Series Review: Them – Covenant

Them is receiving many comparisons to Jordan Peele’s US – but the only thing that the two have in common is a similar poster and a black family dealing with a brutal home invasion. Where Jordan Peele managed to both horrify and crack the audience up – Them only manages to make us feel uncomfortable as we witness all the horrific acts of violence that white characters bestow upon the black characters throughout the duration of the series.

Them is closer to the film Antebellum than US – in depicting black trauma and suffering with no slices of comic relief. Them follows the Emorys relocating from North Carolina after a traumatic event – to Compton, California in the 1950’s. Each character not only has to deal with real horror (overt racism and past PTSD) but also with evil supernatural forces.

The series is a non-stop violent marathon, and even for seasoned horror viewers like myself who has enjoyed watching Hostel a billion times – doesn’t prepare you for the sick dread feeling you’ll experience if you choose to watch Them. Personally, I would’ve liked some moments of levity in between all the violence. I would’ve liked to have gotten to know each of the Emorys in a way that wasn’t entirely focused on their trauma and suffering. Even when Lucky was at Hazel’s home and seemed to be having fun, suddenly she was reminded of the traumatic event that caused them to move – or I would’ve liked to see Ruby triumph when she upstaged her white classmates with her knowledge, rather than be brutally mocked and humiliated.

I wanted the Emorys to have little triumphs in the midst of darkness. Instead – what we’re left with after viewing ten episodes is feeling utterly exhausted and haunted and yes, a little traumatized. Horror should scare us – but it should also entertain. Where Them falls short is that we’re well aware of the real life horrors of racism, we haven’t been able to look away ever since there were some high profile incidents in the past year.

Some Black reviewers question who the series was written for since they don’t feel like it was written with them in mind. If Little Marvin wanted to depict the evils of the white man, then he did a superb job. But after all the horror, a bit of levity and triumph would’ve been the balm we needed.

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Series Review: Firefly Lane

Recently, I was asked to view an advanced screening of Firefly Lane, the newest series to hit Netflix in February, based off of the New York Times best-selling author Kristin Hannah’s 2008 novel of the same name. I purposely didn’t read a plot summary before diving in, but I did decide to watch it based off of the fact that Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy fame and early aughts rom-com queen) and Sarah Chalke (Scrubs and Rick & Morty) star as the two best friends, Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey.

The show is split in three time frames, present 2007, past 1982, and childhood past 1974. The show, like the novel, shows the spanning of a 30-years-old friendship between two best friends who first met at the pivotal age of 14 when living on the same street, Firefly Lane.

Tully Hart has always been ambitious and beautiful, the stark contrast of Kate Mularkey who’s intelligent but mousy. The two have always envied the life of the other. Tully envies Kate’s family, while Kate envies Tully’s beauty and charisma.

I only got to view the first two episodes, but episode one shows us meeting the protagonists at their lowest points. Tully is a successful talkshow host but is worried that her beauty is diminishing and feels like her talent is wasted on the talkshow, while Kate is trying to deal with a divorce and trying to navigate work again after being out of the workforce for the past fourteen years.

FIREFLY LANE (L to R) ALI SKOVBYE as YOUNG TULLY and ROAN CURTIS as YOUNG KATE in episode 102 of FIREFLY LANE. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020

Both actresses excel in their roles and compliment one another. My favourite aspect about this show is the enduring friendship between the two protagonists and how even the possibility of a love triangle doesn’t seem to derail how they feel about each other. If anything, this series focuses on how maybe your soulmate is your best friend and not your romantic partner, and that the greatest love story you’ll ever live is the one you have with your childhood best friend. At a time when women are always seen competing against one another on shows or movies, this is refreshing. Again, I’ve only viewed the first two episodes, so I ope that they continue on this course and don’t derail into the normal tropes that I despise about female friendships.

One of the moments I loved best about the show is when Tully, noticing that Kate is feeling frumpy, decides to swap dresses with her so that her best friend can feel beautiful in a more attention-seeking dress. Or when Tully is speaking with Kate’s daughter, and Kate’s daughter is complaining about her mom and calls her a bitch and Tully stops her and says, “Hey, don’t talk about my best friend like that. Your mom is nice, she was nice at 14 and no one is nice at that age.”

If you’re someone who loves friendship stories, I think you’re really going to love this series and you should definitely check it out.

*Thank you to Netflix for advance screening!

Watch Firefly Lane starting February 3, Netflix.

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