Thread: The Night Of

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    The Night Of
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    This TV show is a critical and apparently an audience hit, based on the British show from 2008 "Criminal Justice". After having it recommended to me by several people, I finally got to see it.

    What can I say - I HATED it. Too bad, I really don't like not liking shows/films, after all, life is far better with good shows (like the excellent Chernobyl, which is also a big critical and audience favorite).

    Here are some of the issues - and they are numerous. There is practically nothing I like about the show, although I suppose the DP did a very good job.

    First and foremost this show is a stack of cliches. There is not a single trope that we have not seen on some other crime show, and done a lot better. Why am I watching something that has absolutely nothing new to say, and the old that it does say, it says very, very badly. It's mindnumbing to watch re-gurgitated tropes that are done in a subpar manner for an entire episode, unrelentingly. If you can't do something new, at least do the old in a way that excels. This excels at nothing, instead wallowing in flat bottom of the barrel perfunctory renditions of stuff we've seen a billion trillion times before. It's by-the-numbers to an extreme degree, with no respite of even a hint of anything new or fresh.

    Second, and this really is immediately disqualifying, is that it completely lacks in any realism or plausibility (and here I mean of course not documentary realism, but movie realism) - when the show lacks any feeling of realism you can't get emotionally involved. It's immediatly dead. You realize acutely that you are watching a lazy creation that has no connection to real life - this in a show that purports to show real life. This is fatal. The implausibilities start right from the get go, with a horrible encounter with a girl that feels so unreal and is so clearly a hack writer's creation, that it just leaves you angry. All so we can saddle the hero with a crime that has not actually happened to anyone ever at any time in the history of crime anywhere. Completely 100% unbelievable girl-seductress behavior that only exists in bad movies. Revolting. When you don't believe in the realism of the human beings being actual human beings versus the humanoid-like creations of hack writers, you cannot engage. Game over. And that's just a start, with each and every development just as unbelievable.

    And the plotting is simply a dreck. Everything is "just so" - every development feels written plodding with heavy leaden shoes, with the express purpose of getting our hero (Naz) into an "airtight" culprit role. Done with extreme clumsiness. And zero plausibility. Oh, he, the meek fellow gets into a verbal altercation with two hoods - right in front of the girl's apartment, how convenient, just so he can be fingered by one of them later - he, this meek, meek guy portrayed as such from the start is gonna start sh|t with two guys in the middle of the night... riiiight. He implausibly "forgets" his jacket, just so he has to go back and break into the apartment, just so that he can hurt his hand on the glass for blood to be identified, just so that he can be seen by the guy across the street, just so he can be stopped by the cops, just so they can find the knife he took with him, just so that he can... etc. ad nauseum. I understand that you want to arrange circumstances, but why so extremely clumsy and implausible? It's nauseating to watch a show and see the hack writer loudly clacking the keys on his typewriter telegraphing everything a billion miles away. The problem is that this doesn't feel "real" on any level. It feels like a high schooler's idea of a "cop show" or "crime show", like it was done for children or maybe the developmentally delayed, so that one needs to flatten everything, and cliche up everything and remove any semblance of real life. A cartoonishly flat little play loudly advertising itself as the very essence of real life.

    All of this is an excuse to supposedly explore our criminal justice system - oh, I'm really looking forward to this exploration under the expert guidance of hack writers who just proved to me in the very first episode that they can't create real characters to save their lives, or plot developments that would pass muster with a five year old. I'm sure gonna be interested in what this crew tells me about our criminal justice system! And what a crashing bore of a direction that is - note how callous and uninterested the writers are in the story of the original victim, whose death started all this but apparently only exists to jam our hero in his artificial situation. You'd think at least the show would be about what happened to this girl, but no - that would be too hard. Let's throw up a bizarre crime so we can create the culprit scenario, but let's not bother our heads about explaining it, cause really, we got nothin'. She is simply murdered for nothing other than plot mechanics of the lowest kind. Bravo!

    And the execution of this garbage... holy moses. I mean, does the director understand the word "pace"? Every scene is draaaaaged out and milked, and milked and milked long past any milk coming out - milking air with filthy mitts. Bored out of my mind waiting for sh|t to move. Possibly the worst pacing in a TV series I've seen this year. You could literally cut every scene by 2/3 and lose absolutely nothing in conveying the developments. Boring scenes, boringly done.

    I struggle to always find at least a tiny bit of good in whatever mess - and I guess the guy playing Naz is pretty good as an actor. That's about it. The rest of the actors are simply stock characters doing the stock cliches, nobody particularly inspiring. Plus it has John Turturro, always a negative in my book, but I suppose I can't blame the show for my dislike of this particular actor.

    Overall, yet another instance where the success of a show simply leaves me bemused in the extreme... y'all like this garbage?! Wow. Taste is a great mystery of mankind - how can human A loathe something that human B loves? Wonders never cease. As usual, my opinion only, and YMMV of course.


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    Mate, you overthink these things. It's not trying to be anything other than simple, disposable telly.
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    Eh? What do you even mean? I suppose what you're saying - correct me if I'm wrong! - is that there are two kinds of shows, the "serious" ones which are trying to send a message, stand for something, create a movement, be a commentary or critique etc., and then there are those shows which are "pure entertainment" which are not meant to stand for anything other than the momentary entertainment in the instant they are consumed.

    If that's what you mean, then I think you are wrong in two ways. First, I actually believe that "The Night Of" styles itself and projects itself as the "serious" kind of show - we know this because of the people involved and the critical projection, from the writers to the producers - here is how one review put it:

    "To underline its status as a Serious Undertaking, The Night Of is beautifully shot, all greens and blacks and blues in the shadow. The actors, who besides Turturro include Michael K. Williams, Riz Ahmed, and Amara Karan, are all splendidly chosen and evidently eager to chew on the script. The show boasts the imprimatur of Richard Price, whose association with The Wire now marks him out as a brand name now, and that brand is Seriousness. In short, The Night Of begs for acknowledgement by awards and critics. It wants to be the Prestige Hit of the Summer."

    Boom. Clearly I'm not some lone nut who misunderstood it. It's the critical consensus. And a direct contradiction from what you said. And indeed nothing about this show projects anything other than Serious - not disposable telly.

    So you're dead wrong on that. In fact, comically so, because there are plenty of shows that do take themselves as simply "disposable telly", but you picked the ONE of the crowd that is the opposite of that. Ouch, bad luck, Liam!

    Now, I'm sure they meant to also be entertaining - that's certain - and who knows, maybe they outwardly claim "seriousness", but secretly think to themselves "got you suckers! secretly we are disposable telly, ha, ha" - but that's pretty convoluted reaching. Nope, the simple truth is they take themselves seriously, and want critics/audiences to do so too.

    But you are also wrong in another way. Let us assume for a moment that it is "disposable telly" and nothing but that. How are your remarks then relevant to my little review? Why am I "overthinking it"?

    Look, even if it is nothing but "disposable telly" meant to do nothing but entertain for the moment - IT FAILS TO DO SO FOR ME! And I certainly am not wrong or silly to point out the failure of the CRAFT here not only the artistic failure. It fails in its mission "to entertain". I mean, for example if you see something that has terrible lighting, and worse sound, and abysmal acting - and someone comes along to point it out, you can't tell them "you're overthinking it! it's disposable telly!"... um, the lighting is wrong, the sound is awful and the acting terrible - even if it is "disposable telly"! And nobody would be wrong or "overthinking it" to point it out.

    I found "The Night Of" to be a giant failure. It doesn't matter whether they are Serious, or as you claim "disposable telly" - the show is a failure! And I'm pointing that out with detailed arguments, as is proper (and btw., in the pinned instructions in this forum where we are urged to give arguments, not just exclaim "bad!" - so I'm doing exactly what I should be doing).

    The show is a FAIL. I give reasons. I hope my arguments make sense. I welcome disagreements and differing opinion. But I don't think an analysis of a show or movie is ever "overthinking it" - it is in fact the essence of how we learn, and apply that critical faculty to any show whether "serious" or "disposable telly". In each case craft, skill, and artistry is involved. And we analyze it. That's the purpose of this board.


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    You rather proved my point. It's nicely shot pap. That's it.
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    I was somewhat mixed about it. I found the overall story to be compelling, and I really liked John Turturro (defense lawyer) and Bill Camp's (detective) characters, but the visual style & pacing of the show was overly serious and dark.


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