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Broadcast networks will never be able to compete with cable or streaming when it comes to top-shelf dramas. As a rule, pay TV offers bigger budgets, more creative freedom, more leeway to explore adult themes and more flexibility in season and episode length. Still, every once in a while though increasingly rarely of late a broadcaster will resist the mandate to churn out nothing but cost-effective primetime procedurals and set to work on something more ambitious.
Adapted from a series of novels by C. As its title suggests, the show is set in Montana. It opens with a montage of natural beauty straight out of the Twin Peaks which had its original two-season run on ABC credits sequence—snow-capped mountains, dramatic waterfalls, evergreen forests—before opening in the familiar environs of a frozen-in-time diner called the Dirty Spoon.
To be fair, neither does And for all its crisp, immersive cinematography and timely themes, it still feels more like a network potboiler than a groundbreaking work of art. Because so much of that entertainment comes from the ridiculously frequent twists, it would be cruel to give away anything major. Throughout the premiere, we meet other rural types whose ties to the crime take a while to tease out. But, in the two episodes provided for review, the bigger problem is in the lack of specificity in the way those characters are written. There is a current of vague, girl-power feminism running through this story, which sends female investigators on a search for two teen-girl kidnapping victims endowed with far more agency than the typical crime-drama dead girl.
Meanwhile, the nonbinary actor Jesse James Keitel brings grace, intelligence and self-awareness to a history-making role —but their character Jerrie is a sex worker whose anatomy becomes a plot point early in the season, despite years of pushback from trans and gender-nonconforming actors about roles that fetishize their bodies. The attention to detail is lacking, too. Sanctuary city! Yet despite a handful of such hyper-politicized moments, the show is set during the current pandemic and no one ever wears a mask. Still, the show, in Beautiful woman looking sex Big Sky network-y clumsiness, offers something that failed pay-TV dramas rarely achieve: fun.
Yes, that Manhattan murder mystery has bigger stars, more consistent performances and more highbrow dialogue. Both shows might well be on a road to nowhere, but only one promises a wild ride. at letters time.
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