North And South (1995-1994) 1x01-1x03
This is the first of 3 massive miniseries’ adapting three fat novels by John Jakes which cover the antebellum period to the civil war to reconstruction. Orry Main (Patrick Swayze) dresses like a dandy and is the romantic tragic hero from the southern plantation Mont Royal. Which means he is an unrepentant slave owner. But neither he nor this miniseries dwell on it that much.
Orry goes to West Point and meets George Hazard (James Read of ’Charmed) and they become friends. This is full of characters played by Kristie Alley, David Carradine, Lesley-Anne Down, Genie Francis, Terri Garber, Jim Metzler, Johnny Cash, Morgan Fairchild, Hal Holbrook, Gene Kelly, Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons, David Ogden Stiers, Elizabeth Taylor, Jonathan Frakes, Forest Whitaker and Erica Gimpel.
Orry’s sister Ashton is the pole star of human evil even as a child. Orry has a perm and shrugs off accusations of being a slave owner in wilful denial. At West Point, a baddie shows up in the form of bullying Cadet Bent who has a bad southern accent. It is mentioned they had mixed colleges in Ohio in the 1840s. There is hazing and Ulysses S Grant wanders by. Orry gets shirt off and likes the drippy useless Madeline (Down). But she stupidly marries a rich older git named Justin (Carradine) who has an unsettling stare. All it took for Madeline to marry Justin was a unicorn musical box.
The shameful nadir of the civil war takes its time coming. Orry is morose. Orry and George are entitled tools. Part 1 was okay. Nobody ever utters a gracious thank you. Bent bullies a sick Orry. Jean Simmons plays Mrs Maine; she seems too old to be Ashton’s mother. The age difference between Orry and Ashton is unexplained. Orry meets George’s abolitionist sister. He and George and her family mock her.
George’s family run an unconvincing looking foundry. There is sexism and fierce malice. People are vituperative. People resist change and defend slavery and their tyrannical regime with the earnestness of zealots. Madeline wears an ugly wedding at her wedding. People have absolute blindness to their own villainy and the cognisance of their wrongdoing. People have impatient disregard for women. Madeline is still dumb.
People are devoid of life and have contemptible cowardly silence over important issues. The unattainable Madeline is stupid. This was not robust or substantial. I don’t care about the apparently inexorable descent into war. This is not a fascinating insight into the past. People have vexed responses to sense and a fearsome capacity for violence. There is no complex arc based storytelling just sexual violence and Orry drinks - oh boo you whore and your incredible sense of conviction about your worldview.
Part 2 continues the backward outlook as it romanticises the Old South and says war could have been avoided if Northerners would have stopped harassing the south about slavery and meddling. Orry’s thick and has no skillset or expertise. How did he get into West Point? Orry shrugs off the particular infamy of slave owning and subjection and racism. Consequences aren’t even on the radar yet.
George shouts all his dialogue. Women fall out of low cut dresses. The miniseries is full of big personalities. Orry beds the local whore. TPTB seem to aim for the Lost Cause rhetoric like ‘Firefly’ did. A cat is seen. Madeline is wet and weepy. Justin has no charm and is coercive. Bent carries on bullying and is famously merciless. With the reveal about his paternity (he is the bastard son of a Senator) one wonders if is he meant to be mixed race. This would explain a lot about his rage and bullying and endless anger.
There is bad acting. Orry and George get Bent expelled. His tyrannising is not at an end however. People big up war with Mexico. Ashton is a slut. George has perpetual discontent. Justin speaks of leaving the union in inflammatory language. People babble about honour, resources and factories. All it means is they don’t want to give up their predations. Martial abuse is shrugged off.
Justin is malicious and does concerted attacks on Madeline as he denigrates her. A slave (Gimpel) is bothered. Another slave gets drunk and Orry’s father is obsessed with cordiality and honour but not for slaves. Orry doesn’t care about slaves being abused. There’s no possibility of redemption for him despite TPTB setting him up as a tragic hero. Orry only cares about the thick Madeline. He doesn’t care about slavery. Orry only wants to be frolicsome with Madeline. There is war with Mexico and Orry is not marvellously brave.
A man with a bad Irish accent befriends George. And George wants to marry his daughter Constance who has an equally bad Irish accent. Orry is resistant to change and mopes. Constance worries her Catholicism will annoy George’s family. Baseball is played. Orry is injured and wears badly applied obvious pale makeup and stews in self-pity. George gives Bent a beating. Orry drinks. Are we meant to feel sorry for Orry? Madeline is dumb. Nobody has a sense of empathy. Orry goes slave hunting. No to Part 2, this was frivolous and absurdly overblown and it was absolute nonsense.
In Part 3, Orry defends slave hunting and is angry George is disgusted by it and him stopping a slave from escaping. George makes him let the slave go to Orry’s fury Orry defends slavery. George’s sister in law whines about Catholics. Her husband (Frakes) lurks beardless and fat. There is exposition and family feuding among the Hazards. Orry’s father dies and Ashton is grown up and a bigger slut. Orry runs the plantation. Madeline is barren.
A Main cousin, Charles, shows up to whine, his big 80s perm distracts. Part 3 is boring as hell. Orry stomps around in a cape like he’s in a Dumas novel. Orry encourages Charles to fight a duel. Virgilia preaches on the evils of slavery but Orry and co mock her and berate her. Why is everyone pandering to Orry and co? Orry and Ashton’s other sibling Brett (Francis) is ignored. Madeline has hysterics that Justin had sex with a slave. This was terrible. Constance and George join the Underground Railroad which breaks the Fugitive Slave Law. There is rampant sexism as Virgilia is ill-treated. Charles wants to be just like Orry. One rolls ones eyes.
“The hazing is hell.”
“Orry’s ideas are part of his heritage, it’ll take generations to change them.”
“The big master.”
“Brawling in a tavern.”
“Repellent and wrong.”
“Your favour was undone.”
“No leave for 2 years.”
“What is your comment on that sir?”
“It’s god’s truth.”
“The ungodly evil that lives in the south.”
“The south counts for less.”
“The one thing you can never do.”
“Things just be worse for you.”
“In the name of decency sir, cover yourself.”
“Shut your mouth slut!”
“A real lady never eats anything in public.”
“Degenerate southern sadists.”
“What with the famine and all.”
“Speaks like one of the housemaids.”
This ep focuses on 4 junior officers: a sarcastic Vulcan named Taurik who looks yellow, Sito from the episode ‘The First Duty’ who is dim and oddly graduated before Wesley Crusher despite being in the same class, Nurse Ogawa who has no personality and Lavelle who is a whining, entitled embodiment of toxic masculinity. Also lurking is Ben a waiter who was never seen or mentioned before and wouldn’t be again. The actor playing Taurik would show up on ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ playing a Vulcan called Vorik with the exact same personality. Nurse Ogawa and Crusher discuss a man and Sito dies in the line of duty after being bullied by Picard.
Riker doesn’t like Lavelle. Being on a ship with Lavelle and Riker must be a cosmic hell. A Cardassain is a UFP agent. What happened to him and the UFP’s dealing with him? Picard is a jackass. Why does he have an English accent if he’s French? Ben hangs out with the junior officers and the senior staff. He was never to be seen again. Was the Cardassian telling the truth? What happened to Sito? Did she die? How did she die? This was okay but there is some bad acting. There is a reason the actress playing Sito hasn’t acted since 1995.
“You think Worf’s chewing her out?”
“No, he always looks like that.”
“Have you ever considered learning to lip read?”
“The Vedeks of the Janalan Order maintain a round the clock chant for the benefit of the Bajoran people.”
“Considering the history of your planet, that doesn’t exactly validate what he’s doing.”
“Did you crash this ship into something?”
“I didn’t have any friends.”
Full Battle Rattle
The CIA has to solve the fact that the prisoner for the prisoner exchange has died en route. Gallo does something moronic. Thea and co babble about a phone. People babble about their alleged woes. There are flashbacks in which Gallo wears a bad wig. There is significant risk, serious trouble, steely self-regard and Thea is notoriously self-regarding. Gallo fosters a vague sense of isolation and unease.
Another domino is waved. Nora is tripping balls and has to make a decision. The POWs suffer diabolically. Why are there containers marked with radiation symbols? Thea is particularly irked and gives hard, meaningful looks. Gallo is freighted with grief. This was good but absurd. There is an IED and Nora’s helo is damaged and she has to fix the chip wire. There is a reveal and how did a certain person get out of Somalia?
“Give me a limp.”
“The prisoner is no longer breathing.”
“Talk long and hard about this.”
“The prisoner’s still dead right?”
“Ready to bang bang.”
“They don’t sound happy out there.”
“You have blueprints on a 50 year old hospital in a failed state?”
“The traitor is living.”
I Got Your Six
There is flagrant obfuscation and Nora’s compromised her integrity. It’s amazing how much Somalia looks like Canada. Gallo is disgusting and the POW’s wife is approaching a Rubicon. Nora wants pills and Ian’s shocked, shocked when she reveals this. Yet he is also supportive. The POWs try for the border. Nora feels very protected. Gallos is irremediable. One feels physically repelled by him. One POW dies and another is caught. This was okay and all seriousness and purpose.
“Pretend to be fancy.”
Gotham has a moral authority society? Scarecrow, Mr Freeze, Tetch, Jerome, Penguin and Firefly prance and drive people mad. Bruce whines. Is Sofia still in her coma? Bruce whines. Have TPTB forgotten about the existence of the batcave? Bruce is given a black car that looks like the batmobile for his birthday.
Tabitha (Jessica Lucas of ‘Cult’) is manifestly excessive. Mr Freeze (Nathan Darrow) quips and seems to enjoy being a super-villain having forgotten his tragic past. Penguin talks to Gordon who has ingratitude and is visibly enraged. Gotham has a music festival. Why? To ease tensions? Jerome incites anxiety. Barbara and her latest Barbie wig leads the League Of Shadows. There is no social nuance.
Jerome likes gruesome scenes, Selina lurks and Barbara’s self-regarding sense sees her turn on Tabitha. An unconvincing blimp flies.
There are never any dire consequences on this show. There are bad VFX. Jerome dies. Tabitha finds trouble and Jeremiah gets a faceful of crazy gas. How lucky Jerome had an identical twin brother to become the real Joker.
“Expect no mercy.”
“Frankly I’m offended.”
“A dark terrible plan.”
“Worse, much worse!”
“Nothing good will come of this.”
“These are very dangerous materials.”
“Oh, we’re counting on it.”
This was thoroughly absurd. There is blowback from the arrest, IA lurks and the Pomp plotline has vanished. Woz objects to the dirty cop. The irony of this is pointed out. There is a reckless gun discharge. People are overwhelmingly emotional. There is no beaming delight. Nobody has a non-threatening vibe. Woz is resolute and things intensity and get unruly.
Woz and Harlee are criminally inclined. Woz yells. There is furious criticism and babbling about sicarios. The FBI is useless. A dude jumps out a window. I’m sick of Stahl. Tess whines. People creepy monotone at each other. This ep leaves one unenthused.
There are highly damaging practices and people who probably made some bad choices in life. Nobody is reasoned and logical. There is a culture of indifference and a great deal of nonsense. Woz hallucinates his daughter (Karsen Liotta). Harlee’s new man is obviously untrustworthy and there is a cliffhanger.
“That’s a constructive decision.”
“Let’s go make a scene.”
“You weren’t there to help them.”
“Unburdened by common sense.”
“My psychopathic stalker.”