Welcome back to our weekly appraisal of the gems and turds from our favorite streaming service, Netflix! This week I have been indulging in a binge of two shows that are drastically different in terms of tone and quality. In the red corner, We have a plot spearheaded by a world ending prediction that turns out to be a hoax. In the blue corner, We have the world actually coming to an end as we know it. The real question is, Which of these makes for a more entertaining viewing? Lets explore these two vaguely post-apocalyptic themed shows in greater detail.
Yesflix – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
A recent addition to Netflix is this charming show about a woman with unwavering optimism in the face of adversity. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a Tina Fey-helmed sitcom, originally slated to be on NBC, but now it is available exclusively on Netflix. The story of Kimmy is a unique, grim concept that is spun on its head for the purpose of comedy. It is often touted that comedy and despair go hand in hand and that sentiment is well illustrated in the case of this show. Kimmy is a survivor of a kidnapping that lasted 15 years. Among other women, she was taken and forced to adhere to the rules of an underground cult run by a reverend who believed the world to be ending. We are granted a peek into the lives of these women through flashbacks in the show, which takes place at the beginning of Kimmy’s life as a free woman. The trials she faces throughout are fueled by her positivity in regards to finding out what she has missed in the world and discovering a purpose beyond being known as a “mole woman”.
A colorful cast brightens the world presented in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Each of them vibrant with their own faults and insecurities that lend well to the hilarious moments that can be found. The central players to be seen alongside Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) include her broadway tune belting roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), her chain-smoking sexually experienced landlady Lillian Kaushtuppe (Carol Kane) and her upper class Manhattan based boss, Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski) .
To those who are fans of the eccentric comedy styling in 30 Rock, you will be right at home here. It has an excellent cast that play their roles beautifully and leave you eager to know more about their characters after the short run of 13 episodes. It features a plethora of great celebrity guests stars and a refreshing tone that makes it difficult not to be happy after watching. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is another triumph for Tina Fey.
Fans of Arrested Development, 30 Rock and Parks And Recreation will LOVE this!
NOFLIX – REVOLUTION
A show that was largely hyped at the time of its initial release, Revolution is the brainchild of Eric Kripke, the man behind Supernatural and it is produced by J.J Abrams. The plot of Revolution introduces us to a world where the lights have gone out everywhere — forcing humanity to find an alternative way of living without electricity. It is 15 years after what is known as “The Blackout” happened and the people of the world have adjusted to a more quaint existence, although not a more peaceful one. A military force known as “The Monroe Republic” instigates laws and enforces taxes on the people of Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. A goal of this faux republic is to unite North America under the banner of its leader Monroe. An altercation among the militia sees a man die and another taken. This sets off the journey of our lead character Charlie (Tracy Spiradakos) as she embarks to get her brother back and get revenge for the death of her father. In order to rescue her brother, two others join her quest and seek out her estranged uncle, who she was informed would help them in any way he could. The further narrative beyond this mission is to find out exactly why the lights went off 15 years ago.
Despite its promising premise, Revolution is a show that is overall a waste of your time. In the same vein as Lost, the interesting elements are constantly pushed ahead in favor of large amounts of filler episodes. As an audience, we want to know why the lights went out. While we do eventually discover the truth, the enduring slog to get to it is a chore to behold. Revolution has a large budget that is utilized well for the world they create. Unfortunately, those who occupy it are typically uninteresting or are a cliché of some kind. A stellar performance from certain side characters is not enough to maintain interest in our two uninspired leads. Charlie, played by Tracy Spiradakos, is an emotional void of angst that never goes beyond her sadness to find personality traits. Her uncle Myles Matheson, played by Billy Burke, is a callous Indiana Jones wannabe that is actually sensitive despite his rough exterior – he is a walking cliché. Revolution is brought down largely by bad acting, events of no consequence for large stretches of time and bizarrely out of touch stylistic choices. Costume design and prop design are questionably limited to civil war weaponry and clothing – quick news flash, assault weapons do not require the use of electricity and have not become obsolete. Nor have modern-day fashion sensibilities. Muskets and civil war gear are unneeded.
The show does have its fans, but I am certainly not one of them.