(Yes I do plan on writing a thing about why I keep comparing superhero movies to old Bond films.)
What Black notables would you like to see biopics made about?
James Baldwin, starring Don Cheadle, directed by Steve McQueen
Shirley Chisholm, starring Regina King, directed by Ava DuVernay
Trayvon Martin, starring Tristan Wilds, directed by Ryan Coogler
Frederick Douglass played by Jeffrey Wright
Mary Bowser played by Viola Davis
Paul Robeson played by Eamonn Walker
I was in New York City last weekend at the fabulous MoCCA Arts Fest, which I hope to write up soon, but as a result, I missed a lot of TV! Since all of my current followers know me from Mad World, I figure some of my thoughts on other TV shows would not go amiss.
Hannibal 1x01: “Aperitif” and 1x02: “Amuse-Bouche”
Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite movies, and Mads Mikkelsen one of my favorite villains (actor of villains, anyway), so getting him to play Hannibal Lecter is a stroke of genius as far as I’m concerned. Though it took him a little while to show up. Still, even with his limited screen time, he didn’t disappoint. If this show goes on the three seasons Bryan Fuller has planned before they hit the Red Dragon storyline (neither movie version have I seen in full), I’m mainly concerned that Mads will get bored of filming all those sinister cooking scenes, where the camera makes love to the meat.
Hugh Dancy is intriguing as Will Graham, playing him along the autism spectrum. I have to wonder if this show was specially formulated for my mom, a special ed teacher and Lifetime movie buff. I may have to suggest it to her. Anyway, I’m a sucker for camera work that tries to show you how the character thinks, though it can be a little heavy-handed at time.
I definitely found the second episode better than the first, which was a little too slow-burn for me, but I am looking forward to the next episode where (it seems) they will bring the Hobbs case to a close. My main concern with making an FBI-serial-killer procedural named after an at-large and undetected cannibal was “How do you top that?” Well, the mushroom guy in “Amuse-Bouche” was way creepier than anyone else on the show so far, even than Hannibal, so good on you Fuller for rising to that challenge.
The addition of Laurence Fishburne’s Agent Jack Crawford and Caroline Dhavernas’s Dr. Alana Bloom to the cast are a huge bonus, and I’m completely charmed by Hettienne Park’s crime scene investigator Beverly Katz, who carries off the sort of grim sense of humor one would need for this job excellently.
Archer 4x12 and 4x13: “Sea Tunt parts I and II”
Archer has been and remains one of the funniest shows on TV, and I can’t decide what was the best part of the season finale. Guest voices by Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, and Jon Hamm? A vague Sealab 2021 crossover (as the premiere crossed over with Bob’s Burgers)? Cheryl proving that she’s crazy like a fox and that her stupid brother Barry is indeed pretty stupid? Lana forging ahead with having a baby without Cyril’s help (or DNA)? Nope, the best part was Archer booping people on the nose.
All I can hope for is a Spy Babies episode in the future with Lana’s baby and the Wee Baby Seamus.
Vikings 1x06: “Burial of the Dead”
I started watching this show (as I did Hatfields and McCoys) because I wanted to support the idea of the History Channel delving into historical fiction rather than continuing down the road of contemporary reality; I feel personally rewarded by the news that it has been renewed for another season. (Also, apparently they’re developing a miniseries about the Sons of Liberty— as a Bostonian and history buff, all I can say is about goddamn time.)
Anyway, this was the episode the rest had been leading up to. Ragnar challenges Earl Haraldson to a fight to the death and (spoiler!) wins. His wife, Siggy, does the sane thing and stabs the hideous old Swede Haraldson had married their daughter off to, and now everyone is rushing to swear fealty to Ragnar. Rollo switches loyalties another three times in this episode as is his wont, offering to marry Siggy with the promise that someday he will be Earl— presumably by killing Ragnar. Ragnar needs to stop putting up with his brother’s shit, let me tell you. Also, Siggy needs to watch out for Rollo leaving her for Lagertha once he widows her. Rollo, for his part, should give the whole thing up because Lagertha will slice him to ribbons if he’s successful, no matter how pregnant she is at the time.
All in all, good royal intrigue and shenanigans with sort-of heavy-handed explanations of Viking funeral customs as they are explained to the Christian monk/slave Athelstan. Athelstan didn’t have much to do this episode, but I continue to hope they’ll go some place different with his character— having him convert to Viking religion rather than convert some of the Norse to Christianity. Because I’ve read those “conflicts between the Old Ways and the New” stories so many times. (You should read Things Fall Apart, by the way, if only to understand why the recently late Chinua Achebe trended worldwide on Twitter when he died).
That’s it for now. More thoughts and/or feels to come later.