Mississippi Damned is an examination of what keeps people trapped in a cycle of poverty and abuse, and how some of them manage to escape.
If you watched the excellent documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? you know that Nina Simone wanted to be a concert pianist. And you probably already knew that Nina Simone wrote the song “Mississippi Goddam” which inspired the title of this movie. The most accessible character in the film, the one we root for the most, is young Kari Peterson. She’s played as a young adult by Tessa Thompson and as a child by Kylee Russell. Like Nina Simone, Kari wants to go to college to develop her talent as a pianist and composer.
Two new shows hit the schedule this week. I took a look at them. Here are my reactions to these new offerings. Both air on the same night, which is why I thought these two very different series should be lumped into one review. Just go with it.
One Big Happy
With Ellen DeGeneres on board as producer and with Liz Feldman as creator, I was expecting One Big Happy to hook me right away. It didn’t.
One Big Happy is a typical sitcom with characters who say their lines as if they were shouting to the people in the nosebleed section, improbable situations, and not very funny jokes.
One Big Happy stars Elisha Cuthbert as a lesbian. Her best friend, played by Nick Zano, agrees to have a baby with her. Along comes a pretty English lass played by Kelly Brook and the couple turns into a strange triangle.
I like the setup. The actors are attractive, but the characters did nothing for me. I just couldn’t get into it.
I wanted so much to like this show with a leading lesbian character, but if they brought out their best for the pilot episode, I’m not sure I’ll continue watching. I’ll give it another chance, because I want to be a devoted fan. I’m just not convinced that’s going to happen.
iZombie, on the other hand, while wildly improbable situation-wise, was more interesting and showcased characters who are far more charming. Even the undead character is likeable.
iZombie stars Rose McIver as the zombie, Liv Moore. (Liv Moore, get it?) Liv is a doctor who gets killed and turns into a zombie. She changes jobs to work in the morgue where she has a steady supply of stolen brains for dinner. Also working in the morgue is Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli), who doesn’t mind being around a zombie. He is the only person who realizes that Liv is among the undead.
When Liv eats a brain, she gets crime-solving visions about the person’s death and is very quickly indispensable to Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin), a cop.
iZombie is a DC Comics show, with Rob Thomas as producer. It switches from comic drawings to live action sometimes, a juxtaposition that adds to the funky charm of the story.
Even though zombies have been done to infinity and shows with lesbians as main characters are rare, my reactions to these two series were the opposite of what I expected. I enjoyed the undead doctor and was bored by the pregnant lesbian.
Did you watch either of these? What did you think?
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