Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

October 1, 2019

Static Age #6

Frame from Planet of the Apes (1974)
Based upon the successful same-titled sci-fi movie series Planet of the Apes (1974), created by Anthony Wilson, consists of one season (14 episodes in total) and finds two astronauts landing in a futuristic version of planet Earth, where the apes rule it. Featuring guest performances by people such as Marc Singer and William Smith. It may be episodic (as most genre television was back in the 1970s) and quite formulaic (there is even an episode about horse race, promptly titled ‘The Horse Race’), but it delivers what the fans want, so you can’t really argue with that. With so many episodes focusing on the human protagonists trying to impress the apes (and even going as far as performing D.I.Y. surgery by simply following the advice of a medical book written by humans once upon a time ago), this is not really about humans and apes, but rather about politics, power, slavery, and methods of governance. Some of the politics though are a bit problematic, especially when some of the apes are portrayed to be as cruel as the Nazis via their questionable interrogation methods (see ‘The Interrogation’ episode). It all really comes down to the emetic theory that in the future, apes might run the planet, despite how much smarter and capable humans supposedly are (as per ‘The Cure’ episode).

And now, let’s talk a little bit about some recent shows…

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018) poster art
Set in 1984, Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) is a young video game engineer who is programming the titular interactive video game in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018), based upon the same-titled book. And pretty much like the game and book themselves, on which you can choose your own adventure, so can the hero via the employment of reality-altering drugs and so can you at the touch of a button. Netflix’s first interactive movie takes you inside the action as you make decisions for the main characters (at some point you are somewhat jokingly involved as a controller of the script as well), but the algorithm does not exactly work. You will find yourself going back and forth, watching the same scenes again and again, not unlike in a not very well developed video game. I got bored making decisions every few minutes about things that don’t really matter (and essentially about an uninteresting story about schizophrenia) and lead to nowhere, and after spending a meaningless two hours of my life I quitted, which could well be because I never liked video games in the first place, and the film is the closest thing to one that you can get. Fans of this sort of thing may have a blast, but I hope Black Mirror (2011 – present) does not materialize another idea like this again.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Season 2
Feminism and Satanism go hand to hand on the 2nd season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018 – ongoing) in which we follow the adventures of the titular witch (Kiernan Shipka) as she grows up, changes her hair, and becomes a woman. It is a female empowerment story really, and for once the spells heard in the show are well researched rather than gibberish. Sabrina utters “I kneel before none”, the most liberating and empowering one-liner in the history of television. The soundtrack is again amazing and it includes The Sex Pistols’ ‘Submission’ and Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’. Small screen favorite, William B. Davis also shows up in a bit part.

Created by Alexander Cary and with Luc Besson credited as one of the executive producers, the 2nd (and final) season of Taken (2017 – 2018), finds its male lead Bryan Mills (Clive Standen, a bit miscast), escaping from a Mexican prison where he was left off in the previous season’s finale, and upon returning to the U.S. he will commit himself to a variety of cases against hard criminals, the majority of them connected with the murder of his sister. The whole series are more enjoyable and captivating than they have any right to be. The ‘Absalom’ episode, in which the protagonist team tries to capture a trafficking ring of underage prostitutes, is particularly amazing.

The Deuce - Season 2
Pretty much like its predecessor, the 2nd season of The Deuce (2017 – ongoing) is not so much about a story (sure, there is one, of sorts, about the Martino brothers – both played by James Franco – that try to make it in a seedy New York), but rather an era. Said era is the 1970s New York’s The Deuce and the evolution of pornography along with the several elements that went along with it, such as crime and prostitution. The streets were shoddy, the people were some characters indeed, the drugs were aplenty, everybody was smoking pretty much anywhere they wanted to, many bottles were opened and had their liquid poisons consumed, and there was nothing the cops could do about it. And guess what, this glamorous decadence with punk rock and disco music in its background seems much more romantic, honest, and fun, than what Disney has turned New York into these days. This is not nostalgia; it’s just a simple fact that even pimps are much more valuable members of society than tourist middle class pigs. Considering that I currently write a book about 1960s and 1970s, this series almost seem tailor-made for me, and it is actually my favorite show in the history of television. Also, it would have been way too easy to turn this into a gangster soap opera, but the producers opted against it; sure, mob was a big part of pretty much all businesses on 42nd Street, but they were only a piece of the puzzle, that era had so many more colorful elements about it, and the series explores them all. Featuring the music of U.K. punk rock geniuses The Damned and U.S. punk rock sensation The Ramones.

Mindhunter - Season 2
Creator Joe Penhall’s 2nd season of Mindhunter (2017 – ongoing), now available on Netflix, finds agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), along with academic sidekick Dr. Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), deep in the F.B.I. vaults, coming up with the term ‘serial killer’ and developing a methodology with which the law forces could decipher murders. In order to do that they meet and interview several – now infamous – serial killers, and try to catch others. Elegant and creepy, this is a masterwork, and because it totals a mere 9 episodes, there is no excuse for ‘true crime’ aficionados to not see it. Some episodes were directed by David Fincher and Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ is employed in a scene as well.

Following the death of his kingpin father, Genny Savastano (Salvatore Esposito), finds himself with an criminal empire in his hands, in the 3rd season of Gomorrah (2014 – ongoing), while his childhood friend Ciro Di Marzio (Marco D’Amore), disappointed of his criminal family, flees to Bulgaria, in order to pursue further underworld escapades (he gets involved with human trafficking in particular, but he later proves to be a pimp with a heart of gold). Roberto Saviano’s seminal semi-titled book in which he told his adventures from the time when he infiltrated the organized crime of Naples still holds today as it remains the basis for Italy’s most popular television series. They may be a bit difficult to swallow for people that are not familiar with current Italian cinema (for example, the performances are a bit different from what they would possibly be in an American production), and the mood may be a bit too dark for casual viewers, but this is still a masterwork. The soundtrack by Mokadelic is often inappropriate (for instance, the Euro-trash disco music that is often employed is matches the thug aesthetics much better), but it gives identity to the show and it is one of the elements that separate it from the rest of the current gangster shows. Whereas other gangster epics were all about the family ties, this is about crime itself and doesn’t seem to hold family ties any great respect or to give them too much of a relevance. Slow burn but fascinating this is offering an accurate look at the world of Camorra. Each episode ends on a cliffhanger, making you eager to play the next one.

Get books, comics, graphic novels and more at Use the code CHC at checkout for 15% off your purchase!

Follow Cinema Head Cheese:
Facebook: /cinemaheadcheese
Twitter: @CinHeadCheese
Instagram: abnormalpodcast 
Pinterest: /abnormalpodcast/cinema-head-cheese/
RSS Feed:

You can support Cinema Head Cheese and Abnormal Entertainment on our Support Us page.