Ten Series/ Movies to Avoid—Meh!

As we  become more committed to watching and bingeing shows on Netflix and a myriad of streaming platforms, I find an evening can be entirely wasted viewing disappointing shows, some of which are highly praised by others.  I am willing to risk viewing an idiosyncratic film or series now and then, one that flies under the radar and defies categorization as well. Much to my dismay, some of these choices (listed below) have few negative reviews. Others are just—IMHO—poorly written, lack character development, substitute long action sequences for much needed dialogue, or have...

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“Shining Girls”—A Time Machine

Shining Girls, an Apple TV+   thriller series, is based on the 2013 novel The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.  Totaling eight episodes, Shining Girls (released on April 29 of this year) also can be classified under the science-fiction genre. In the opening scene a little girl, sitting on the front stoop of her house, is approached by a twenty-something adult male — a bit sinister and suspicious-looking — who engages in conversation.  A beady-eyed cocky man with an easy slouch and a bloodless dead gaze, he leaves her with a small painted...

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“The Staircase”—Entryway into Murder?

The Staircase (HBO Max released May 2022), loosely based on the 2004 French documentary by the same name, (see my October 2017 review of the Netflix documentary mini-series) dramatizes the death of wife Kathleen Peterson (Toni Collette), and the subsequent indictment and conviction for her murder by her husband,  the novelist Michael Peterson (Colin Firth). All the features of a murder mystery are here:  deflection, denial, confession, and motive.  Viewers who are fans of the true-crime genre will find this “inspired by a true story”  mini-series to be even...

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“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”–Full Exposure

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, (Hulu, released on June 17), a two-actor comedic drama  set in a hotel room, tells their story while having sex.  There’s nothing fussy, nothing to distract. Human interaction of the most intimate kind–emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and sensually– is the main theme here. Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson), a sixty-three year old, recent widow, has never had an orgasm in her 31-year marriage.  Fearing that this may be her last chance to find out what she has been missing, she hires a young 24-year-old male...

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“Gaslit”–“The Martha Mitchell Effect”

This STARZ series, released immediately before the 50th anniversary of the Watergate scandal, reveals the familiar but also the untold stories of Richard Nixon and his circle of subordinates and eventual whistleblowers.  Gaslit takes us back to the divided America of the early 1970s (pending the “end” of the Vietnam War) with comparisons to the post-Trump havoc of 2022.  First and foremost, however, Gaslit and the Netflix documentary The Martha Mitchell Effect peel back the skin on the story of two marriages: how loyalty to a president over a spouse makes...

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