TV Log: Don’t F**k with Cats

If you’re into True Crime, I direct you to a compact 3-episode series on Netflix, Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer. There’s a lot of division among the few critics who reviewed it, but I found it well done, fair, and fascinating. And I can’t help but think that the critics who didn’t like it simply prefer to have their heads buried in the sand.

Ashlie D. Stevens, Salon.com:

…with its deconstruction of the psyche of an internet killer, “Don’t F**k with Cats” is one of the most compelling true crime docuseries that has been produced by Netflix to date.

Agreed.

Kristy Strouse, Film Inquiry:

Watch Don’t F**k With Cats with caution, but watch it none the less.

Yes, and yes. Overall, of course, it doesn’t have the devastating impact of Making a Murderer, but I highly recommend for any fan of true crime.

Tom… PAPA!!

My esteemed readers are due some TV posts, so I’ll start with this. I love Tom Papa. I first got to know his wonderfully good-natured comedy from his regular appearances on Live from Here, the continuation of A Prairie Home Companion. The much-beloved A Prairie Home Companion, I will add, no matter what you must now say about Garrison Keillor.

And Live from Here is, too, much-beloved. And so is Tom Papa. The material in “You’re Doing Great!” seems particularly well suited for me at this point in my life. Apt-tastic, if you will.

Tom… Papa!

Innocence Lost: Making a Murderer Part 2

FOR FANS OF TRUE CRIME, THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS

Almost exactly two years ago I wrote: “Making a Murderer on Netflix is a magnificently compelling, gut-wrenching, and heartbreaking series.”  Part 2, released in October last year, doubles down on being among the most riveting television ever aired.  And where Part 1 might have been shortened by a couple episodes, that is not at all the case in Part 2 — every minute is used to its full value.  For fans of true crime, this is as good as it gets.

SPOILER ALERT! — Referring back to my previous spoiler comments, I will add that the Avery case, in the absence of anything to contradict the evidence raised by Kathleen Zellner —  is even more solidly, and clearly, on the side of his innocence.  Zellner is in a different league than the original defense; we will see where she can take it.  Does this mean a Part 3 is in the offing?

[End of Spoilers]

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So I never was able to produce a TV 2018 part 2 post as intended.  Those items, including Roseanne without Roseanne, are hereby tabled for a future post.

TV Post 2018 Part 1: Winona Ryder

I get goosebumps every time I see this ad.

Understand that when it first aired, you did not know it was Winona Ryder until the reveal.  Knowing ahead of time may diminish the impact, though I don’t think by much.

And that almost concludes my belated TV 2018 Part 1 post.  I sincerely intend to publish Part 2 in the not-too-distant future.

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The short version above is the original I saw all those months ago, and arguably the more potent, but the full-length version may pack even more of a punch.  Apparently there was some controversy around the original airing of this commercial in regards to the MeToo / TimesUp movement(s), but it was another case of people just not getting it.

Twin Peaks Pt. 8. Yes, THAT episode.

Everyone’s written about episode 8 of the Twin Peaks revival.  So what the heck, I’ll throw in my two bits.

As I previously expressed, I was concerned at the outset of the series that it would be both worthy of the original, and up to David Lynch’s lofty mindset.  I considered a series of three escalating mile-markers:

(1)  Is it passable?  Does it meet the bare minimum?  Does it reach the standards of contemporary TV drama set down by, say, the last couple seasons of Fargo, or other of the better TV dramas out there?  Lynch was to direct the entire series, all 18 episodes — something he did not come close to doing with the original.  After not directing film since Inland Empire (2006).  Directing is a lot of work, especially considering the scale of Twin Peaks.  And after all, Lynch is no spring chicken.  That enormous cast list, all those moving parts.  A lot to juggle.

So my biggest concern was that the show would be any good at all.  Not a total embarrassment.  Though a little skeptical at first, that threshold was attained early on.

(2)  Now that it’s passable, is it good?  Is it excellent, even?  Does it reach that tier set by the best of Breaking Bad or Fargo season 1?  Can we hope that it ascends to the level of Mad Men or Better Call Saul?  As I said in my prior post, “Lynch’s mojo is solidly in place, and bright, novel storytelling abounds.”

After the first 4 hours and into episodes 5, 6 and 7, we knew it was good.  Real good.  So warp-factor 2 achieved!

(3)  Episode 8 brought things to a new level: the highest stratosphere of entertainment and art ever presented on television.  This 3rd level is a level, we know, beyond the first two, but also in the realm of the unknown.  As in, we have no f-ing idea what it’s going to be.  Safe to say no one saw Part 8 coming.  That complete unpredictability is thrilling to behold.  Having no idea what’s coming next, but that it’s gonna be good, something ‘wonderful and strange’ — is the ultimate promise of Twin Peaks, a promise more than fulfilled.

Reaching this third tier is more than I could have ever hoped for.

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The most cogent analysis and succinct recaps have been told by Noel Murray of the Times.  I highly recommend you read his episode 8 recap;:

There’s nothing to point to in the history of television that helps describe exactly what this episode attempts.

Considered that way — as something to see and hear, and to react to on a primal level — this hour was phenomenal.

Esquire‘s Corey Atad wrote in his recap titled “Last Night’s Terrifying Twin Peaks Will Be Remembered as One of the Best Episodes of Television Ever” — also highly recommended as further explanation of ep. 8:

David Lynch has unearthed something—unlocked it. He’s devoted his entire career to exploring the roots of evil in men, in both the real world and the unreal. His films are often terrifying. Twin Peaks has been terrifying. Still, I’ve never witnessed anything quite like what Lynch gave us in “Part 8” of The Return.

From its long drive through the night, to its cascade of blotches and sparkles and flames, to its flickering store lights, to its silent expressionism, to its 1950s utopian hellscape of crushed skulls, cigarette-toting vagrants, and bug-frogs, “Part 8” brought to television screens a work of art that escapes narrative confines. Where other shows—and films, too—have used the weird and surreal as window dressing for straightforward storytelling, The Return brings the true avant-garde to bear on a story where clarity is beside the point, and perhaps impossible.

By “clarity,” think “obviousness”.

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Lynch has surpassed all expectations that I may have had.  He hit Twin Peaks full-stride, and is delivering some of his best stuff ever.  I think he’s had a lot of unfinished business stewing in him all these years, because I can’t believe all this material is spontaneous.

The Times post touches on something else: Lynch is turning out to be a great humanitarian.  Twin Peaks is more than entertainment; it serves a higher purpose in benefit to mankind.  Picasso — and many other artists — did this too.  Episode 8 brings to mind Guernica.

Return to Twin Peaks

I’m pretty much loving the new Twin Peaks on Showtime.  There are some bits here and there that seem awkwardly implemented or haphazardly introduced, but overall I’ve been very pleasantly surprised.  My fear was that David Lynch, having been out of the filmmaking game for so long, would have lost his mojo.  More specifically, that the series would have been little more than a re-tread of the original.  No fear: his mojo is solidly in place, and bright, novel storytelling abounds.

The New York Times has written a lot on the return of Twin Peaks, including a good amount of favorable criticism.  On episode (“Part”) 3:

Mostly though, this hour is pure, magnificent abstraction, right down to the unexplained few minutes of Dr. Jacoby’s spray-painting a rack of shovels. The rest of the series could be nothing but Kyle MacLachlan shouting “Hell-ooo-ooo!” at slot machines and this episode alone will have justified the entire “Twin Peaks” revival.

Thankfully, the other 3 hours have been equally worthwhile, which portends well for the remainder of the series: an auspicious beginning to be sure.

I’m really looking forward to this…