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precision
May 7, 2006

hug your posting pals


quote:

Los Angeles. 1967.

Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny, "Californication," "The X-Files"), a decorated World War II vet and homicide detective, barely recognizes the city he's now policing. Long hair, cheap drugs, rising crime, protests, free love, police brutality, Black Power and the Vietnam War are radically remaking the world he and the Greatest Generation saved from fascism 20 years ago.

So when Emma Karn (Emma Dumont, "Salvation," "Bunheads"), the 16-year-old daughter of an old girlfriend, goes missing in a sea of hippies and Hodiak agrees to find her, he faces only hostility, distrust and silence. He enlists the help of Brian Shafe (Grey Damon, "True Blood," "Friday Night Lights") - a young, idealistic undercover vice cop who's been allowed to grow his hair out - to infiltrate this new counterculture and find her.

The generational conflict between the two is immediate and heated, yet they're both dedicated officers and soon realize the need to bring Emma home is more urgent than they foresaw. The immediacy arises because she has joined a small but growing band of drifters under the sway of a career criminal who now dreams of being a rock star: Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony, "Game of Thrones").

Ringing with the unparalleled music of the era, "Aquarius" is a sprawling work of historical fiction that begins two years before the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders. It's a shocking thriller, a nuanced character drama and, in the end, the story of how we became who we are today.

Writer John McNamara ("In Plain Sight") serves as executive producer with Marty Adelstein ("Prison Break"), David Duchovny and Melanie Greene. "Aquarius" is a production of Tomorrow Studios, a joint partnership between Marty Adelstein and ITV Studios.

The New York Times posted:

Unusual choices can be found throughout “Aquarius,” and they are part of what makes this drama so good. It’s so different from most network cop series that NBC is making all 13 episodes of available to binge-watch, Netflix style, on NBC.com and other on-demand platforms after the show’s debut Thursday night.

...

But “Aquarius” looks at the psychedelic Summer of Love through the smoky filter of a 1940s film noir. The cinematography is especially counterintuitive — interiors are moodily dark, and colors are so drained that at times “Aquarius” looks like a black-and-white movie. Even at midday, the California sun looks dim: Some exterior scenes look as if they were shot through the gray-green glass of a vintage Coca-Cola bottle.

And that’s the prism through which Mr. Duchovny’s character, Sam Hodiak, sees the flower power revolution.

...

The trail quickly leads to Mr. Manson (Gethin Anthony, “Game of Thrones”), a would-be singer-songwriter with a criminal record and a cult following of brainwashed groupies. Mr. Anthony doesn’t look much like the real Manson, but he is scarily persuasive as a psychopath with a top note of charm.

The trail also circles back to the button-down West Coast establishment and in particular an influential lawyer who holds fund-raisers for Richard M. Nixon.

...

And it keeps getting easier to be graphic about the past. In the first few episodes of “Aquarius,” a 16-year-old girl is coerced into having group sex, a man attempts to sodomize another man at knife point, and a policewoman posing as a free-love hippie chick performs oral sex on one of Mr. Manson’s lieutenants to preserve her cover.

“Aquarius” blends contemporary mores with 1940s movie mystique to paint a disturbing — and compelling — portrait of the peace and love generation.



I'm five episodes in and loving it. This is a drat interesting show with a hell of a lot of style.

:siren: Until the end of June, the entire season is available on NBC's website, their mobile app, and Hulu. These are slightly less censored than the broadcast versions will be, so I hear.

"Charlie has a vision. Someday...he's going to be more famous than the Beatles. And we're going to help get him there."

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Jean Eric Burn
Nov 10, 2007



I watched 4 episodes. Show is very good at times. Probably the worst part is the shaky cam. Like literally the camera randomly dips down and then back up super violently. A lot. Like when people are just calmly talking in an office, the camera is jutting all over. Also everything is blurry as poo poo and I don't know if I would call it an artistic choice. The camera work just loving sucks overall.

Everything else is really very good though and from what I've seen this show has ~TVIV darling~ written all over it.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


It's a shame it doesn't seem to be getting much traction because it's good so far. I think the first episode is trying way too hard though and I feel almost like they're trying to do something like 'Zodiac' with the sheen of 'CSI'. It doesn't quite come together

Duchovny is good though, as are the rest of the cast. It seems an odd thing to say but Manson is so clearly portrayed as evil from the off that you wonder why anyone would follow him, despite how charismatic he is. From what I understand of real life he didn't quite get bitter and paranoid until just before the Tate/Labianca murders, but really that's just a minor criticism. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of it shapes up.

precision
May 7, 2006

hug your posting pals


I'd even say the first three episodes are a bit "trying too hard", because they introduce so much stuff so fast. Like, the Manson story is front-loaded but once the season starts to stretch out, the Black Panthers have a huge subplot, there's so much more to the show than just the Manson angle.

As the episodes go on, too, Manson actually becomes less blatantly evil and it's a shame because they ruined their chance at ambiguity by the things he does in the first two episodes. There's a sequence in episode 5 in particular where Manson is confronted by the lawyer, and he presses his chest up to the lawyer's gun and says he'd be "honored" to die, that he WANTS to die. It works, but it would have worked so much better if the audience were less omnipotent; it feels like somebody watched the show, then said "we need to establish Manson as an irredeemable villain in the first episode, because there are people who might watch this who somehow don't already know Manson is a crazy rear end in a top hat in real life".

e: Oh and yeah, they are totally going for a Zodiac vibe, and it usually works

e2: Also, I hope they're letting Manson watch this, and I would genuinely want to hear what he has to say about it.

precision fucked around with this message at 14:27 on Jun 2, 2015

Davros1
Jul 19, 2007

You've got to admit, you are kind of implausible





precision posted:


e2: Also, I hope they're letting Manson watch this, and I would genuinely want to hear what he has to say about it.

Yeah, I'd doubt he give it a ringing endorsement.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Manson is fascinating because he becomes this dark embodiment of the failed American dream, more so because he came at a time when the US was going through social upheavel. He seems intrinsinctly linked to that.

Plus on a surface level, his story seemed one of someone who was soundly rejected by Hollywood and so decided on their own way if becoming famous.

precision
May 7, 2006

hug your posting pals


Apparently 5.67 million people watched the premiere. Is that a good number?

Tonight is episode 3 (the "first episode" was a two-parter). I would say to give it a chance even if you had complaints about the beginning, because things start getting really good around episodes 3-5. For one thing, (extremely mild spoiler) Emma is actually rescued from Manson quite early in the season.

steakmancer
May 18, 2010

by Lowtax


I really hope this show gets a second season, the setting is so fantastic in contrast to the non-David Duchovny writing. Female parts save for Claire Holt's feel really one-dimensional, especially Grace Karn who rapidly alternates between loving Kodiak while actively trying to whitewash her marriage and hating him while trying to bring her family back.

Best parts of the show personally are the power dynamics within the burgeoning Manson family, between Manson pimping out his women to them plotting against each other, all under the veneer of free love and the cloying, one-sided sense of loyalty to Charlie.

Party Plane Jones
Jul 1, 2007

by Reene


Fun Shoe

precision posted:

Apparently 5.67 million people watched the premiere. Is that a good number?

On NBC? That's cancellation territory depending on the day; on Fridays you can get away with it. It depends more on the share and who produces it though.

PrincessKate
Mar 16, 2004

Let's get it on, honey.

DrVenkman posted:

It seems an odd thing to say but Manson is so clearly portrayed as evil from the off that you wonder why anyone would follow him, despite how charismatic he is. From what I understand of real life he didn't quite get bitter and paranoid until just before the Tate/Labianca murders, but really that's just a minor criticism. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of it shapes up.

I finished the whole series and I thought it was pretty ok. What you are saying is probably my biggest problem with the show. Manson is so insanely creepy, evil, and ugly that I have a hard time getting into the family scenes because I cannot understand why all these girls follow him. I didn't pick up on any charisma.

precision
May 7, 2006

hug your posting pals


The un-subtle nature of Manson is especially confusing since they made Duchovny and Damon's characters very complex and layered. Manson basically never steps out of the "completely, absolutely evil" box they put him in in episode 1.

I'm not quite done yet but so far the interactions between Duchovny and the Black Panthers are great, as is the little sideplot where Damon has to go undercover in the gay scene.

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Sportman
May 11, 2003

PILLS...
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Fun Shoe

PrincessKate posted:

I finished the whole series and I thought it was pretty ok. What you are saying is probably my biggest problem with the show. Manson is so insanely creepy, evil, and ugly that I have a hard time getting into the family scenes because I cannot understand why all these girls follow him. I didn't pick up on any charisma.

I just finished the series last night and 100% agree with this (and pretty much everything said about the show so far). Overall, it was definitely entertaining, and it picked up steam through the last few episodes. The pacing felt a little rushed near the end, but didn't really pay off. Hopefully it gets a second season, since they clearly spent the whole last episode setting up for one.

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