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HERE AND NOW, and inclusive storyline from SIX FEET UNDER creator

here-and-now-and-inclusive-storyline-from-six-feet-under-creator

Here and Now is an HBO series that focuses on a large family, with a bunch of adopted kids from various backgrounds, and a holistic life philosophy. From the Six Feet Under creator, Alan Ball, this new show tries to stir conversation about race, sexuality, family and the biggest word of the year: inclusiveness. The word around town is mostly negative, especially in the light of Six Feet Under's success, but I enjoy each one hour long episode because it has a nice vibe despite its occasional preachiness. Were I were to analyze it as a piece of filmmaking, however, I might not be that optimistic.

Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins star as Audrey Bayer and Greg Boatwright, a married pair with a multiracial family meant to reflect their progressive values. Their three adult children, who all, like their parents, live in Portland, were adopted from various corners of the globe. There’s Ashley (Jerrika Hinton), from Liberia, who’s now married, a mother to her own daughter, and a business owner; Duc (Raymond Lee), a rigid life coach who was born in Vietnam; and Ramon (Daniel Zovatto), a Colombian video-game designer who starts having unexplained visions that hint at a possible mental-health issue. There’s also Kristen (Sosie Bacon), who’s 17, the youngest member of the family, and Audrey and Greg’s only biological child.

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"“Here and Now” is filled with compelling performances, specifically from Macdissi and Hunter, but they can’t overcome an unnerving sense of artificiality. From the characters built around talking points to the family dynamic itself, the whole show feels written — overwritten. Few moments happen naturally instead of being manipulated for an educational purpose; so much so that when nuance sneaks in, it’s jarring. There’s talk of a dark, scary world that everyone fears, but rarely does anyone get to see it. Most of the action takes place within the Bayer-Boatwright bubble. Everyone respects everyone’s choices. Reason wins out. Arguments are heard, instead of shouted over. If something unsettling does happen, it’s seen through a filter; as if they knowingly stepped out of one bubble and into another, careful not to pop the progressive “Pleasantville” they’ve formed." (Indiewire)

"As a fan of Alan Ball’s work, especially Six Feet Under, it disappoints me enormously that Here and Now is such a mess of a series. This family drama from the man who gave birth to the Fishers of the HBO funeral-home saga as well as the vampires of True Blood, addresses empty liberalism, existential crises, and religious angst, then spreads an apocryphal, supernatural element on top of it all. The result is an insufferable ten-episode HBO series that’s trying very hard to speak to the mood of our times but ultimately does not have anything significant to say about it." (Vulture)

"Unfortunately — and this was also true of “American Beauty,” despite its multiple Academy Awards — he doesn’t have anything new or particularly interesting to say. Straight white people are self-loathing and lame. Dads are depressed but redeemable, moms are pretty much a lost cause. We’d all be better off if we put away our cellphones and got outside.

Through four episodes of its 10-episode season, “Here and Now” works the well-plowed soil of middle-age suburban malaise, the ground of Updike, Cheever and their many imitators. The suburbs have been replaced by Portland, Ore., and the ennui-ridden father, Greg Boatwright (Tim Robbins), is 60, the new middle age. (Kevin Spacey’s Lester Burnham in “American Beauty” was 42.)" (New York Times)

"Here and Now lacks that organizing principle, which left me thinking that maybe the “hot button issue of the week” structure could have been an improvement, when, really, it doesn’t belong anywhere near a family drama and would probably just reduce the show’s multiracial cast to a collection of talking points. But the irony is that the characters already are sort of collections of talking points, as the show finds itself too caught between just being itself and attempting to provide the definitive document of Liberal Life Under Donald Trump.

Like so many prestige dramas right now, then, Here and Now lacks a strong reason for any of its individual episodes to exist. The show is just a chronicle of stuff that happens to this family, with a vague promise that something important will happen somewhere along the line. I never hated watching it, but I never felt particularly compelled to watch any more." (Vox)

Check out the trailer below.

Tags:   news, series, trailer, drama, television, Here and Now

Related:   Six Feet Under, Here and Now


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