Pajamas Over People | Tempting Television: Two New Hard-To-Resist Shows

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FOR THE FOLLOWING SHOWS

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They had me at Tom Hiddleston. When I first started seeing previews for this show during Walking Dead viewings, I knew I’d have to give it a shot. Hiddles has been one of my biggest celebrity crushes ever since my MARVEL crash course (“The Avengers”) when Loki became one of the best villains I’ve ever seen grace the silver screen. He’s incredibly charming, charismatic, and cuuuute.

More and more movie stars are recognizing television’s slow evolution as a great opportunity to dive more in-depth into a story and a character, giving themselves over the nuance and intricacy that a long-term commitment allows. Tom disappeared completely into his role of Jonathan Pine (who, in turn, disappeared completely into his role of Andrew Birch). Would I have enjoyed the show as much had a different actor played the part? Probably not.

The Night Manager mini-series—six episodes—was layer upon layer of mystery and deceit. However, I think it lost its footing while establishing too much of a backstory and not enough of a climax. Richard Roper, played with enigmatic ambiguity by Hugh Laurie, was described as being “the worst man in the world” and I think the hype made the reality fall incredibly flat. He never seemed particularly dangerous. He just watched bad things happen and had other people do his dirty work. What real threat did he pose, in the grand scheme of things? And his ultimate downfall seemed far too convenient and, despite some impressive fireballs, not nearly explosive enough. The victory somehow just didn’t taste as sweet as the characters made it out to be. (Or maybe I’ve just become far too critical of TV shows lately.)

I’d still recommend it, particularly for anyone who is a fan of either of the leads or enjoys a good spy story. This series aired exclusively on AMC Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. from April 19 to May 24. You can catch up on AMC.com.

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I broke my Netflix loyalty for this Aaron Paul-driven Hulu Original. I knew I would. His portrayal of Jesse Pinkman in “Breaking Bad” solidified his position as one of TV’s greatest in my mind, delivering goosebump-inducing performances that broke my heart. That being said, this was a really interesting role for him to step into and I couldn’t wait to see what he did with it.

Cults scare the crap out of me and organized religion is about the closest you can get to groups of people swaying and singing and raising their eyes to some unseen force, thinking they can justify their actions in the name of whatever they believe in. Meyerism, a “Movement” with its Ladder and truth and light and rigid system for achieving enlightenment and entrance to “the Garden,” delivered scary insight into how these people operate. When someone threatens your entire belief system, how do you react? Well, sometimes with murder, according to “The Path.”

Aaron plays Eddie Lane, husband to Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) who was born into the Movement, whose beliefs are so stringent that she’s unwilling to open her mind to any other perspectives. She hasn’t seen her sister—who left the Movement—since they were teenagers. She’s willing to ostracize her own son when he starts having doubts. And she’s inextricably tied to their region’s Movement leader, Cal Roberts, perfectly portrayed by Hugh Dancy.

Eddie starts having his own doubts after a trip to Peru that has him hallucinating about the skeletons in Meyerism’s closet. He spends the next 10 episodes wrestling with unanswered questions and concern for his family, finally culminating with the declaration that, basically, he thinks the whole thing is bull****. The repercussions of that are sure to ripple across the entire second season, which was officially greenlit last month.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who’s a fan of Paul or enjoys toying with life’s bigger questions: If you’ve been raised to believe that something exists, do you believe it because it is real … or just because you’ve been told you should? All of season 1 is now available to stream on Hulu.com.

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