FARGO Season 5 – Review by Diane Carson

Fans of the 1996 film Fargo and the television series of the same title know that calm, understated, traditional fare will never dominate the narrative. This pattern holds true in Fargo’s fifth season set in 2019 Minnesota and North Dakota, as titles repeatedly remind us. This iteration blissfully delivers the desired off-beat humor and distinctive, inimitable violence. Very serious issues undergird the entire series, most significantly domestic abuse cloaked as the divine-directed dominance of wives by husbands. Creator Noah Hawley manages to entertain and inject humor into the weighty content.

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DEATH AND OTHER DETAILS – Review by Susan Granger

Hulu’s 10-episode crime series Death and Other Details, created by Mike Weiss and Heidi Cole McAdams, strives to be different, unearthing the generational secrets of internationally powerful families. Set in the Mediterranean Sea on the luxurious S.S. Verona yacht, the plot focuses on Imogene Scott , the prime suspect in a locked-room murder mystery. A prologue explains that – when Imogene was 10 years-old – her mother died suspiciously. Although world-famous British detective Rufus Cotesworthwas summoned, he’s been unable to crack the case. Now 28, Imogene is on-board with the wealthy Collier family who took her in after her mother’s tragic demise. Patriarchal Lawrence Collier is retiring and Imogen’s best-friend, Anna Collier, is ready to become CEO of Collier Mills, a textile company.

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THE GILDED AGE Season 2 – Review by Susan Granger

The second season of Julian Fellowes’ genteel, rococo soap-opera known as The Gilded Age finds ambitious 19th century NYC aristocrats dressed in bustles and top hats. Ambition meets its match as traditional customs collide with innovative schemes, proving that when the old rules don’t bend, something has to break, And since much of the filming took place in and around New York and Rhode Island, more than 60 of Broadway’s brightest musical stars comprise the cast, giving it a frivolous upstairs/downstairs aura – like ‘Downton Abbey Lite.’

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THE IDOL – Review by Susan Granger

HBO’s much heralded, salacious The Idol came and went so quickly that many missed this supposed big-budget backlash in the #MeToo era. The cringe-worthy, now-cancelled six-part series revolves around Jocelyn, a masochistic pop-star played by Lily-Rose Depp. Even with its obvious allusions to self-destructive Britney Spears, the plot is too plain, the narrative disjointed and the dialogue dreadful. It’s unclear why Jocelyn would be so obsessively attracted to creepy Tedros or why the rest of the cast would be seduced into his abusive cult. He exudes zero charisma.

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DARK WINDS Season 2 – Review by Susan Granger

Starting its second season, AMC’s Western series Dark Winds is a pulpy procedural drama set in New Mexico’s Navajo Nation during the early 1970s.
Based on two of Tony Hillerman’s best-selling novels – Listening Woman and People of Darkness – it revolves around laconic tribal police officer Joe Leaphorn, played by veteran character actor Zahn McClaron (Reservation Dogs), who is actually Lakota on his mother’s side.

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INVASION – Review by Susan Granger

On the advice of my friend critic-turned-director Rod Lurie (The Outpost), I just caught up with the ominous sci-fi series Invasion that made its debut in 2021. This 10-episode saga begins as strange objects descend from the sky. In Oklahoma, a mysterious circular crater in a cornfield attracts the attention of retiring small-town Sheriff John Bell Tyson (Sam Neill), who is searching for meaning in his career. Everywhere, spiky, metallic, seemingly indestructible, spider-like creatures from outer space are wreaking havoc and destroying cities around the globe.

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LONDON KILLS – Review by Diane Carson

London Kills relies on a tried and true pattern. Some Londoner discovers a body in the opening scene, detectives show up, gather evidence, and proceed to interrogate those close to the victim. Those nearest usually include the murderer, though the police must navigate multiple lies before uncovering the truth. Each murder is usually solved within a self-contained episode. Created by Paul Marquess, the police procedural has a documentary feel with occasionally improvised dialogue.

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THE LINCOLN LAWYER – Review by Diane Carson

Among the many good law and detective series, the ones that stand out present complex ideas and characters, especially when the investigative team includes diverse individuals. Among the best writers with works adapted for both the police and court arenas is Michael Connelly, the creator of The Lincoln Lawyer series. The diverse personalities and varied ethnicities distinguish the drama that targets contemporary issues: an arrogant video game designer, gentrification, bribery, compromised cops, and more. Multiple, atypical L.A. locations add an important element..

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HIJACK – Review by Diane Carson

Hijack feeds that adrenaline rush of events unfolding in real time, this one over seven hours. There’s no ticking clock, but time is of the essence after Kingdom Flight KA29 leaves Dubai for London. Within minutes, several hijackers—men and one woman—take control of the plane. it doesn’t take long to establish that on the aircraft and on the ground in London, these terrorists will murder without hesitation. The stakes are astronomical, literally life and death for two hundred plus passengers. Idris Elba elevates the intensity as he charismatically commands the camera.

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1899 – Review by Susan Granger

When a trusted friend recommended the supernatural Netflix sci-fi series 1899, he urged me to see it quick – because – despite audience enthusiasm and positive reviews – it’s been cancelled. So I did – joining legions of bewildered viewers, wondering why there won’t be a second season for this spooky, genre-juggling maritime mystery? Was it a tax-write off? Forbes concluded: “Netflix is becoming a graveyard stacked with dead series and unfinished conclusions.”

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