Still, the main thing I love about (AMC)This drama about the PC and internet revolutions of the 1980s and early ’90s is criminally under-watched. (Hulu)This adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s must-read for all English majors was not entirely devoid of flaws.
Nothing reinforces that more than the show’s fourth and final season, which is currently unfolding on AMC with a confidence that comes across in every element of its storytelling — writing, directing, editing, acting, music supervision, you name it — and in the show’s deep respect for and understanding of its characters, including the female leads Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis) and Donna Clark (Kerry Bishé) who were given short shrift in the initial episodes. It sagged a bit in the middle of its season, and sometimes it conveyed its messages with all the subtlety of a public stoning.
“It’s closer to community theater, not in the sense that it’s amateurish (it isn’t; the ensemble cast is superb) but in the sense that it deals with and speaks to issues of community, asking how certain terms should be defined, where boundaries are, and whether common ground between verbal combatants is possible.” , of TV shows that were ultimately superior to their motion-picture source material.
Set on the campus of a predominantly African-American college, the show deals with race, class, gender, and related hot-button political issues in a visually assured and narratively sophisticated way, adopting the points of view of different characters to fill out a story whose larger meaning becomes harder to reduce to platitudes the more voices you hear examining it.
Its message comes through loud and clear: You can achieve happiness if you’re willing to commit selfless acts and realize that other people’s lives matter as much as your own.
The performances are more focused as well; every episode that has aired to date could be different, but not better.Grounded in the structural framework of a traditional procedural — a pair of complicated FBI guys, played by Jonathan Groff and Holt Mc Callany, solve crimes and interview convicted murderers — has returned to form.The storytelling, while still messing with our minds, is more concise, the Trump era is evoked in ways more sly than strained, and the tension builds effectively to a boiling point by episodes five and six.But what makes it great is that it takes the drawing of dicks so seriously that, slowly, you start to take it pretty seriously, too. I say slick because it can wind its way through what initially appear to be familiar television scenarios — like the courtroom showdown earlier this season between Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy and his brother Chuck (the exceptional Michael Mc Kean) — and turn them into moments that surprise us once, then again, and then yet another time.It is also consistently directed with a smooth, purposeful, yet casual elegance that befits a show about a con artist.