Series Review: The Sinner – Season 1 (2017)

Murder. A horrible crime. Something that can be caused by many different reasons. If you ask me, it’s never okay… but it’s still important to look at all the details of the case.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Sinner”.

Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) seems like your typical woman. She has a house, a husband (Christopher Abbott), a child, and a nice job. But one day while she’s enjoying a day at the beach with her family, she suddenly lashes out and stabs a guy to death. Her case is then given to Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) who has to find out why Cora suddenly committed this horrible act. And the further Ambrose delves into this case, the more questions arise. So now we have our murder mystery. And already I like the different approach. It’s not a whodunnit like most other shows… but a whydunnit instead (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but you get the idea). It’s a really dark show filled with a lot of twists that kept me invested in everything that was going on. The plot here is quite unpredictable, because when you think you know where it’s going, it pulls the rug out from under you, giving the viewer a bit of an “Oh shit” feeling. The plot here is engaging, unpredictable, disturbing, and just overall great.

The characters here are all layered, flawed, and interesting. Jessica Biel plays Cora, the woman at the center of this story. While I won’t go too in-depth about her (since a lot of her character stuff is best left experienced), I will say that she’s a really compelling character who gets some really dark and interesting character development. And Biel is great in the role. Then we have Bill Pullman as Harry Ambrose, the Detective looking into Cora’s case. He is a highly determined policeman that is doing everything to find out what made Cora do this. He doesn’t look at the broad strokes as much as he aims to find out the details of the situation. He does also have some of his own drama to deal with that adds to his character. And Pullman is great in the role. Then we have Christopher Abbott as Cora’s husband Mason. A loving husband and hard worker, Mason’s world gets completely fucked after Cora commits the horrible crime. And seeing his journey after the event is insanely compelling. And Abbott is fantastic in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Dohn Norwood, Jacob Pitts, Abby Miller, Danielle Burgess, Enid Graham, Nadia Alexander, Merediths Holzman, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Ronit Kirchman who I think did really good job. The score is heavily electronic and has a unique and eerie sound that helps add a sense of unease to the show. While I wouldn’t exactly find myself listening to the music from this show for fun, it’s definitely quality stuff that works very well within the show.

Based on a novel by Petra Hammesfahr, this show was created by Derek Simonds, with writing by Simonds and some other people, and direction by various people. And the work all these cool people put in is incredibly good, giving us some of the best craft in any recent show. The sense of dread and suspense throughout is thick enough to cut with a knife, and it helps create an engaging atmosphere that helps grip the viewer. And the cinematography by Radium Cheung and Jody Lee Lipes is pretty damn good.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10.

Season 1 of “The Sinner” is a compelling and disturbing ride that I highly recommend. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, and really good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “The Sinner” is a 9,81/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Sinner” season 1 is now completed.

Bill Pullman is such a likable actor.

Series Review: Hap and Leonard – Season 2 (2017)

About a month ago I reviewed the first season of this show, and I thought it was quite good. Not perfect, but definitely a good season of television. And now I am finally reviewing season 2 (which aired in the spring on this year). So here we go.

Ladies and gents… “Hap and Leonard” season 2.

Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams) are back, though this time they are not looking for money. This time they instead find the remains of a dead child underneath Leonard’s floorboards. The two then report this find to the police (as you should) only to find themselves under investigation for committing the crime, despite them being innocent. But hope is not completely gone as Florida Grange (Tiffany Mack), a lawyer, comes in to try to help ’em out. So then the plot follows our heroes as they try to find the actual culprit while also dealing with corrupt lawmen. And immediately we can see that this season goes for a more serious and less cartoonish plot compared to the first season. And the season we have here is more quiet and serious. It brilliantly manages to tackle dramatic topics like racism, corruption, and child murder without sacrificing the offbeat and unique feel that the first season set up. It perfectly manages to balance a serious drama with an entertaining and pulpy world. And the pacing is much better compared to the first season, moving at a much more steady and focused pace. So yeah, the plot here is pretty great.

The characters are unique, entertaining, colorful, and just really interesting. James Purefoy of course returns as Hap Collins, the well-meaning worker who sometimes takes a wrong step (which makes him a flawed and interesting character). And Purefoy is great in the role, getting to show a somewhat wider range of emotions this season… his southern accent is also a bit more consistent here, so that’s nice. Michael Kenneth Williams returns as Leonard Pine, the black, gay, Vietnam veteran. He’s a troubled man who gets to endure a whole bunch of various problems throughout the season. And Williams is of course great in the role. And the chemistry between our two leads? It’s great, it’s very entertaining and feels genuine. Tiffany Mack plays Florida Grange, the lawyer who comes to Hap and Leonard’s aid and becomes their most important ally this season. She’s tough, smart, sexy, and fun, making for a refreshing presence in this show. We also get Cranston Johnson as a police detective that is investigating this case that our dynamic duo have gotten themselves involved in, and he’s great in the role. I also have to mention Irma P. Hall as MeMaw, the elderly woman that Hap and Leonard find themselves with every now and then throughout the season. She’s so much fun and one of the best things about the season. Overall the season is filled with good performances.

Like the first season, the score here was composed by Jeff Grace, and it’s once again great. It often manages to add a lot of emotion, excitement, or tension to a scene, really showing Grace’s talent/versatility as a composer. It’s great and works very well for the season/show. There are also a couple of licensed tracks used throughout and they work quite well.

If you forgot or just didn’t read my season 1 review, “Hap and Leonard” was created by Jim Mickle & Nick Damici and is based on a series of novels by Joe R. Lansdale. And it was written/directed by a whole bunch of people (including Mickle/Damici/Lansdale). And in season 1 they made such a well defined world that felt lived in. And with this season they improved on it, deepening the stories of the area they’re in as well as the backstories/relationships of everyone there. The shots look good and the direction in this season just has a really nice flow to it, having some nice energy to it while still keeping it feel real and lived in. And even though there are some heavy dramatic moments this season, they don’t skimp on the black humor. There’s quite a bit of humor here and it made me laugh.

This show/season has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it exists but has no score. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Hap and Leonard” season 2 takes everything that was good about the first season and improving on it quite a bit. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Y’all*. My final score for “Hap and Leonard” season 2 is a 9,82/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Hap and Leonard” season 2 is now completed.

Mucho mojo.