It’s here! It may be a week late but it’s here! My favorite article of the year which seems egotistical but it’s not because the reason I like it so much is because of all the words everyone but me put. (Perfect sentence.) Enjoy this year’s breakdown of the best TV episodes of 2017 from a variety of my friends, all with a unique perspective.
American Gods — “The Secret of Spoons”
(Season One, Episode 2)
By Robbie Mehling
“We’re not taking the highway. Not now. Not ever,” says Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) as they drive from Indiana to Chicago and beyond. This summer I did my own personal road trip from Minneapolis to Southern Indiana using back country roads. First you turn left, then right, then left again as you meander past cornfields and farmhouses. It certainly takes longer but the possibility exists for some truly stunning views, more so anyway than the interstate rest stop. It’s this mentality that runs through Neil Gaiman’s original novel and is certainly present in Bryan Fuller’s adaptation. This show moves at a slow pace as the whole first season only covers the first few chapters of the book. But I think it works incredibly well as it meanders through folklore, mythology, and back road America.
It’s Orson Welles and William Shakespeare back again! After a successful team-up with Othello, this time Welles plays a character with the same skin tone as himself with the beloved and tragic fool of Falstaff. With Chimes at Midnight, Welles took elements from Henry IV Part I and Part II and mixed in parts of Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor to give this side character his own starring role. The guys are joined by the brilliant Tara Olivero from Shakespearemachine to provide more context for what Welles was accomplishing.
What does Orson Welles do after making perhaps the greatest movie of all time? He gets basically exiled to Europe to make low-budget Shakespeare films. But are they any good? The guys look into his Othello adaptation and how he interprets the Moor of Venice. Without the resources of Hollywood, Welles uses real incredible settings and new tricks to bring gravitas to the leader who is being betrayed by Iago. And yes, they are distracted by the blackface pretty much the entire time.
Austin and Eric are here to discuss the final film in their Akira Kurosawa Five, Ran. This is the epic retelling of William Shakespeare’s King Lear set as a samurai war film. When a warlord divides his land among his three sons, chaos spreads as betrayal and regret lead to bloodshed. What does a Kurosawa film look like after decades after High and Low and how has he changed as a filmmaker at the end of his career. Find out!