Browsing Tag

Television

Posted on June 3, 2016

Outcast: “These things are all around us”

Dawn

Grade: A

Airing on Cinemax on Friday June 3, the first episode of Outcast promises a thoroughly compelling new television series, the most compelling I’ve seen in a while.

Based on the comic of the same name written by Robert Kirkman (and in this opening episode, at least, the series is quite faithful to the comic), Outcast is not unlike Kirkman’s better-known epic, The Walking Dead—although the bleakness of Outcast seems more unrelieved, the characters and landscape more monochrome. Even though the world as we know it is not actually over yet in Outcast, the desolation seems more palpable—perhaps because the world is ending in a way that cuts a bit closer to home than the zombie apocalypse. Despite that difference, Outcast and The Walking Dead are similar in that each takes a violent and easily sensationalized horror subgenre (exorcism, zombies) and weaves it into the fabric of everyday life, creating a horror narrative that relies on realism to induce dread.

At the center of Outcast is Kyle Barnes (played brilliantly by Patrick Fugit). Kyle is the titular “outcast,” although the first episode ends without shedding light on what exactly that means. Kyle has returned to Rome, West Virginia, and is living alone in his childhood home on the outskirts of the dying town. Read more

Posted on July 13, 2015

AMC’s Humans Review: The 21st-century Stepford Wives?

Dawn

Having watched two episodes of AMC’s intriguing new series, Humans (on Sunday nights at 9), I have been struck with how eerily similar it is to the 1975 horror-thriller, The Stepford Wives (Bryan Forbes). Humans is a British-American co-production, running for eight episodes, and based on the award-winning Swedish drama, Real Humans. It is, on the one hand, obviously sci-fi, yet it also partakes of horror, I argue, in that is fundamentally about the dread of an uncertain identity and the terrifyingly tenuous boundaries of the human. Who are we? Who are those around us? Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956) famously took up these questions—and, more recently, so did The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard, 2012). As Marty (Fran Kranz) says, “We are not who we are.” The larger question horror asks is: Are we ever?

Read more

Posted on June 5, 2015

NBC’s Hannibal Review: Visual Horror at its Finest

Elizabeth
Season 3, Episode 1
Episode Title: “Antipasto”

Prior to this season of Hannibal, creator Bryan Fuller promised that the first few episodes would serve as mini films designed to reset the series. Last night’s foray into Hannibal (Mads Mikkelson) and Bedelia’s (Gillian Anderson) life on the run in Europe certainly fit the bill as we spent the entire hour with the two and heard not a peep from anyone remotely affiliated with the FBI. The decision to hone in on the couple and their complicated relationship helped to solidify the evolving nature of these two characters while also suggesting that the coming season will upend our expectations as to where the true horror of the series resides. With its hallucegenic quality and its languid plotting, “Antipasto” is easily one of the show’s finest hours.

Read more

Posted on March 16, 2015

AHS Freak Show & Its Depiction of Societal Normality

Gwen

Season 4 of FX’s American Horror Story premiered October 8, 2014, with Freak Show. Set in 1950s Jupiter, Florida this season rethinks the truths behind post-war “normality” that still permeate society today. Frequently people reflect upon the 1950s with nostalgia or through the lens of the television set, with shows like Father Knows Best (1954-1963) and The Donna Reed Show (1958-1963). What they tend to see is the grey flannel suits, the Levittowns, and pearl-clad housewives who find fulfillment through vacuuming and raising children. Freak Show takes the images and prescriptive behaviors from the 1950s and recasts normality in the spirit of Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place (1956).

Read more

Back to top