed, I'm glad it didn't opt for a more conventional ending but rather embraced what may be a bitter pill to swallow for some:
SpoilerShow
Death is a necessary part of existence, and without it our lives become meaningless.
Schur's shows have a limited shelf life (just look at how Parks and Rec and the Office outstayed their welcomes), so it's nice to see him end a series and stick the landing.

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knives
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Re: TV of 2020

#15 Post by knives » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:49 am

I thought Parks and Recs stuck its landing as well, but this is definitely his most successful attempt yet. He even showed the show could probably have lasted another season just fine with the Patty episode.

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ochsfan
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Re: TV of 2020

#16 Post by ochsfan » Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:07 pm

Netflix is scheduled to drop a third season of "Babylon Berlin" on February 29th. I really enjoyed the first two seasons of the show and would recommend them to all Noir aficionados.


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therewillbeblus
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Re: TV of 2020

#18 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Mar 05, 2020 7:11 pm

Taika to make more than one Charlie and the Chocolate Factory series for Netflix Guess this guy decided to jump into the blank check world of TV post-Oscar

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Murdoch
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Re: TV of 2020

#19 Post by Murdoch » Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:45 pm

I'm somewhat anticipating season two of AMC's NOS4A2, adapted from Joe Hill's novel of the same name. I say "somewhat" because, outside of Westworld, it's the only serial drama I've been paying attention to with a plot that doesn't wrap up by the season's close. I've been very happy to see the proliferation of dramas following the one season and done plotlines popularized recently by True Detective and American Horror Story (to name two of the most popular examples). But I'm slowly stepping back into longer-form storylines, having recuperated from the burnout that nearly every serial drama comes attached to, and NOS4A2's unique tale of a vampiric Santa named Charlie who kidnaps children and the gifted trailer park teen, Vic McQueen, trying to stop him is by far one of the most engaging things on TV.

The show leans heavy into Vic's broken relationship with her separated parents, and the family drama bolsters the supernatural elements thanks largely to Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Virginia Jill's performances as Vic's loving but occasionally abusive parents. Actually, if the show were just a psychodrama about their family dynamics, I'd still be in.

But the series' main strength is how it incorporates its mythos and supernatural elements without bogging down the flow with exposition. It feels very grounded for a fantasy series, with Vic suffering from a broken home and a dim future and her friend Maggie fighting against substance abuse as she tries to aid Vic in her fight against Charlie.

The entire first season is streaming on Hulu, if you're looking for another way to fill your social quarantine existence.

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