Death and Other Details
Hulu’s entry in the massive cast mystery trend starts with sexy confidence before collapsing under its own weight.
Mysteries have steadily made a comeback on screens and in multiplexes over the past several years. Kenneth Branagh offered old-school fun with his triptych (so far) take on master of the genre Agatha Christie’s works. Rian Johnson took Christie into modern times with a helping of class insight in Knives Out and Glass Onion. Things even get meta with the murder at an Agatha Christie play shenanigans of See How They Run. Series like The Afterparty and Murder at the End of the World took the genre to the small screen. With all this competition, of course Death and Other Details would try to find a new way of telling a familiar tale.
Early on, it seems series’ creators Heidi Cole McAdams and Mike Weiss have hit upon a simple but ingenious solution. Let’s get some sex in here! For all the delights of the massive cast mystery revival, each project has been noticeably short on heat. Daniel Craig can still fill out some swim trunks with the best of them, but he’s a married man with a barely glimpsed sweet hubby back home. Emma Corin’s Darby Hart had a romance with Harris Dickinson’s Bill in End of the World, but by the time we know them, those days are over. Death and Other Details, however, boldly declares that, to paraphrase High Fidelity, it’s ok to be investigating a murder and horny at the same time. Continue Reading →
This Fool's first season saw main character, Luis (Frankie Quiñones), getting out of prison and reuniting with his cousin Julio Lopez (Chris Estrada) at the Hugs Not Thugs program in Los Angeles. For many shows, getting out of the slammer would be the focal point of the drama, the end goal to build an entire season of storylines around. Instead, the series hits the ground running with Luis emerging from incarceration. Then it draws out comedic scenarios from him trying to get his life back on track. Continue Reading →
The Muppets Mayhem
It’s hard to do something genuinely awful with The Muppets. Yes, it's true, even if The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz certainly gave that a try. These pop culture icons are so innately endearing in their personalities and so fully realized as glorious puppets that figures like Kermit the Frog or Gonzo feel extremely real. Whether they’re shilling for coffee, reciting the words of Charles Dickens, or realizing that life truly is a filet of fish, The Muppets are irresistible. Continue Reading →
Tiny Beautiful Things
If you belonged to a certain group of very online Millennials around 2011, then the chances that a Dear Sugar letter changed your life or permanently lodged itself in your brain are high. I know it’s certainly true for me. That means I’m carrying a certain degree of baggage to Hulu’s newest series, Tiny Beautiful Things, based on the book of the same name--a collection of Dear Sugar’s best advice columns)--and Sugar herself, Cheryl Strayed, who stepped forward as the columnist in 2012. Continue Reading →
The Watchful Eye
Creating an engaging plot-driven primetime soap is a delicate process, despite how big and loud such shows tend to be. Burn through too many storylines too early, and you end up with, well, a Ryan Murphy series. On the other hand, take too much time to toss out the red meat, and the audience drifts, tired of potential with no execution. Continue Reading →
National Treasure: Edge of History
If the National Treasure movies had existed in the ’80s, Disney totally would’ve made a TV show spin-off in the ’90s. They would’ve shifted to younger (and cheaper) teenage actors and depicted them scouring the globe for treasures connected to significant historical landmarks. It would’ve made a decent, but not exceptional mark on pop culture back in the day and now sit close to the hearts of countless 25 to 35-year-olds. Continue Reading →
Fleishman Is in Trouble
Fleishman Is in Trouble, the adaptation of Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s novel starring Jesse Eisenberg, Claire Danes, and Lizzy Caplan, has a first-act problem. Or rather, a first-episode problem. Continue Reading →
From Promising Young Women to Big Little Lies, we’re in a golden age of female revenge stories. Looking to add to the ranks is AppleTV+’s new series Bad Sisters. It follows the tight-knit group of sisters who slowly turn on their prick-ish brother-in-law after years of misogynistic torture. It’s a dash of thriller Big Little Lies with a sprinkle of the comedy of 9 to 5, all set in a coastal Irish town. Continue Reading →
For many, turning thirty marks the end of your youth. A lot of people believe that you should have yourself figured out and should be on a set path by the time you complete your third decade of life. However, life often doesn’t work like that, and it’s not uncommon for people to “find themselves” well into their thirties or beyond. Continue Reading →
Did you know Disney+ has original TV shows that don’t belong to the Marvel and Star Wars cinematic universes? It’s true! The streaming service also has a bunch of programs that are just too edgy for the Disney Channel, but not compelling enough to make it on other streaming platforms. A great example of this is the new John Stamos sports show Big Shot. Hailing from creators David E. Kelley and Brad Garrett, the show will prove revolutionary to those who have never seen any kind of inspirational sports storytelling before. Continue Reading →
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
It’s been 25 years since we last saw coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) and his ragtag hockey team came out victorious in D3: The Mighty Ducks. But when they return in the Disney+ spinoff series The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, things are a little different. For instance, Bombay isn't the same man he was; he now hates hockey and kids. Continue Reading →
There are two moments in The Wilds that so succinctly summarize the show’s tone, we have just have to start with them. In the first episode, Leah Rilke (Sarah Pidgeon) barrels directly down the lens of the camera and declares the life of a teenage girl in America in the 21st Century to be literal hell as if in direct conversation with the audience. Then, later in the series, Rachel Reid (Reign Edwards) searches for the word melodrama, applying it to the actions of her fellow island isolated survivors. And that’s The Wilds for you. Tremendously unsubtle and one-hundred percent aware of it. It also happens to be very good. 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 →