What I’m Watching: June Edition
Cruel Summer (Freeform)-Teen melodramas are a dime a dozen and a few of them like The Society (Netflix) and 13 Reasons Why (Netflix) have chosen to incorporate life-and-death stakes into their premise rather than something like “The O.C.” which went from glittery and fun to heavy only in later seasons.
This series is generally in the former camp but it toggles between three successive years in the lives of two teenage girls as if the editor was fidgeting with a remote control. The two teenagers — privileged, popular Kate (Olivia Holt), and reserved Jeannette (Chiara Aurelia) — have their lives transformed by trauma. Kate is kidnapped and held hostage in a basement for several months while Jeannette is (from our initial point of view) unfairly blamed for the crime.
Over the course of three years, we see the two transform from relatively innocent to jaded individuals and the series does a pretty impressive job of developing these characters if you can get over the mood whiplash. Kate and Jeannette and the support systems around them don’t feel overly archetypal though there is one exception in Kate’s haughty socialite mother (played by the ordinarily awesome sitcom actress Andrea Anders).
There is plenty of mood whiplash as there seems little rhyme or reason to the editing but the season mostly works. Additionally, it takes about seven out of ten episodes for this show to get into the “I’m hooked” territory which is way too long for a serialized show. On the whole, it’s watchable at every stage, so that’s enough to keep one going.
Mosquito Coast (Apple TV)-I previously reviewed this show about two episodes in when I felt it had potential through the mysteries of what’s not revealed about the characters.
After making it to the end of the seven-episode first season, I’m having much more trouble recommending this. In the mold of “Prison Break”, “Breaking Bad”, and more recently “The Americans” or “Ozark”, this is one of those shows where characters are pushed on all ends to impossible situations. It’s as if there is a linear relationship between how much tension you infuse a show and how well it’s received.
Well, not according to me. I never bought the “I’m doing it for my family” excuse of Walter White and I buy it even less here with the character of Allie Fox…