Top of the Lake Is the Pick of the Week

Some weeks you gotta ignore the masses and pick what you want. Okay, admittedly I pretty much do that every week, but this week I’m doing it more than usual.

Duck Dynasty is a cultural phenomenon. They say it’ s the biggest reality show to appear on basic cable ever, and judging by Facebook chatter and t-shirts for sale at Wal-Mart, I believe them. It’s also become very controversial. One of the Robertson clan recently said something ugly about gay people and was suspended by A&E until he wasn’t. Social media lit up over the affair and I had to shut down Facebook for a few days as arguments about the Ducks had taken over. Personally, I just don’t care. I’ve never watched Duck Dynasty and have no desire to ever start.

But lots of people do, and so I’ll mention that Season 4 comes out this week.

Archer doesn’t have nearly the mass popularity of Duck Dynasty but those who do like it seem to really like it. This includes our very own Gordon S. Miller who has praised the show more than once. I’ve tried watching it a couple of times but could never get into it. Too much screaming to be funny. But for those of you who care Season Four of it is also out this week.

Enough about what I’m not interested in and onto my pick. I first found Elisabeth Moss when she played the President’s daughter on The West Wing. Her role was fairly small and she appeared in only a handful of episodes, but she lit up the screen when she did. I loved the character and her portrayal of the same and made note to look for her elsewhere. I always find joy when actors I like in one TV show develop their careers after the show has ended.

Moss, of course, became one of the stars of Mad Men playing the ever wonderful Peggy Olsen on that terrific show. She’s probably my favorite character on a show with lots of wonderful people. She recently made Top of the Lake with director Jane Campion and Holly Hunter. It’s gotten marvelous reviews and looks just wonderful.

So apologies for those who love their rednecked water-fowl, and foul-mouthed animated spies, but this week’s pick goes to a little mystery from New Zealand. Here’s my review.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Copper: Season 2: BBC America’s first foray into original programming is about New York City in the late 1800s. I’ve not seen a lick of it, but it remains on my list of TV that I must check out.

Thanks for Sharing: Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Tim Robbins star in this romantic comedy that follows the lives of three obsessives who meet in a support group. That premise sounds terrible but I like those actors so I’ll give it a shot.

House of Lies: Season Two: The reviews I’ve read of this corporate America-skewing comedy have all been pretty terrible so I’m surprised it got a second season. It stars the usually terrific Don Cheadle so I remained skeptically interested.

The Act of Killing: Errol Morris and Werner Herzog talked some real-life mass murderers to reenact their killings on stage. Two men who took part in honest-to-god death squads in Indonesia turn their murderous spree into dramatic retellings in the style of their favorite film genres: gangster, western, and musical. The results are supposed to be intense and chilling. This is a film I know I should see, but one that I’m leery of actually watching for the no-doubt horror that it will bring. Read Kristen Lopez’s review.

Eclipse Series 40 – Late Ray (Criterion Collection): Three late-period films by Satyajit Ray – The Home and the World, An Enemy of the People, and The Stranger. I’ve never heard of Ray to be honest, but if Criterion says he’s good, then I’m on board.

Birth of the Living Dead: In 1968 George A. Romero directed the very low budget Night of the Living Dead and created a sub-genre that remains more popular than ever. This is a documentary about the making of the classic zombie flick. I’m a big fan of the genre and the movie so this sounds really interesting. Read Kent Conrad’s review.

Mat Brewster

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