Coven of the American Ripper Horror Street Story

Two seasons of Ripper Street and three of American Horror Story are currently available on instant Netflix

Ripper Street

 

Ripper Street (2013) – TV-MA

It’s been six months since the last Jack the Ripper killing, and East London is hopeful that his reign of terror might have run its course.”

Ripper Street is a nice period piece with modern sensibilities. There are some missteps along the way but it doesn’t miserably fail the historical tests like Copper and the new BBC Three Musketeers do. I was glad that they resisted the urge to ‘solve’ the original Ripper killings.

Ripper’s second season builds on the first. I really admired the character arcs as some of the characters find themselves trapped in self-destructive patterns of behavior while others grow, evolve, and/or seek redemption. The female characters are stronger this season, even though it’s difficult to feature them as much since the show is about a police squad.

This is an easy recommendation, particularly if you enjoyed the first season.

American Horror Story

 

American Horror Story (2011-3) – TV-MA

Exploring humankind’s unsettling capacity for evil, this darkly twisted drama plays upon the power of supernatural fears and everyday horrors.”

American Horror Story is definitely the kitchen sink of horror shows. The second season was set in an insane asylum and had all the usual horror tropes you would see there but also had Nazi medical experiments, aliens, a serial killer, and lots more. Each of the seasons takes a separate locale and tells a set of (mostly) separate stories. I say mostly because while the individual seasons are in separate locales and ages, there are familial links between the seasons.

Third season just became available on instant Netflix. It is called Coven and, naturally, features witches. Once again the kitchen sink aspect takes over as, in addition to witchcraft, we also have voodoo, another serial killer, ghosts, zombies, a Frankenstein-like creation, and lots more. We also have racism, date rape, gang rape, necrophilia, and all sorts of things that have the opportunity to offend.

American Horror Story in general, and Coven in particular, are ridiculously fast-paced. If you dislike any particular subplot, worry not as it will soon be disposed of. The word delirious often comes to mind as each episode seeks to top the last. I enjoyed it but could not show it to my wife.

Watching Lately – American Torchwood Doomsday Horror Story Book

Here’s a smattering of what I’ve been watching lately on Netflix

American Horror StoryAmerican Horror Story (2011) – TV-MA

“Exploring humankind’s unsettling capacity for evil, this darkly twisted drama plays upon the power of supernatural fears and everyday horrors. Each season brings back familiar faces, but they’re playing different characters in an all-new setting.”

I had to watch this by myself as it featured something under the bed in an episode which is one of my beloved wife’s fears. I finally finished season one of American Horror Story. It is fine gonzo TV. Much like Ryan Murphy’s and Brad Falchuk’s previous Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story takes anything that is even tangentially related to the subject matter and tosses it in the proverbial blender. I really enjoyed that the first season told a complete story and that season two tells a different story (this time set in an asylum).

The cast does an admirable job of taking the increasingly silly premise seriously. Jessica Lange is wonderful as is Zachary Quinto (even though Quinto starts with a stereotype, he makes the character his own). Just sit back and enjoy and try not to think of all the plotholes.

TorchwoodTorchwood (2006-9) – TV-14

“A spinoff from the long-running “Doctor Who,” this wild sci-fi series chronicles the exploits of the mysterious Capt. Jack Harkness, who leads the Torchwood Institute team in the fight against hostile alien life forms.”

Jenny and I are two-thirds of the way through the first season of Torchwood. We had worked our way through all of the new Doctor Who episodes and chose Torchwood to continue our evening sci-fi fix. Even though Torchwood is a Doctor Who spinoff, the feel is much different. I would say that Torchwood is more serious but darker would be more accurate as Torchwood has moments of whimsy.

Sex and sexuality play a fairly large role in some of the episodes and are at least mentioned in the others. I rather enjoy Captain Jack’s ambivalent sexuality. I like the show but I’m impatiently awaiting more Doctor Who episodes. Come on Netflix, please?

Doomsday BookDoomsday Book (2012) – Not Rated

“In these three stories about the terrifying near future, a lonely zombie reflects on his condition, a robot shows that he can teach humans about the soul and a young girl regrets an unusual Internet purchase that may bring about the end of the world.”

I love apocalyptic stories. Doomsday Book brings you three of them, all by top Korean directors. Unfortunately something you should never feel about the end of the world is ho-hum and that’s how these stories left me.

The first segment (zombies) has a mildly interesting premise but does almost nothing with it. There is too much amateurish slapstick humor that just doesn’t work. It was enough of a chore to get through that I almost didn’t watch the other two.

The middle segment (robot) is easily the best. There is a lot of philosophical material here as a robot may or may not achieve enlightenment. This one felt rushed and could easily have been fleshed out into a full movie. It was a little sterile and, oddly, the only scene not set in the monastery did not really fit in.

The final segment is a single joke, stretched to fit a forty-minute segment. The idea was sound but not executed well. The only thing the second segment lacked was humor and that is found in abundance here. I especially liked the portable bomb shelter.