So I’ve spent the last week trying to emulate all the cool kids by binge-watching a bunch of series I’ve been reading about but haven’t had the chance to stream. Here’s my short take on them all:
Special – Netflix
Give credit to creator/writer/star Ryan O’Connell for developing this series which is an autobiographically-based take on his life as a young gay man with cerebral palsy. I’ll cut him some slack for making his sexual awakening completely unbelievable (Hell, if I wrote my own series I’d have EVERYONE jumping into bed with me, too…) yet refreshingly open (and graphic) and blunt. I’m not sure, though, his intent was to prove that people with CP can be just as big a jerk as anyone else. ‘Cause he is. There’s nice work by Jessic Hecht as his mother as she faces a life that doesn’t center on raising her son.
Grade – B
Hacks – HBOMax
Jean Smart is a wonder as Deborah Vance, a veteran comedian striving to remain relevant (think Joan Rivers) who’s thrown together with a young comic who’s in professional exile after tweeting one joke too many. It’s a very interesting take on the comedy world from a female perspective. Hannah Einbinder plays the young comic in comedy purgatory and Carl Clemons-Hopkins plays Vance’s assistant Marcus. He has a subplot I’m looking forward to seeing develop.
Grade – A
It’s a Sin – HBOMax
You may have had to lived through the ’80’s as a young, gay man to truly appeciate this look at a group of friends in Great Britain. It follows the group from 1981 to 1991 as AIDS enter the scene. It does not end well. Joyous but ultimately heartbreaking.
Grade – A+
genera+ion – HBOMax
A great series for those who would be shocked – SHOCKED – to learn that high school students do drugs, have LOTS of sex, fall in love with their guidance counselor, give birth in mall bathrooms, and, oh, are all gay or gay-friendly. Justice Smith is good as central friend Chester, but compare the challenges being faced by the group of friends in It’s a Sin (being incarcerated and isolated against one’s will in a hospital, dieing alone) with those from this series (OMG! I gave a bj to my sister’s boyfriend and she hates me now!) And SURPRISE! – all the adults/parents are one-note caricatures, though it is nice to see Martha Plimpton back as a broomstick-up-her-ass mother. Moments of heart do creep through this somewhat shallow series, but I’d call it genera+ion meh.