“The Bridge” is awesome!

the bridge, fx, Demián Bichir

The second season of the FX drama might be too ambitious for its own good, but the ride is still pretty thrilling.

In its freshman season last year, FX’s The Bridge was one of those series where you applauded the effort, knowing that its failure to live up to its potential wasn’t a real crime as much as a minor disappointment. It came from the FX stable — and no channel is even as remotely audacious these days. In short, it was a big swing that resulted in a long, majestic foul ball — if baseball metaphors are a thing that work for you.

As season two starts Wednesday, the appraisal of ambition has never been as difficult as this. Critics love ambition. The farther a drama wants to move itself from a rote Law & Order setting the better. Bold ideas, dark strands, thrilling creative reaches — that’s what we want to see. Not enough shows even try. Many that do, fail; some are applauded for their effort, others mocked for their lame-ass attempts.

The Bridge in season two is one of those shows where you want to sit down with it and have a talk. As in, “Look, we wanted you to aim higher and go bigger, but this is ridiculous.”

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Though, in season one, The Bridge stuck to the serial-killer template of its Danish inspiration (Bron/Broen) — about a murder victim left on a bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden — and admirably modified that for American audiences by setting the story on the U.S.-Mexico border, it seemed, even then, too murky and ambitious for its abilities. But unlike shows that clearly don’t have the talent to tell the stories they are interested in, The Bridge was a damned fine drama that worked on many more levels than it faltered, so each week was part impressive attributes and part failed dreams. In short, it was a series that was uneven but worth the investment, particularly because a course correction was assured.

Well, about that. Let’s discuss.

In many ways, The Bridge is better in season two than in season one, but for some reason it decided to triple down on the plot and make the whole thing a complex web of interconnected stories, with each story having its own dense motivations and only rarely — in the early going — having a clarity of vision that will appeal to viewers. That is to say that The Bridge is confusing, muddled, ambitious but stunted — a victim of the drive critics tend to applaud. There has been chatter that The Bridge is somehow like The Wire in that it wants to connect a vast and confusing world to a number of narratives that, though distant in concept, all relate back to the big picture.

One word about that: no.

There was never a moment in The Wire when the series didn’t completely and with full confidence know where it was going and what it wanted to say. That is not a series you compare others to without reservations.

It’s far more fair to The Bridge to say that it’s a series that means well. It wants to please. It wants to be A Show About Something Big. The performances of Demian Bichir as Mexican detective Marco Ruiz and Diane Kruger as El Paso detective Sonya Cross hold the show together — though last season’s ill-advised idea to not reveal that Cross was autistic made Kruger look, in the first few episodes, like she was over-acting. Still, the show works best when south meets north and the complexities of corruption and the will to prosecute intertwine. The Bridge also has decided to keep El Paso reporters Daniel Frye (Matthew Lillard) and Adriana Mendez (Emily Rios) heavily in the mix, because there are sub-stories to delve into there, plus Annabeth Gish. By making everybody relevant on some level, The Bridge can seem as complicated as Game of Thrones, but much of that is just trickery (or excessive plotting). Unlike Thrones, which manages to be compelling despite an ungainly cast, The Bridge seems to struggle more when it spreads out storylines. But that struggle isn’t readily apparent — meaning the notion is noble and the execution works to a point, until it doesn’t. You’ll probably come to a point in The Bridge where the subplots seem more burdensome than rewarding, but it’s easy to forget how many dramas take absolutely no chances. So, it’s hard to castigate.

All of this might sound like season two of The Bridge is some kind of mess to be avoided. But that’s not true. We are just beginning the second season of a very challenging series. It may not have the mix down just yet — and that constricts its success — but at this rate The Bridge will figure out what works and what doesn’t and then it may be able to ascend to the elite level it desires. Just because a show tries too hard doesn’t make it a failure. The Bridge may, in fact, pull off this crazy juggling act of storylines by the end of the season. Don’t sleep on something so audacious. But at the same time, hope for future days of clarity.

 

Original link here

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Twitter: @BastardMachine

harrelson, wooderson, hbo, television, the4519, mcconaughey

Miss Breaking Bad? Try “True Detective” on HBO

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A southern noir serial killer murder mystery, following an odd couple of detectives who disagree about road trip philosophizing, and a story told by unreliable narrators, in two timelines, with meth dealers, satanists and some literary references, for good measure. So goes my attempt to sum up HBO’s True Detective in one sentence. It’s probably more useful to say that it’s a very good show.

Or more correctly, the first four of its eight-episode run have been very good. It is at once eerie, funny, occasionally frightening, a little obnoxious, strange and entertaining.

Our protagonists are two detectives, Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey), and the plot follows two mysteries, separated by 17 years. In 1995, Hart and Cohle team up to track down a serial killer with a penchant for occult spectacle, and the deeper they get into the case the more each man unravels.

true detective, wooderson, hbo, the4519

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey play a pair of odd detectives in this southern noir serial killer murder mystery show

In 2012, Hart and Cohle, badgeless and battered, are interviewed separately about the events of 1995, and about each other. Two new detectives are investigating a new murder with similarities to the original case, but it’s obvious that they’re interested in more than comparing notes. The modern mystery is twofold: what happened to destroy Hart and Cohle, and what’s going on with this new investigation?

But neither Hart nor Cohle want to co-operate, exactly, and between their personalities, personal demons and the sticky plot, it becomes slowly clear they aren’t trustworthy narrators. Hart pretends to be a regular family man, abiding by the world’s boundaries. Cohle, who’s also a bundle of contradictions, has hallucinatory visions from a past of drug abuse and is obsessively self-controlled – even with his binge drinking, if that makes any sense. One plays dumb and the other plays smart. With each of them telling skewed stories, and the 1995 hunt slipping into the surreal, it becomes clear that there’s probably only one “true detective” meant to piece this puzzle together, and that detective is you.

And it’s great fun. McConaughey outdoes himself (again) at playing a captivating weirdo, and he makes his unlikely character convincing in all kinds of ways. His bleak, sometimes annoying proclamations (“We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self.”) are redeemed by brilliantly deadpan cracks (Hart suggests an evangelical tent congregation has moved, Cohle quips: “Tents usually do.”) and he plays a functional addict – hyper-self-aware and painfully tense – extremely well.

Harrelson, meanwhile, gets amusingly and understandably fed up with Cohle (“Let’s make the car a place of silent reflection”), even as he undermines his straight-man act. The banter is uneven and can verge on melodramatic, but Cohle’s witticisms and sheer awkwardness, along with Hart’s quiet moments of exasperation, usually make up for the flaws.

And like Cohle, the show itself can be delightfully and creepily weird. Director Cary Fukunaga lingers on bizarre bits of Louisiana’s landscape and finds clever ways to play with perception. (In one still scene, a ship, of which only the top half is visible behind a hill, slowly moves in the background, creating the illusion of the background moving past the foreground.) T Bone Burnett, master of Americana, provides all the right music: eerie drums in a desolate church, rangy guitar on the road and terrifying God-knows-what for a distant shot of a man in his underwear wandering the swamp with a machete.

True Detective may fail to reach the high bar its set itself – I didn’t even get to the allusions to Ambrose Bierce and Joseph Conrad – but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching. This story is a one-off for the writer, director and cast; no matter what, Cohle and Hart aren’t coming back after episode eight. Anything could happen.

But the show is really worth it for the tricky storytelling, the careful details and the strong performances (including from Michelle Monaghan, who does a lot with little as Hart’s wife). Don’t get me wrong, True Detective is grim, dark and occasionally pompous, but it earns every minute of the time you invest in it.

Orginal article here

“I am a lover of humanity, not a hater.”

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Phil Robertson is facing some serious backlash in the wake of his controversial GQinterview, but that doesn’t mean he’s backing down on his stance against homosexuality. 

On Sunday, Dec. 22, the Duck Dynasty star spoke out for the first time since being suspended indefinitely from his family’s hit A&E show. Robertson, who granted the Daily Mail access to the Bible study group he addressed at a West Monroe, Louisiana, church, cited his Christian religion as the reason for his unwavering stance, saying, “I will not give or back off from my path.”

“I love all men and women,” said the 67-year-old Robertson family patriarch.  “I am a lover of humanity, not a hater.”

 

“Sexual sins are numerous and many, I have a few myself,” he admitted. “So what is your safest course of action? If you’re a man, find yourself a woman, marry them and keep your sex right there.” 

“Commonsense says we are not going to procreate the human race unless we have a man and a woman. From the beginning Jesus said, ‘It is a man and a woman,'” he went on. “Adam was made and Eve was made for this reason. They left their fathers and mothers and be united to become one flesh, that’s what marriage is all about.”

“All I did was quote from the scriptures, but they just didn’t know it,” he claimed of his anti-gay comments. “Whether I said it, or they read it, what’s the difference? The sins are the same, humans haven’t changed.”

Duck Dynasty, love it or hate it……at least it’s not “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”! 

In ‘Duck Dynasty’ hometown local loyalty prevails

In ‘Duck Dynasty’ hometown local loyalty prevails

WEST MONROE, La. (AP) — “Faith. Family. Ducks.” It’s the unofficial motto for the family featured in the TV reality show Duck Dynasty and that homespun philosophy permeates nearly everything in this small north Louisiana town.

It’s perhaps most on display at the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, where the Robertson family prays and preaches most Sunday mornings.

The family — including patriarch Phil Robertson, who ignited a controversy last week when he told a magazine reporter that gays are sinners and African-Americans were happy under Jim Crow laws — were in a front pew this past Sunday. And standing by beliefs they say are deeply rooted in their reading of the Bible…..

Archer Season 5 is coming soon!

FX just debuted a new “Archer” Season 5 poster, and Lana certainly is showing her pregnancy.

That is the most attention-grabbing part of the “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”-themed new image, which comes courtesy of Uproxx. Lana flaunts her baby belly while Malory sunbathes, Krieger swims fully clothed in the water and Cheryl/Carol goes country. Just what is actually going on here?

This wouldn’t be the first time an “Archer” promo went pop culture-themed for Season 5. A teaser music video was a recreation of “Top Gun’s” “Danger Zone” that doesn’t seem to actually have anything to do with the Season 5 plot. The case could be the same with this poster.

When Zap2it recently caught up with Chris Parnell, he did say that big changes were in store for the ISIS gang. Who knows how Lana’s pregnancy will actually affect the team, especially with her baby’s father yet to be revealed.

“[Season 5 is] going to be very different. It’s going to be a big shakeup for the ISIS gang. They’re not going to be in ISIS anymore,” he says. “They’re going to be staking out digs in somebody’s house. They’ll still travel; the story will still have a similar tone to it. The show premieres in January, so you’ll find out in due time.”

“Archer” Season 5 premieres on FX on Jan. 13 at 10 p.m

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After many, many years of hinting and teasing, the newest teaser that FX has released for Archer Season 5 has fulfilled a promise that we have all longed for. Sterling Archer is. Going. To. The.DAAAANGER ZOOOONE!