Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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OITNB's downward trajectory continues in the final season, Season 7. By now it is all plot-based and the engagement levels are close to zero. The plots themselves feel like retreads of old ones: there's very little new under the sun. The transformation of previously-likeable characters into irritating characters continues. Lorna is particularly annoying.
There was quite a bit of potential though: several of the ex-inmates are now on the outside, so you get to see how the US deals with ex-cons. This was reasonably interesting, as you see how badly ex-cons are treated by the system and how the odds are stacked in favour of them going back to jail. Unfortunately, the central character in this is Piper, and she's irritating, as always.
The other area that had potential was the sub-plot involving deportees and ICE, as this shows how the US treats illegal immigrants (short answer: not very well). Unfortunately, the writers ruin this by massively overegging the pudding: extreme cases, out-of-the-blue soapbox speeches and political finger-pointing. Rather than address the issues with sensitivity and subtlety, they're rammed down your throat. So preachy.
Season 7 was quite an ordeal to get through. I only put myself through it to see the series through to the end. Even then the writers don't make it easy: 13 episodes with a 1.5-hour final episode! In total that's about 14 hours of my life wasted.
Season 3 of True Detective, released 3Â½ years after Season 2, initially looked very promising and had the potential to see a return to the form of Season 1. Puzzling mystery and a 3-time period storyline made for intriguing and engaging drama.
However, the mystery soon dissipated as the 3-time period formula gave away much of where the mystery was heading. Rather than being a murder mystery it became a human/relationship drama, and not a very interesting one. Nic Pizzolatto did his best to recreate the dark, brooding atmosphere that permeated Season 1 but it canï¿½Â?Â?t hide the lack of genuine intrigue or of character engagement. Good ending though.
1979. Agent Holden Ford is attached to the FBIs Behavioural Sciences Unit, headed by veteran agent Bill Tench. A new type of killer is emerging, one that kills regularly and without apparent motive. Due to the lack of motive, it is difficult to profile and apprehend the perpetrator in a murder investigation. In order to reduce this knowledge deficit, Tench and Ford set out to question incarcerated sequence killers and build up a database of their backgrounds, behaviours, drivers and motives in order to make apprehending such criminals easier in future.
Brilliant drama series, largely based on a true story, with the names of the main characters changed. (Interesting fact: the true-life character Holden Ford is based on, John Douglas, was the inspiration for the character of Jack Crawford in the Hannibal books and movies.).
Well-told, showing how behavioural science evolved as a means of identifying and apprehending serial killers. Quite fascinating, especially when you consider that as recently as 1979 nothing was really known about serial killers motives or profiles. In 1979, the expression serial killer wasnt even a term! (Bill Tenchs real-life character coined it).
The individual cases are quite riveting, and show the new method of profiling in action. Also shows that, like with any new, revolutionary idea, hitting upon the idea is only half the battle convincing others, especially those you rely on to follow through on your work in this case prosecutors, superiors, other law enforcement officers is the other half.
Good character depth. Each of the main characters is clearly drawn and brings their personality, issues and hang-ups to the job.
On that note, the only negative aspect is the character of Holden Ford. I often found him irritating cold, over-thinking, nerdy and paranoid. The episode involving the teacher was the low point of the series and a great example of the downside of Fords personality. Maybe thats the point what makes him brilliant also makes him a dingbat.
Cant wait for Season 2.
Okay, but not great.
The final 100 days of World War 1, showing how the Allies went on the offensive and secured the victory. The documentary centres on four key Allied leaders: Field Marshall Ferdinand Foch, Field Marshall Douglas Haig, General John Monash and General Arthur Currie.
Okay, but not great, documentary. Fairly standard documentary with not too many insights. My knowledge of WW1 is better than most but I am not an expert. However, there were very few details that made me think "Gee, that's interesting. I didn't know that".
The other problem is that the series is Australian and Canadian made and the producers slant the story in favour of their home countries. Generals Monash (Australian) and Currie (Canadian) are made out to be the saviours of the Allies, succeeding where nobody else can. While they are great Generals, and Monash particularly is one of the greatest Generals of WW1, and their contribution was great, this one-eyedness severely diminished the contributions of other forces towards the victory. The marketing of Monash and Currie is quite over-the-top and overt. (And I'm Australian!).
Still, not bad, just would have preferred a more balanced and engaging view.