Tag Archives: IndieWire

Fact-Checking The Crown Season 5

The Crown” is back — and so is the Netflix series’ accompanying drama about what is and is not factually accurate. This season feels particularly explosive, as the first batch of episodes to take place in the oh-so-well-documented 1990s. Among the many topics tackled are the dissolution of marriages (Charles and Diana, Andrew and Fergie, Anne and her husband, whoever he was), the discovery of the remains of the Tsar of Russia and his family, the election of Tony Blair — and Prince Philip’s obsession with carriage driving.

In order to sift through what is historically accurate and what is merely conjecture (if not outright dramatic fiction), we turn to the Internet’s favorite arbiter of fact versus fantasy: Jonathan Frakes, the host of late ’90s meme-fave “Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction.” Are these “um, what?!?” moments true? Or is Peter Morgan just pulling the crown over our eyes?

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Words: TV’s New Comfort With the Dead

Shining Vale

We’ve welcomed the undead into our living rooms since the days of “Dark Shadows.” But in the decades since, most of those stories have been about life and death battles between the living and the dead, with a dose of forbidden romance tossed in.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Walking Dead” focused on averting the apocalypse. Other shows, like “Ghost Whisperer,” zeroed in on the spooky. But in today’s TV landscape, death is something we’re far more comfortable with, and the no longer living aren’t treated as monsters or even as metaphors. Instead, they’re used as tools to investigate a wide array of topics as varied as feminism, political disenfranchisement, and trauma. And in the case of “The Good Place,” all of the above and more.

The last six months alone have seen the premieres of CBS’ “Ghosts,” Starz’s “Shining Vale,” and Season 2 of Prime Video’s “Upload,” all of which revolve around the undead and all of which take radically different approaches to how we interact with death.

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Words: The Fabulous Gay Storylines of Chucky, Gossip Girl, and Saved by the Bell

Our age of reboots, revivals, and revisitations is beginning to take its toll. With every new announcement comes the ceremonial rolling of the eyes from critics — unless they happen to be a fan of the IP, in which case the news is greeted with frenzied excitement — and grumblings from fans. Not that either has stopped the slow march toward net zero on creativity.

But while many reboots are content to do nothing more than update the technology for a beloved property (looking at you, “MacGuyver”) and cash in on its name recognition, some are interested in exploring and questioning what made the original iteration so resonant while addressing its earlier failings. The prime example is Pop TV’s dearly beloved “One Day at a Time,” which took the original’s premise (single mom and kids struggling with divorce) and applied it to a Latinx family. Suddenly, an entirely new world of stories opened up, from gender fluidity to PTSD.

That’s the tack that HBO Max’s “And Just Like That” is taking, as well. Using the absence of Kim Cattrall’s Samantha to add more BIPOC characters, the new take on “Sex and the City” is actively interrogating its own initial shortcomings in presenting a lily-white depiction of New York City for six seasons.

That a prestige, legacy series on HBO, shepherded by producers who have long served as gatekeepers of the brand, should do this is not surprising. What is more surprising is when the seemingly most disposable series rebrands turn out to be the ones with the most articulate narratives about life today.

Perhaps no one really thought we needed a new iteration of “Saved by the Bell” or “Gossip Girl” other than showrunners Tracey Wigfield and Joshua Safran. And a TV adaptation of “Child’s Play” from the film’s creator Don Mancini seemed, at first glance, like another opportunity to cash in on a franchise that had run out of cinematic steam. But all three series quickly turned into compelling, literate television with a lot more on their minds than high-gloss, no-calorie entertainment.

To read the full story visit IndieWire.com.

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