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THE MIST television remake pilot stumbles, but GLOW on Netflix is a sensation worth binging…

Posted on June 26th, 2017
Posted on June 26th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

“The Mist” (Thursdays @ 9pm Central on Spike) – Based on the novella by Stephen King, “The Mist” tells the story of a traditional small town in Maine enveloped by an ominous fog full of gigantic murderous monsters. While the townspeople try to survive the horrors within the mist, they turn on each other when the situation becomes increasingly hopeless.

A 2007 feature film-adaptation of the novel directed by “The Walking Dead” TV series creator Frank Darabont, received both critical and popular acclaim. While it was considered faithful to the original source material, it contained a different, shockingly bleak ending that fans and even King himself hailed as an improvement over the novella. The movie adaptation also featured some fantastic, grotesque monster designs.

Based on the first episode, the new TV series adaptation will most likely focus more on the cruelty of humans than the monsters that surround them. Within the first thirty minutes there is a dog decapitation, a pitchfork murder and the drugging/rape of an underage high school girl, all before the ‘mist’ even arrives to town. There is also a particularly vile and senseless murder-suicide near the end of the first episode. The story seems dead-set on showcasing over-the-top meanness, resulting in a lack of likable or sympathetic characters. This strategy is what failed to warm up viewers, including myself, to shows like “Fear the Walking Dead”.

Once the mist actually arrives, all hell breaks loose in predictable fashion, with all of the major characters trapped in different locations. It’s difficult to tell if “The Mist” will improve, but according to the creators of the show, actual monster sightings will be few and far-between, possibly due to budgetary reasons. This is a disappointment for fans because the scary, homicidal creatures are part of what made the film adaptation so watchable. The series also attempts to expand on the mythology of the mist itself by making it have hallucinogenic properties and an aggressive effect on existing wildlife like frogs and cockroaches. I’m not sure those additions are an improvement or just narrative crutches, but future episodes will have to find some humanity to hold onto or “The Mist” TV series won’t have much to offer.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

“GLOW” (all episodes streaming now on Netflix) – Any child of the 80’s will remember the ‘Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestlings’ or G.L.O.W. for short on cable TV which first aired in 1986 and ran for five seasons. It was a novel idea and created a pop sensation for a short time but I doubt few have questioned how it all got started. The new series “GLOW” on Netflix takes a comedic, fictionalized approach to the story behind the sensation.

Produced by “Orange is the New Black Creator” Jenji Kohan, GLOW stars Alison Brie (“Community”) as the frumpy Ruth Wilder, a Los Angeles actress struggling to land even the most menial, thankless roles. Her only friend is Debbie (Betty Gilpin) a former soap opera star turned dissatisfied housewife with a newborn. Ruth stumbles in to what she thinks is another routine audition and finds herself trying out for a part on an all-female pro wrestling circuit organized by has-been horror director and cocaine-fiend Sam Sylvia, sleazily played by comedian Marc Maron. Ruth clumsily fails her way through the auditions, but when a terrible betrayal with Debbie comes back to haunt her in front the entire cast, Sam realizes that the overly sensitive Ruth could make the perfect wrestling heel, but only with Debbie as her good-girl nemesis.

“GLOW” is shaping up to be the new must-see show on Netflix. The writing is snappy, the acting is perfect and the comedy is on-target. Marc Maron steals the show but many of the co-stars often take his spotlight. The story evolves at a fun pace and the 80’s fashion, production design and music feel authentic. If you are looking for a show to binge on, this is the one. Netflix may have another hit on their hands.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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