|NARCOS: MEXICOTHIS WEEKSEASON 2NETFLIX|
Narcos: Mexico, despite being as intense and violent as its predecessor and high on its own supply, is becoming masterful at setting up quietly resonant closing moments while not taking the cliffhanger route. And I can appreciate that. In the streaming era, when entire seasons drop at once, cliffhangers are almost cruel when an audience must wait over a year to find out what happened. Let's get real, too: Narcos franchise fans tend to binge hard and fast. Cliffhangers are not needed here to stoke ongoing interest. Closing a season with understated moments is also practical because the War on Drugs won't ever end. It could be exhausting to keep watching finales like the ones from the Escobar years him refusing to surrender and later going down on a rooftop that don't work well with recent history. If that pattern continued, we'd eventually see El Chapo pop into a tunnel and wave goodbye for a year. It would be beyond parody. I do hope the show sticks with reflective resolutions that suggest what's to come.
Before we dig in here, here's another reason why Narcos beats every other TV franchise when it comes to promo images. This image up there ^^^ of Scoot McNairy's mustache? Netflix used that image for months to tease this season, and it illustrated a long-awaited confrontation. When the moment arrived, the showdown didn't go as planned. There wasn't a payoff for the characters, but for the audience? Hell, yeah. It was great to see two lions mentally circle each other while conceding that they've both lost the battle.
Granted, Narcos: Mexico's second season did lead up to its final minutes with a mayhem-filled scene of revenge full of climactic adrenaline. This was both obligatory and necessary, to illuminate the truth of what was soon to be stated by Félix Gallardo. In particular, the shoe literally dropped on the remnants of Gallardo's cartel leadership when Clavel gets beaten to death in a shopping mall while a spitting Chapo witnesses.Netflix
The franchise has held a lot of moments like these, obviously. They're bread and butter and gruesome and all that, but they're almost operatic in their execution. They're also sometimes disturbingly funny, as with the bloodbath last season where Don Neto kept wearing his headphones. Yet there's a ton of value in quietly forecasting the fights to come. Moments of conversation allow the corrupted soul of the franchise to flourish. In this universe — a very real one, although dramatized by Netflix — justice can't win. There won't ever be a happy ending in this saga. To that inevitability, last year's finale made a fantastic set-up: Scoot's character, who narrated all along, finally comes into view as dogged DEA agent Walt Breslin. The assumption was that we'd get to see Scoot kick some ass this season. And he did kick some...
Spoilers from this week's The Walking Dead episode will obviously be found below, so here's your chance to lurch away like a zombie.
For those unfamiliar with The Walking Dead, this week's episode, “Look at the Flowers,” would be an out-of-context trip, even for anyone already familiar with zombie movies and television shows. Hell, what's going on now would probably sound bizarre to fans of The Walking Dead who bailed after season seven.
Consider what has gone on the last season and a half: A messed-up cult of nameless wanderers who call themselves The Whisperers wear the skin of zombies over their own faces so that they can blend in and roam with other hordes of zombies, which they use as their own mindless, unkillable armies. A man named Negan — best known for bashing in the heads of two characters with a baseball bat wrapped in barbwire he named after his dead wife — ends up joining The Whisperers to take them down from the inside. This requires that he have sex with a bald woman who goes by the name of Alpha while she is wearing a skin mask, which is a turn-on for Negan because she reminds him of his late wife, who died of cancer.AMC
Negan cuts off the head of the bald woman, though he gets tearful about it because again the mass murderer in the skin masks reminds him of his late wife. Negan, by the way, used to be a high-school gym teacher. Negan subsequently takes Alpha's head and plants it on a pike, where it is discovered by Beta, a former world-famous country singer turned Whisperer. WHAT? He removes Alpha's zombified head from the spike, throws it in a bag, and then distills meaning and direction from the hisses of the decapitated zombie head.
Alpha's hissing leads Beta to an old dive-bar, where he listens to an old record of his, and psyches himself up to lead another horde of zombies into battle, but not before he removes the skin from Alpha's face and plants it over half of his own face. The other half of his face is covered by the older, leathered skin of his dead friend from rehab. Now he looks like Zombie Phantom of the Opera.AMC
If disturbing content is what viewers are looking for, there's plenty of is in this season of The Walking Dead, and with Beta and The Whisperers marching toward Alexandria like they're in a “Thriller” video, I expect there will be more, if not in next week's episode, then in the season finale whenever that airs.
NOS4A2 which is pronounced Nosferatu, in case you still haven’t figured that out, is returning for a whole-new season this summer. Inspired by the Joe Hill novel of the same name, NOS4A2 season 2 will premiere in June on AMC, continuing the story of Vic McQueen, a young working-class artist who discovers she has a psychic connection to Charlie Manx, an immortal, vampire-like being who preys on children.
Ready to head back to Christmasland? NOS4A2, AMC’s horror series adapted from Joe Hill’s novel, will return for its second season on June 1 at 10:00 P.M. EST. “Following the strong success we’ve had sharing other talked-about series across our networks, most notably Killing Eve, we have another terrific opportunity to expand the audience for a great show,” said Sarah Barnett, President of AMC Networks’ Entertainment Group & AMC Studios. “With NOS4A2, Jami O’Brien, along with an incredible cast led by Zach and Ashleigh, have delivered a unique take on the vampire story, fueled by Joe Hill’s spine-tingling novel. We’re excited to open this high-stakes story up to entirely new audiences.”
The series follows “follows Victoria ‘Vic’ McQueen, a young working-class artist who discovers that she has a supernatural ability to track the seemingly immortal Charlie Manx. Manx feeds off the souls of children, then deposits what remains of them into Christmasland — a twisted Christmas Village of Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas Day and unhappiness is against the law. Vic must strive to defeat Manx and rescue his victims — without losing her mind or falling victim to him herself.” Zachary Quinto and Ashleigh Cummings star.
Season 2 is going to have quite a time-jump. The second season takes place 8-years after season 1. “Vic McQueen Ashleigh Cummings remains more determined than ever to destroy Charlie Manx Zachary Quinto. Charlie, having faced his own mortality, emerges desperate for revenge against Vic. This time, he sets his sights on the person who means most to Vic – her eight-year-old son Wayne. The race for Wayne’s soul sends Vic and Charlie on a high-speed collision course, forcing both to confront the mistakes of their pasts in order to secure a hold on Wayne’s future.”
The series also features Jahkara Smith, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Virginia Kull, Jonathan Langdon, Ashley Romans, Jason David and Mattea Conforti. Jami O’Brien serves as showrunner.
I’ll admit here that while I’ve read the NOS4A2 book, I didn’t finish the first season of the show. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it – I just had a hard time getting into it. Maybe it’s time to catch up so I can stick with it for the second season.
Netflix's next feature documentary will offer a deep dive into Los Angeles’ street art scene through a variety of well-known voices. “LA Originals” is scheduled to hit the streaming service later this month, and Netflix released the official trailer Wednesday morning, highlighting the featured talent of hip-hop A-listers and one iconic basketball star.
Per Netflix's synopsis, “LA Originals” is a documentary that will explore the culture and landmarks of the chicano and street art movement that cemented Mister Cartoon and Estevan Oriol's status as behind-the-scenes hip-hop legends. The 90-minute documentary will include interviews and other scenes with hip-hop legends and other high-profile entertainers, including Kobe Bryant, Eminem, Michelle Rodriguez, Danny Trejo, Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Blink-182, Wilmer Valderrama, Terry Crews, George Lopez and more.
“LA Originals” is directed by Oriol and written by Brian Maya and Omar Quiroga. “Hip-hop was new,” Oriol said in the trailer about his career arc. “I'm on tour with the Beastie Boys, No Doubt, the Fujis, Limp Bizkit. And I'm the only one there with a camera.”
Oriol, a longtime photographer and music video director, has photographed celebrities ranging from Eminem and Kim Kardashian to Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, and has also prolifically documented Los Angeles' urban and gang cultures. As for Mister Cartoon, the veteran tattoo and graffiti artist has worked with celebrities such as Bryant and Beyoncé, and his work has also been used by the Los Angeles Clippers, the “Grand Theft Auto” video game series, and other high-profile brands.
The duo met several decades ago, manage the SA Studios Global marketing agency, and frequently collaborate on various projects.
“The more we hung out, the more we just started building on ideas of things we could do to make money that weren't illegal,” Mister Cartoon said in a scene from the documentary's trailer.
“LA Originals” will mark another addition in Netflix's growing unscripted slate. The streaming service recently turned plenty of heads with the docuseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” which centers on the life of Joe Exotic, an incarcerated criminal, prolific animal abuser, and 2016 presidential candidate.
Check out the trailer for “LA Originals” below. The film will hit Netflix Friday, April 10.