Here’s a smattering of what I’ve been watching lately on Netflix
American 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.
Torchwood (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 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.