It tends to be the norm that, when recreating the life of a legend in biopic form, the rendering comes out all wrong. This is not exactly the case with 1994’s Madonna: Innocence Lost, a TV movie that aired on Fox and emphasized the early beginnings of the singer’s (portrayed by Terumi Matthews) career. Its largely accurate, if not highly stylized, interpretation of Madonna’s hand-to-mouth existence as a ragamuffin of the downtown New York scene from 1980 to 1983 possesses the sort of terribleness you would expect of a TV movie—but it’s the kind of trash diet that leaves you feeling fulfilled, somehow.
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Change is inevitable. It is everywhere and in everything. But some change is more foreboding, more catastrophic: the loss of a loved one, a divorce, and major injury.
To the characters in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, those very human changes mean perhaps just as much as they do to any fictional character, but as Marvel’s Inhumans expose their powers and their capabilities, change will be much more challenging, at the personal level, for those evolving into some other form of human; it will also mean enormous change for those still constrained by their traditional humanity.
NBC has a habit of trying the same idea over and over again. Two years ago, the television network used their popular singing competition, The Voice as the lead into a high-concept crime espionage drama The Blacklist. This concept worked well enough for the network to try a similar series: Blindspot. As in The Blacklist, a person with a great deal of information surrenders to or is found out by the government. That person make reference to an agent (out of the blue) to work with, thus beginning a series of adventures in which the agent and the person with info solve crimes and capture bad guys.
In both cases, neither drama stands up to critical examination: plot holes, insane coincidences, and conveniences saturate the scripts. The big question is: will Blindspot be able to have the same draw as The Blacklist? At this point, it is too early to tell. There are a few differences between the shows that merit notation.
Yesterday it was reported widely—and briefly—that over 700 Muslim pilgrims were massacred when human stampedes erupted on a ritual journey to Mecca. I stress “briefly” because every few years we hear of such semi-suicidal, lemming-like massacres among the Hajj-driven faithful, yet journalists, always afraid to trespass into sociology, never offer any rational account for civilians trampling one another. The reports are conveniently brief, relieving us of the responsibility of an explanation. Usually, some clueless middle-manager is blamed, and the story ends. One Saudi official proclaimed the tragedy was a sign of “God’s will”, a rather unsatisfactory explanation of urban planning so poor that it spurred rampant manslaughter. The tragicomedy thus seems inscrutable and exotic: when overpopulation and religious delusion merge, the faithful will be smothered by their own faith, the masses crushed under their own mass.
Fear the Walking Dead’s fourth episode, “Not Fade Away”, opens to the strains of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”. The allusion sets the mood: happy relaxation tinged with something more sinister beneath. Although Reed sings lazily of “sangria in the park”, that wistful feeling turns bitter as the song continues, especially in lines like “you made me forget myself / I thought I was someone else/ someone good.”
In the same way, life in L.A. seems relatively tranquil for Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) and his family, at least in the episode’s early scenes. We find Travis out for his morning run; Nick (Frank Dillane) lounges by the pool; Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) films the surrounding landscape from the rooftop. In fact, these scenes play as though the show has gone back in time, to before the crisis began.