A dialogue on whether HBO and A24's buzzy drama is worth watching (and whether it deserves our critical attention)
Yeah I'm skipping this show. The Weeknd being credited over Lily Depp speaks volumes. But I WILL be tuning in for hate-recapping.
The sense of the series moving forward that I get from the pilot is "STAR 80 but way dumber". Levinson seems like someone who has good taste (probably loves De Palma, trashy erotic thrillers, obviously the BASIC INSTINCT cameo was incredibly on the nose) but doesn't know how to actually create a sense of genuine eroticism or danger on screen, and it's awkward to see him try, especially with Depp's and Tesfaye's... less than ideal acting.
The trajectory of Tedros's character seems obvious (especially with the series logline explicitly calling him a cult leader) and given Levinson's history of faux feminist storytelling tics (which often involve women killing/beating their abusers) that it's almost too easy to predict that he'll probably be dead by Jocelyn's hand by the series end, and Levinson gets to say some sort of "told you so" to the naysayers in the press, even though the show will be a boring, tonally confused slog up until that point.
I can't say that I'm expecting this show to be anything more than a mess after reading that Rolling Stone piece (of note, The Weeknd's reaction to the piece was to post a clip from the show where his character trashes Rolling Stone for not having enough followers on instagram), but I will be reading the reviews just because I'd like to experience the mess second-hand.
The intimacy coordinator line is also very interesting given all the PR that went into the second season of Euphoria, with both Minka Kelly and Sydney Sweeney talking about Levinson willingly paring back nude scenes upon their request. I can't help but think of the stories that emerged about Frankie Shaw and SMILF, and wondering if Levinson's heading down that path himself.
I'm a Euphoria fan/apologist. I legitimately think it's a good series despite it feeling disreputable and slightly embarrassing watching 22 year olds playing teenagers in explicit sex scenes etc. And I like the Weeknd's music and think his villain persona works in the context of this. So I was excited about this, at least thinking it would be trashy fun or something. But everything I've read about it (and I haven't even read the behind the scenes expose) makes this sound legitimately reprehensible. I think this is just a bridge too far with Levinson. I will not be watching
I can't decide if I want to watch this show. I was very turned off 10 minutes in during the intimacy coordinator sequence because not only was it a ridiculous plot line considering the content on this show and Euphoria, the coordinator didn't even get the rules right (my job means I am *very* familiar with SAG rules on nudity riders, not that this would have been a SAG-covered engagement) in a way that heightened the mocking sense. This isn't the time to be spouting that position.
I think I might keep watching just due to the media coverage, watercooler effect, but that also gives it more power than it deserves. So, I don't know.