|THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISELTHE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEMRS. MAISELSEASON 3MARVEL|
For “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” a Season 3 slump was all but inevitable. Creator, writer, and director Amy Sherman-Palladino nimbly avoided the typical Season 2 hiccups, first by whisking audiences to fresh locales the Catskills, Paris… Pennsylvania, then by recycling what worked in Season 1 through a different character. But, as any stand-up knows, re-working proven material only works so many times. Sure, it makes sense that after Midge Rachel Brosnhan enjoys a feminist awakening, her mother Rose Marin Hinkle would follow suit — but when you run out of main characters to empower, what’s next?
Season 3 struggles to find an answer and, even more troubling, it doesn’t seem to look that hard. Some problems stem from repetition, as again Midge takes her act on the road this time to Las Vegas, but more come from a general lack of conflict. There’s so little going on with the Maisels that every new character introduced feels like the most fascinating person in the world, until you realize there’s not much happening with them either — at least, thus far. Through five episodes, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Season 3 feels like it’s running out of steam, which is both predictable given Amazon’s comedy has never been driven by drama — and insane for the same reason.
Opening with Midge’s first gig alongside singer Shy Baldwin Leroy McClain, Episode 1 spends most of its hour capturing the raucous nature of a USO show. As usual, the production itself is phenomenal — big, vivid sets sporting enticing period details are well-captured by Sherman-Palladino’s roving camera, the costumes pop, and the performances are spot on. It may be a little much to see Shy perform an entire song, but McClain and his band earn the time.
It’s only when the sheen wears off that the show’s flaws start to magnify. Take the USO show’s set-up: Midge comes in late, which ruffles the feathers of her military escorts, which, in turn, upsets her manager, Susie Alex Borstein, which… has no real effect on Midge, because she’s completely confidant in her routine as well as her timetable for it. Rushing Midge from arrival to the stage is a great way to keep the urgency up for an otherwise routine part of her life, and — beyond showing off the well-timed blocking and great craft work — putting a timer on the scene also amplifies the comic banter between two central characters Midge and Susie.
Amazon Studios, Prime Video
This pattern is oft-replicated, usually to amplify the comedy, but it also captures why Season 3 feels constrained dramatically: One character is perturbed, but another is right there to calm...
The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, watch as Rachel Brosnahan enters the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Mrs. Maisel. Plus, check out over three dozen Easter eggs and comic references in the most recent Black Widow special look, and watch as Marriage Story co-star Laura Dern looks back at some of her biggest freak out scenes from her film and television career.
First up, all of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are intricately connected, but now that we’re moving into new territory, it’s time to expand that universe even further. The Late Late Show with James Corden has the perfect way to make Marvel refreshing, and that’s by turning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel into Marvel’s Mrs. Maisel.
Next up, a new special look at Black Widow debuted this week, and ScreenCrush has taken a much closer look at all the new footage on display to find Easter eggs, comic references, and some little details you might have missed. For example, there’s a new establishing shot of Budapest, and there happens to be a sniper situated on top of one of the roof tops that you probably missed.
Finally, Laura Dern, fresh off an Oscar nomination for Marriage Story, takes a look back at her best freak out scenes on screen. The scenes covered include big screen moments from Blue Velvet and Jurassic Park, as well as small screen scenes from Enlightened and Big Little Lies.
When “Killing Eve” began, its title’s threat, promise, or intimation however you want to read it felt immediate — as if in any episode, at any moment, intelligence officer Eve Polastri Sandra Oh could fall prey to the inventive assassin Villanelle Jodie Comer. But such immediacy inevitably mitigated; success demanded extending their story, and the plot twisted itself into knots so the cat and mouse could work together and two award-winning stars could share the screen. A forbidden romance became a dysfunctional relationship, and the enticement of inexplicable attraction turned into a confounding inability to explain why this cop and this killer are drawn to one another.
Season 3 wisely stops trying to explain it, but it also simplifies the story to an all-too-comfortable degree. “Killing Eve” has always been a procedural at heart, first as Eve studied Villanelle’s murders to get closer to her, and then as they teamed up to track down a new, unknown killer. As much as its serialized aspects made the BBC America drama out to be a new kind of crime show, the bones of a procedural have kept it alive. Serialization got everything twisted up, and procedure is the work of detangling. What’s left may not provide the anything-can-happen rush of early episodes, but for those happy just to spend a little time with their favorite ex-agent and ultra-assassin, “Killing Eve” Season 3 should suffice. For those looking to be wowed week-in and week-out, well, it’s just not that kind of show anymore.
To say much of anything about the first five episodes would send us into spoiler territory, so here’s what can safely be said about where Season 3 stands. For one, Eve is alive. As if there was any doubt following the would-be Season 2 cliffhanger, the bullet that struck Oh’s lead detective passed through her body safely enough to keep her breathing. Now, the former MI5 and MI6 operative is tearing up chicken gizzards and pinching together dumplings in the back of a restaurant, hiding from her former life as much as her former love.
Villanelle Comer, meanwhile, is looking to be promoted. Her handler, Dasha played by new cast member Dame Harriet Walter, helps facilitate a management training period, but anyone should be able to imagine why a solo artist like Villanelle might struggle caring for others. Still, Season 3 is another Villanelle-forward entry. Perhaps new showrunner Suzanne Heathcote recognized the enticing complexity of a remorseless murderer, or simply how brightly Comer shined with the added spotlight last year. No matter the reason, Eve isn’t just kept in the back of the restaurant — she’s taken a backseat in the show. Villanelle even gets a standalone episode at the season’s midway point, right after Eve’s most substantial moment yet.
The Third Floor, the industry's busiest visualization company in tackling superhero movies “Black Widow,” “Avengers: Endgame”, already had an advantage working remotely with real-time tools and virtual workflows when the coronavirus pandemic struck early this year. Turns out, though, that the COVID-19 epicenter was too close for comfort.
“When this crisis began, we initially faced the challenge of protecting our staff in Beijing, who were in the midst of launching our first permanent office in China,” said CEO and co-founder Chris Edwards. “When the virus started spreading beyond Wuhan, the first thing we did was send everyone home and connect them virtually...we learned a lot about the procedures for mitigating the risk of spreading the virus that we began to apply to our other offices in London, Atlanta, and LA [headquarters].
“Time was of the essence to put a highly secure, remote-working infrastructure in place,” he said, “and we needed to leverage the company infrastructure to bolster communication and function as a support group for all of our employees and their families.”
Back in LA, The Third Floor TTF found the resilience of its Beijing crew instructive. The company, which has become the go-to visualization specialist for the MCU performing rough previs of scenes, more elaborate techvis breakdowns of camera lenses, set construction, and stunts, and postvis enhancements during crunch time, used video conferencing and other methods of digital collaboration to significantly advance preparations and stay on schedule. Despite the physical isolation, however, everyone started relying on the video calls for more than just work-related advice.
“At our [LA] hub, we didn't want to take the risk of being unprepared, so we authorized our IT team to increase our internet band tenfold, and build an advanced remote login system that could enable our artists to work fluidly and securely from home,” said Edwards, who worked with IT chiefs at major studios such as Disney for advising and approving their comprehensive work-from-home solution.
But the two-week transition to a completely virtual studio only became possible with the help of industry colleagues and suppliers when California Governor Gavin Newsom and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti issued the stay-at-home order. And, as part of its mobilization effort, the company launched a TTFaid program as a resource for more than 100 employees and their families with supplies, aid, and emotional support.
“With this early foresight in February, we were prepared to roll out a set of guidelines, which I called the TTF Health Vigilance Plan, across our other studios in LA, Atlanta, and...