Shmee Investigates The Haunting Of Hill House!

Like everyone else my wife and I have been watching Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, and while I was not as blown away as others, I will say that it is still a pretty good horror TV show.  Of which there are very few out there.

The basic premises of the show is, what if the demons that destroy a family are real and external not just emotional and internal?  Though there are still plenty of personal demons to go around.  I have heard it called This Is Us but with ghosts, and at first it seems that way, but it evolves in to something different, and it is nice that the story wraps up in just one ten episode season.

There are also only two time lines to keep track of.  The current day Crains who are dealing with a lot of emotional trauma, they mistrust each other, and their issues keep them separated.  Then there is the timeline with them in the titular Hill House trying to fix it up so they can flip it and build their forever house.  The older, broken, Crains are going to have to deal with their issues, each other, and of course Hill House.

What really elevates this show is how well it is made.  Most horror is made cheaply to shock and titillate its audience.  That is not case here.  The producers have a story they want to tell, and they lovingly crafted their episodes.  Episode six in particular is a masterwork of filmmaking.  I don’t want to spoil it, but it is almost worth watching the show for that episode alone.

It is not all perfect however.  The early episodes are too long, and not all of the story really hangs together, but due to the dreamlike quality of horror stories that is a common problem for the genre.  Its ending also wasn’t super satisfying.  Don’t fear however, it ends the Crain’s story, but it just didn’t have a lot of impact.

The Haunting of Hill House has a great cast, good direction, fine story telling, and amazing production values, so the overly long episodes and some gaps in the story are not enough to not for me to not recommend it.  If you are looking for something creepy to watch during these long fall nights, The Haunting of Hill House will do quite nicely.

Shmee Enjoys Getting Lost With Hilda!

Kids these days have no idea how lucky they are.  They have so much quality TV to watch at any given moment, and for all age groups.  They don’t need to pretend that the original runs of He-Man, Transformers and Voltron were good.  The remakes actually are good, and that is not fair.  I have seen more than my fair share of poorly animated nonsense/advertising.  If Hilda had been around during my childhood it would have been the best show on TV, and not just comparing it to other animated shows, I mean all TV.  Period.  Still, even with today’s grand glut of quality TV Hilda should be watched, and not just by kids seven and up.

The premise for Hilda is that all the Scandinavian myths and folklore are real, and that the modern world (not too modern, no cell phones) just accepts that magic, monsters and fantastic creatures exist.  Hilda has grown up in the woods outside the city of Trolberg, and she loves going on grand adventures all day long, but then after a series of unfortunate incidents she is forced to move to the big city.  While she no longer has free access to the woods, she finds there are still plenty of adventures to go on in the city, and more importantly, new friends to meet.

The show kind of works a little like Scooby-Doo: Hilda and her friends investigate some weird monster or strange occurrence and then figure out what is goin on, except that the monsters are real, and it is way better than Scooby-Doo could ever hope to be.  Sadly, Hilda lacks a cool van.

Everything about Hilda works.  It is incredibly charming, the characters are amazing and they have real motivations, the mythology the show follows is interesting and it is drawn and animated really well.  It looks like if Charles Schulz co-created a Miyazaki film, but in the best possible way.  The only knock against it is that it can be a little dark and scary, particularly in the later episodes.  My four year old had no problems with it, but I would say it earns all of its Y7 rating.  However, that really isn’t a problem, just something to be aware of.

If you have Netflix, you should at least give Hilda a try.  It is well worth your time, and I am super excited that it has already been given a green light for season 2.  With Voltron ending soon, Hilda is more than up to the task of insuring there is quality kids programing on the streaming service.  If you don’t have Netflix, maybe you should get it for a month.  It will be worth your $10.

Shmee Visits Fargo!

My wife made an amazing discovery, all of FX’s Fargo is now streaming on Hulu, so we quickly watched season one, and all the hype is real.  It is a thrilling and darkly funny ride.  I was worried how the creators were going to translate the Coen Brother’s crazy style to the small screen, but Noah Hawley and crew managed it daftly.

The story for the first season follows the hapless Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) as he gets mixed up in murder and mayhem.  All the while the Bemidji police are on his tale.  Well one police officer, Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), is on his tale, the rest of the police would probably rather be fishing.

It is such a strange tale that you can’t believe your eyes for most of it, but it still manages to hang together and keep you on the edge of your seat.  Much like Fargo the movie.  Obviously the “this is a true story” at the beginning of every episode is just as false as it was for the movie, but it still manages to add to the tension anyway.  If not just give us all a little laugh.  Which is all Fargo wants to do anyway.

We all know that Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton will give us good performances, but Allison Tolman is great as Deputy Solverson, and Fargo is probably the best thing that Colin Hanks has ever done.  He may never be as good as his dad, but this was truly some good work on his part.  I hope this gets him better roles in the future.

Fargo is worth watching if you are looking for something interesting to watch.  I laughed and I wondered what would happen next, and I was almost always wrong.  The first season was great, and I can’t wait to see what story they cooked up for season two.  I hope it is just as good, if not better than season one.

GLOW Shines Bright In Season 2!

I really enjoyed the first season of GLOW, and I think it gets even better in season two.  It doesn’t take any time to get going, we know all these characters now, so there is no need for introductions or motivations.  It just gets right down and dirty with these ladies as they try and make a women’s wrestling show work.

While season one was about them trying to get a show, season two is about them trying to keep it, and of course trying to keep their sanity at the same time.  All the while diving deeper in to their interpersonal relationships.  Which of course for Ruth (Alison Brie) and Debbie (Betty Gilpin) continues to be very complicated, but the rest of the cast get some great moments as well.

I think the writers did a good job with this season of GLOW.  There didn’t seem to be any wasted episodes.  I can’t think of one the series would have been better without.  Of course the fact that there are only ten thirty minute episodes is probably the reason for that.  Five hours is not a lot time for a dramedy like this.

While series stars Brie and Gilpin do most of the heavy lifting, Marc Maron as Sam Sylvia and Britt Baron as his newly reunited daughter deliver a fun to watch and touching story as well.  In fact for as large as the cast is, most still got a moment or two in the spotlight, which is good to see.

All this to say, if you enjoyed season one, season two of GLOW doesn’t regress at all.  It is still the fun and emotionally complicated show from last season.  There are just now ten more episodes.  Which I think is exactly what fans of the series were hoping for.

The Kids Aren’t Alright In DC Universe’s Titans!

So DC Universe dropped their first trailer for Titans which is going to headline their new streaming channel, and wow, it is a departure from what the Titans are known for these days.  The kids are killing people and using the F-Word.  Right in the trailer!  I mean if this is what they thought was safe to show us, I wonder what they are holding back.  I guess if we become subscribers we will know this fall, but this was a rough introduction.