A foray into cult horror cinema, a new mid-teen-mid-adult drama series and a new dark thriller-type program, following three off-center people with terrible pasts… We watched the pilots of three series released this February: Clarice, featuring the eponymous character of the cinematographic saga Hannibal, Ginny & Georgia, who follows the adventures of a broke 30-year-old mother trying to raise her 15-year-old teenager, and Tell Me Your Secrets, whose protagonists all have a troubled past. Le Mag du Ciné offers three reviews below.
Clarice : a pastiche without the thrill ofHannibal
After the series Ratched, once again, we are interested in a female character from cult films to put him back at the heart of the story. Clarice, aired on CBS, is inspired by the eponymous character of the very famous thriller thesilenceofthelambs and adaptation of the novel by Thomas Harris. But this time, Rebecca Breeds replaces Jodie Foster to play our FBI agent.
Following the arrest and execution of Buffalo Bill, Agent Starling is assigned by the prosecutor to a section of the FBI specializing in profiling serial killers. However, the reception given by his new colleagues is far from enviable. Ridiculed, humiliated and belittled by her boss, Clarice is treated like an outcast. Fortunately, her colleague (and more if affinities) defends Clarice’s ideas and offers her secret support.
This first episode introduces Clarice’s post-trauma but failing to be weighed down by flashbacks. A global atmosphere that could be compared to the series Hannibal with Mads Mikkelsen but with less aesthetics. The series imitates the creepy universe of the original film but the narrative framework remains classic and does not stand out, for this first episode, from a classic detective series a la X-Files.
We will especially blame Clarice a lack of daring, an aesthetic and a staging too worn out. If we want to get as close as possible to the film, we might as well see (or see again) Hannibal, by Bryan Fuller, who had really managed to surprise us in his serial adaptation of Red Dragon.
Ginny & Georgia : fresh and at least fresh
Ginny & Georgia is a new Netflix series of ten episodes of approximately fifty minutes each, comedy-drama style. The pilot announces a series colorful and cheesy on the edges.
The great thing about this pilot is that you never get bored and that the series promises to include a lot of humor, the character of Georgia – 30 years old and mother of a teenager of already fifteen, Ginny ( Antonia Gentry), and a little boy, Austin (Diesel La Torraca) – appearing as wacky and a bit wacky. It is his adventures and those of his children that we follow.
Following the death of the father-in-law, the small family moved from Texas to New England to start a new life there.
The first episode is undeniably fun and it has the merit of intriguing the viewer. We appreciate the difference in character between the immature mother and the very serious teenager, with the added bonus of the gap that Ginny, obviously very intelligent, feels with those around her. We also appreciate a family where the mother and the little brother are white, and where the young girl is mixed race, which is rare enough in US series to be noticed: we also feel that the problem of racism will be mentioned. , which is welcome.
The weaknesses are arguably found in a sometimes phoned script, clearly cheesy moments and treatment, as well as a photograph without any personality. Add to that a soundtrack that sometimes falls like a hair on the soup and a strange presentation of drugs and sex – although the plot of teenage sex turns out to be interesting to testify to the attitude of some men.
The huge flaw remains all the same the writing and the acting of certain characters, starting with Georgia which is sometimes very funny… and sometimes very annoying, its interpreter Brianne Howey being in an overplay which does not adapt to all the scenes. The worst in this case being Sara Waisglass, playing the role of Maxine, Ginny’s young neighbor and friend who is most of the time just horrifying on screen. At this point in the series, both his writing and his interpretation are a torment for the viewer: everything rings false and we have the impression of seeing a vague imitation of Cheryl Blossom in Riverdale, without the coldness brought by Madelaine Petsch.
However, without being a masterpiece, the series promises to be entertaining all the same, in the genre a little extravagant without being avant-garde.
Tell Me Your Secrets : how to settle the past?
This new thriller series distributed by Amazon Prime Video is the brainchild of Harriet Warner, who created, wrote and co-produced it. Its protagonists are a trio of characters with a troubled past to say the least. The pilot focuses above all on the two women, two fighters who are opposed to each other. Mary (Amy Brenneman, Private Practice, The Leftovers) is indeed a mother who searches with the energy of the first day for her daughter Theresa, who died several years earlier, while Karen (Lily Rabe, American Horror Story, The Undoing) is the former companion of the serial killer who, according to Mary, kidnapped the young girl. After a long stay in prison, Karen tries to start a new life in Louisiana under the new identity of Emma. When her ex-boyfriend commits suicide in prison, Mary pushes John Tyler (Hamish Linklater, The Big Short, Old Christine), a former sexual predator who tries to find redemption, to find Karen / Emma at all costs …
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Apart from a few somewhat unrealistic shortcuts, frequent in American productions which have no equal for telling a lot of things very (too) quickly, the pilot is really mouth watering. A large number of avenues are open and make you want to know more: the fate experienced by Mary’s daughter (we guess she is still alive), the empathy aroused by Karen / Emma and the sincerity of feelings between her and Kit Parker, the alleged killer, gives rise to an ambiguity full of promise in the viewer, the Louisiana town in which Emma is installed is the theater of sinister secrets whose connection to the plot is unknown, and the Thickness of the characters (notably that of John Tyler, cleverly barely sketched in this first episode) is a program in itself. The interpretation is wonderful, the atmosphere sometimes has a scent of True Detective (the macabre secrets, the wild nature of Louisiana, the tortured characters) in the feminine, and the staging does not lack inspiration. Yes really, Tell Me Your Secrets makes strong arguments. Hopefully the rest is the same!