Television Shows of 2019 – Mindhunter


“You want truffles? You gotta get in the dirt with the pigs”.

Three years ago, David Fincher, Charlize Theron, and some other producers put forth this series on Netflix and it was grand. We’re all fascinated with serial killers, so what’s cooler than watching a fictional version of the people who coined the phrase and learned how to stop them from interviewing some of the actual killers? Pure evil is a construct that is so unfathomable, but I think we’re transfixed by true crime because we all have evil in our hearts, but the majority of us don’t act on it. So peeping into the brains of the monsters who do, well, it’s cathartic in a way, isn’t it? Cathartic, and a reminder that humans are capable of really really really bad things so try to be good and stuff.

The first season was focused on the beginning of using criminal psychology and behavioral profiling to nab killers in the FBI. You meet the three main characters: Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff, my favorite King George), Bill Tench (played by Holt McCallany), and Wendy Carr (played by Anna Torv). They’re some kind of a behavioral science version of Harry, Ron, & Hermione. Without the BFF part.

Season two premiered on Netflix this year, and it was worth the wait.

Now, the team’s pursuit of the murderer’s mind is too legit to quit! They have more money and a lawman big wig in their corner! However, evil not only needs study in the field (Manson shows up! The same actor who plays him briefly in Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood!) but it’s incredibly close to home for Detective Tench. Detective Ford let the study of killers get to him, and is now dealing with panic attacks. Carr is trying to be herself in private, and it’s not easy. All of this, and they are tasked with nabbing the person responsible for killing a lot of children in Atlanta. All of these elements are dealt with so well. Each character is layered beautifully, the suspense is palpable, and there’s plenty of creepy, gripping drama. After binging this season, I was so excited to get season three in my brain. Because THEY NEED TO GET THAT BTK KILLER!!! So imagine my reaction to this news: Season three on hold indefinitely?!



Television Shows of 2019: After Life

Here’s the plot of After Life, courtesy of IMDB: “After Tony’s (Ricky Gervais’) wife dies unexpectedly, his nice-guy persona is altered into an impulsive, devil-may-care attitude taking his old world by storm.”

This particular synopsis is hilarious to me because “devil-may-care” is a pretty understated description of Tony’s mindset when the series starts. Plus, his wife had cancer. Not an unexpected thing. ANYWAY. Your favorite atheist, animal-loving, Twitter trolling actor/comedian/film-maker, Ricky Gervais, gives us another series, and it is a gorgeous roller coaster of emotions.

“Hell is other people” is the tagline for the show, and I get it. Tony has lost his wife. He works at a newspaper that’s distributed for free in his locale (not Pulitzer material). He’s grumpy by nature, but his horrific loss only magnifies the grump factor. Tony feels like it’s only a matter of time before he cashes it in, so why not just throw away all the fucks and say everything you feel deep down to the humans you’re forced to live on Earth with? It’s a premise that really appeals to me. We’ve all desired that instinct at some point, right?  Tony does some reckless stuff in these six episodes because of the utter despair he feels, but there’s someone who seems to pull him from the brink every time: Brandy, the dog. Eventually, the coworkers at the paper, the sex worker he hires, his cemetery pal, the weirdo who keeps trying to get local fame in print, and his dementia suffering dad join Brandy in keeping Tony around and on the path to a new outlook.

I loved this show because laughing at the awful state of 90% of our humanity is one of the few things that keep me interested. I love stories that punch you in the gut while making you laugh at phrases like “I fingered Jackie Collins”. I love that there are so many Game of Thrones actors in it. The dog is adorable. Penelope Wilton makes anything she’s in a million times better. More importantly, Ricky Gervais shows he’s one of the best television creators ever. He keeps getting better and emotionally layered. I can’t wait for the second season.