All the Light We Cannot See
Early in For All Mankind Season 4, Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) and Dani Poole (Krys Marshall) reencounter each other for the first time in years on the Happy Valley Mars base. Smiling warmly, each says, “Hi, Bob,” to each other. For fans of the show, it has an immediate impact. The significance of the silly greeting reminds those audience members of the deep bond between these two astronauts. Newcomers likely won’t grasp the specifics of the importance, but Marshall and Kinnaman’s performances make it quite clear that it isn’t some random bit of silliness. Continue Reading →
When Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel hit shelves in 2014, it was a standout in science-fiction. HBO’s adaptation can’t help but hit differently in 2021. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale about what’s left of the world after a deadly flu ravages the populace. The parallels to current events are glaringly obvious. Continue Reading →
Kevin Can F**K Himself
The formula isn’t a new one: the hot, hyper-competent wife who gave up her master’s track to marry the boorish, underachieving man-child. Just add three cameras and some annoying in-laws/neighbors, and you could be watching King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, or (God forbid) According to Jim. Some shows have put a unique spin on the formula, the most successful being Gloria Calderon Kellett’s One Day at a Time reboot. But overall, when you see a three-camera sitcom, you usually know what you’re getting. It’s like gas station coffee or dinner at Applebee’s. It’s just there. Continue Reading →
Hulu's gender flipped, more diverse take on Nick Hornby's modern classic about entitled men-children has charm & heart.
Nick Hornby has made a career out of the unlikeable protagonist, from the philandering Doctor Katie in How to Be Good to the selfish, womanizer Will in About A Boy. By far his most popular--and most adapted--role, however, is record store owner and emotional masochist Rob in High Fidelity. Rob is a self-professed asshole who is fun to watch because we’ve all known that guy. Some of us have been that guy. In Stephen Frears’ 2000 adaptation of Hornby’s novel, Rob is portrayed by John Cusack with a kind of self-deprecating air of vagrancy that some find irresistible.
Twenty years later, though, the world looks a little different. There has been a culture shift with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. It isn’t quite as appealing to watch a character like Rob Gordon continuing to fail upwards as it was 20 years ago. Audiences don’t have as much patience for the sort of nostalgia-driven entitlement that Rob and other male characters like him seem to thrive on. Labeling a woman as awful for talking a lot, forcing an ex to admit that she was “not quite” assaulted, or even thinking for a second that any of these women owe Rob an explanation is no longer quite so cute.
With that in mind, why make a newer, updated version of High Fidelity? There is a grimy sort of magic to people who really, really love music and who fall in and out of love because of (or maybe in spite of) music. Hulu’s ten-episode series asks, “Why the hell not?” While Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka’s take on High Fidelity is new and fresh—at times a painful delight—it isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel. With its expert pacing, fourth wall monologuing and a protagonist covering real emotional pain with sharp observational humor and self-depreciation, it’s hard not to compare it to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s breakout hit Fleabag. Continue Reading →