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Archive for July 17th, 2017

by Dennis Polifroni

“When you enter the darkness…  The darkness enters you…”

I think what separates TRUE DETECTIVE from all the other crime shows and movies of the past two and three decades can all be boiled down to one word: PERCEPTIONS.

Perceptions are what we take into a thing when we feel that thing will follow a tried and true blueprint of design.  We think the characters and plot points will resemble those shows and films of the past.

Let’s be honest, though.

When TRUE DETECTIVE premiered, didn’t most of us think that HBO, normally a haven for artistic creativity and freedom on the tube, was readying to give us another clone of NYPD BLUE and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT?  We pretty much feared that the show was only using superstar names, like Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughy, as a ruse to make us tune in and provide enough, in the way of ratings, to fuel a simple clone of TV past as a lure for even more subscribers to the pay-TV outlet.

What we got, as we know now, was something wholly different and, most of the time, utterly brilliant in both design and in its ability to slap preconceived perceptions in the face.

The backdrop of the series is the hot and sticky backwoods regions of Louisiana.  Our perceptions of the area, as illustrated in contemporary crime noir films like Alan Parker’s ANGEL HEART, are that of seedy hotels and taverns where conservatism meets superstition and those not from the area are warned to make sure they keep enough gas in there tank as a breakdown on the road would surely result your disappearance at the hands of VooDoo practitioners and weirdos like the ones found in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.  To an extent, TRUE DETECTIVE does have all of these pinnings but, it’s the preconceived PERCEPTION we have to immediately add stigmas that often go with these things, and then not find them, that differentiates TRUE DETECTIVE from every other crime show and movie of the recent past, and inspires every crime show and movie that followed. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

You could have practically fried eggs on the sidewalk this past week with some oppressive heat, but things at Wonders in the Dark are similarly in scorching mode.  The Greatest Television Series Countdown has proven a monster hit, with an explosion of comments this past week that matches the site’s finest times.  In fact we’ve had sixteen entries and both the comment and page view totals have been spectacular.  The fabulous quality of the comments has also made the activity here endlessly rewarding.  I want to thank everyone -including a brace of newbies for supporting the venture and for keeping the positive energy flowing.  At this juncture there can be no doubt it is one of the most attended projects we’ve ever run in every sense.  A special thanks for all those -for the second time- who descended on my Anne of Green Gables/Anne of Avonlea post with unbridled passion, wonderful anecdotes and artistic appreciation.  The comments for my other pieces, Poirot included, and for the splendid essays by Adam Ferenz (latest thirtysomething), Dennis Polifroni (Star Trek: TNG and True Detective), Brian Wilson (The Muppet Show), David Schleicher (Fanny and Alexander) and my dear Lucille (The Waltons and Bewitched) and Jillian (Orange is the New Black) have been cause for celebration.  We are having tons of fun here while honoring the art in television in a very big way.

Our longtime Chilean friend Jaimie Grijalba has informed me of a worthwhile fundraiser being conducted  in his behalf for the Locarno Film Festival , and I want to share it here with everyone.  It does include a video.  Jaimie is asking for help:

https://www.fundmytravel.com/campaign/bNZ51YJL5T

Lucille and I with family members attended two films this weekend, both on Sunday in fact:

(more…)

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