The Least Sexy Naked People on Television

It’s not a review of Naked and Afraid… Just my first follow-up on Westworld

In its pilot Westworld provided me early warning to expect smart, unsettling things from by convincing me its numerous naked bodies were not important features in the story. As the gal who still hides behind the locker doors while changing at the gym, no one is more surprised about this than I—which is also why I think this reaction is worth sharing.

When HBO started promoting its new sci-fi meets western project, I was immediately interested in the premise but skeptical I could handle Westworld. An initial teaser includes several actors (mostly shot from the shoulders up) who appear to be both naked and confined to glass holding cells. The voice-over juxtaposes descriptions of the freedom offered visitors of virtual reality Old West vacation with shots of these confined characters, most of which appear dazed and vulnerable.

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One clothing-challenged individual, however, is pictured  horrified as she stumbles, injured, through a corridor lined with glass boxes occupied by other naked bodies. The trailer’s accumulated images triggered memories of Twilight Zone, X-files, and Fringe episodes that dealt with experiments on human test subjects—memories of some of my favorite sci-fi series and of some of their most upsetting tales.

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Their nudity is accompanied by the contrast of darkness with harsh fluorescent lights; their eerie silence interrupted with a few foreboding quotes. (“These violent delights have violent ends.”) HBO primed viewers to feel for these disrobed figures, whether that feeling is curiosity, concern, or dread.  Continue reading The Least Sexy Naked People on Television

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Daredevil’s battered body

I really like Netflix’s take on Daredevil and have been waiting–maybe too long–to write anything about my binge view that first week.  The series is gruesome in the unflinchingly dark psychology of its murderous Kingpin (bone-chillingly brilliant Vincent D’Onofrio)–and probably too explicit for some–though in my view, it stops short of glorying in his violence.  It is pretty darn smart in its pacing, maybe one of the better uses of the all-at-once-available season I’ve seen.

It is also doing something interesting with how it depicts its hero’s body.  Continue reading Daredevil’s battered body