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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Starcrossed and Some Thoughts on Teen TV and our Craving for Destiny

I recently binge-viewed CW’s single-season science fiction effort Starcrossed.  These are the sorts of confessions grown people without blogs don’t feel obliged to make, but here we are.

What is–or was–Starcrossed?  If you guessed, Romeo and Juliet with aliens, then yes.  If you were thinking more along the lines of yet another vehicle wherein the CW recycles too-good-looking actors from a handful of other teen drama series, then you’ve also won the bonus round.

(If you saw the show and remember it most as “that time girl-next-door Aimee Teegarden, formerly of Friday Night Lights fame, whittled herself down to cheekbones and an impossible figure to look eerily like Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev,” then you and I are kindred souls drawn to the same distractions–though ones I won’t further discuss here.)

The series met its promise of love-torn-teens-from-different-worlds quite admirably if also rather literally, along the way also making good on science fiction’s promise to project our society into a novel situation so that viewers can more easily spot our usual cultural attitudes and contemplate how well they really serve us for adapting to possible futures. The program’s unusual maneuver on this sci-fi element was that it quite explicitly pondered our humanity rather than our relationship to technology.   Continue reading Starcrossed and Some Thoughts on Teen TV and our Craving for Destiny

Sleepy Hollow’s Katrina Crane and the Temptation of Many Moms

It’s been a few weeks so I don’t feel that I’m giving away much by talking about   recent developments with the ever-corset-clad Katrina Crane on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow.  (But if you’re behind a few weeks, stop here and come back later.)

On the face of them, Katrina’s relational dilemmas were unique.  By season they went something like:

How to navigate a marriage marked by passion that could not be suppressed (initially unraveling engagements and life-long friendships and later bridging the after-life) but that was forged in a certain amount of deceit? (Leaving out the whole being witch thing was sort of a biggie.)

After a 200-year interruption during which she suffered in purgatory but has now returned to our realm unaged, how to rebuild a family with her husband, himself 200 years dead, entombed, but arisen unaged, and her son Jeremy, who was buried alive as a young man only to be unearthed showing fewer than his 200 years–but only marginally so?

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Jeremy Crane, age indeterminate (played by John Noble, age 66)

 

And then something like, how to be true to herself as the mother of one of the Four Horsemen, the wife of a Revolutionary and Apocalyptic Warrior, and a witch recently introduced to how (dum, dum, dum) Blood Magic juices her powers?

Yup.  Her ahistorically purply red hair and preference for wearing corsets not even the tip of the iceberg, Katrina has seemed a rather peculiar gal.

But though the glowing ashes of her magical corpse disintegrated in a breeze, the final act of Katrina Crane’s demise told an altogether ordinary story. Continue reading Sleepy Hollow’s Katrina Crane and the Temptation of Many Moms