Archive 81. Season 1
This is Netflix’s newest horror series, which is loosely based on a podcast with the same name and has an intriguing psychological horror plot. Mamoudou Athie plays a film archivist who agrees to work on an attractive project for a mysterious businessman played by Martin Donovan. This gig revolves around fixing a collection of broken videotapes shot in 1994 by Melody (Dina Shihabi), who gets obsessed with capturing the goings-on at a peculiar apartment complex named Visser Building. It's not easy to talk about Archive 81 without giving too much away, but it's even more difficult to avoid talking about it at all, because of its intriguing premise and the level of creepiness. The series also plays around with many horror genres but, its approach to the found-footage idea is sporadic at best. With that said, the gimmicks are frequently amusing, and the resulting atmosphere is genuinely spooky. I enjoyed Archive 81 a lot and it'll probably be one of my favorite horror series of 2022.
The journalist. Miniseries
The journalist is a Netflix thriller/drama from Japan based on a film of the same name. First of all, I think it is fascinating how some of the best original content from Netflix is coming from outside the United States. Well done Netflix! You are really giving us some gems.
Anyway, the series follows Anna Matsuda, a journalist who is regarded as "the rebel of journalism" because she always aims to reveal problems in Japan. She employs her strong convictions to get to the bottom of every story and seek the truth. When confronted with political crimes and modern Japanese society's scandals, Anna makes it her mission to expose the corruption that is endangering her country.
The show's broader picture and five-hour run-length allow for an in-depth examination of who is truly exercising power in Japan. And does not make light or minimize the horrific realities of a corrupt government. However, after a strong start, its pacing gets a bit sluggish, and it drags in the later episodes, becoming redundant and more and more overly emotional.
But overall, The journalist is an excellent cautionary tale about the ephemeral nature of political power. A very welcoming addition to Netflix's growing collection of exceptional stories from around the world.
The servant. Season 3
This is an Apple TV+ series that is centered around an enigmatic nanny, a baby that may or may not be real, and a mysterious cult. Season 2 concluded in violent turmoil and murder. So I was very curious to see what the show would bring next.
The third season of The servant starts three months after Season 2's mind-boggling pandemonium. Although Leanne (the nanny) is still traumatized, the Turner family appears to be more functional in the first half of Season 3. Sean has returned to work, and Dorothy is juggling parenting and her journalism career. Julian, on the other hand, becomes understandably consumed with the origins of the Turner child.
I had fun watching the first 5 episodes that I had access to. I always enjoy the way the directors sneak their cameras through Turner's house. It is so cool! The tone was also a bit lighter than the previous seasons and I even had some laughs watching the show. However, things seem to take a dark turn at the end of Episode 5 and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen.
Yellowjackets. Season 1
This show popped up out of nowhere. I had no idea of the show’s existence until I saw someone’s TikTok commenting about the first episode. But the show already become one of my new favorite series. And if you haven't seen it yet, I strongly advise you to do so. Yellowjackets’ mysteries span two timelines and include, among other things, the potential threat of cannibalism, murder, and maybe even bloodthirsty spirits.
This first season was about the horrific plane crash in the mid-'90s that left a high school girl's soccer team stuck in the woods for 18 months. So, in one timeline, the plot is focused on the surviving girls trying to pull through on their own. While in the other one the girls, now adults with families, do their best to have a normal life despite the traumas of their past.
Season 1 ended with some unexpected twists and a surprising cliffhanger. And my only small complaint about the series is that some of the visual effects were not really up to par. However, this does not make Yellowjackets an inferior or weaker counterpart to other great TV shows airing these days. The show is well-acted and scripted, and it was great to see Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci returning to the Zeitgeist.
Ozark. Season 4 (part 1)
Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) were last seen as they climbed to the top of a Mexican cartel syndicate. The great and daring writing at the end of the third season left me first anxious and then shocked. Season 4 opens off right after the events of Season 3 with them actually washing the remains of human brains off their faces and hair. Just brutal!
In this last season, the Byrdes are trying hard to keep their family united while looking for a way out of their misadventures in money laundering and criminal activity. But they keep making some terrible decisions and leaving a massive trail of dead corpses and ruined lives. The writing once again is excellent, and the writers push a lot into this first half of the season. They lay the stage for the anticipated events to come while still giving us plenty of action and a lot of surprises. Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, and Julia Garner continue to impress with their performances. But Garner really gives another award-winning performance playing Ruth. Especially in the last episode. No wonder she has become a fan favorite.
This season, Ruth's attitude and stubbornness continue, but she also learns the drawbacks of attempting to do things her own way. The first half of the series last season does an excellent job of introducing new themes while simultaneously looking ahead and bringing the entire series full circle. Season 4 has the tensest situations yet. The stakes are really high this time allowing for just about anything to happen. This is only part one, but so far, Ozark is on route to do what all its fans expect, finishing the series at a high level.