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A Native Piece of Life, a Marvel Twist and Funny Murders: Review of New Series - Walla! culture


A new comedy drama by genius Taika Whitity, a true crime comedy with an unassuming cast, and a surprising Marvel series not just for ardent fans. This is what we thought of "Reserve Dogs", "Only Murders in the Building" and "What If" - three series that we long for to come to Israel

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A Native Piece of Life, A Marvel Twist and Funny Murders: A Review of New Series

A new comedy drama by genius Taika Whitity, a true crime comedy with an unassuming cast, and a surprising Marvel series not just for ardent fans.

This is what we thought of "Reserve Dogs", "Only Murders in the Building" and "What If" - three series that we long for to come to Israel


  • What If

  • Only Murders in the Building

  • Reservation Dogs

  • TV review

Ilan Kaprov

Wednesday, 15 September 2021, 00:00 Updated: 00:09

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Trailer for the series "Only Murders in the Building" (Hollow)

What If

It's not at all certain that "What If", the new Disney Plus animated series, was originally designed to be a significant series in the life cycle of the evolving Marveli universe, the one formerly called the cinematic universe and now spread across a variety of screens. But fate and the corona wanted and her entry into our lives right now, in the midst of crazy hype around the multiverse and its far-reaching influences, turned her strange and fantastic collection of stories (in the sense of fantasy) into a tool experiment of the real thing. A kind of cartoon example of the potential of the future to come (the series will arrive in Israel with Disney Plus, which is expected to happen by the summer of 2022).

The protagonist of the series is a galactic entity named "The Viewer" (in Jeffrey Wright's voice, "Westworld"), who presents to us every episode a familiar story from Marvel's expanded universe, during which a small change changed the whole course of events we knew.

As its name implies, the "viewer" does not interfere with events but only presents them as their being.

Thus, the series wonders, what would have happened if Agent Carter had become Britain's captain in place of her lover, Steve Rogers - Captain America, or what the Guardians of the Galaxy would have looked like if Peter Quayle had been replaced by Tejala, the Black Panther (from his last roles Of the late Chadwock Bozman).

A parallel reality that looks similar to concepts and characters we are all familiar with, but also completely different.

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The first two episodes of the series do look like the original intent for which it was formed: a kind of likable filler for Disney Plus subscribers. Although the animation is fine, the writing is superficial and flightless, and the short episodes (about half an hour each) do not leave a special impression. But from the third episode onwards, there is an intriguing and unexpected change, not only in the writing of the series but also in its willingness to go to gloomy districts to present an alternative version of the stories we knew. Thus, the fourth episode presents a version in which the accident that Doctor Strange had and led to his original story, ends in the death of his beloved. Without going into spoilers, the intriguing treatment of the series in the districts a man is willing to go to to cling to the feeling that his loved ones have not left him, is made great and touching. Definitely helps that Benedict Cumberbatch is back to dubbing his character.

Even an episode in which a zombie attack turns the Avengers themselves into the undead is revealed as a flash of gameplay between genres and presents interesting and non-obvious solutions.

And so, what was supposed to be for Marvel mice only, becomes a viewing that might be intriguing not only to superhero fans.

Mainly because the parallel versions do not depend on sequels or are tied to previous plot lines - thus producing stories that stand on their own and whose bottom line is not self-evident.

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Reservation Dogs

One of the most prominent phenomena of recent years in television in general, and in the American one in particular, is the entry into small and intimate niches. "Atlanta", "Rami", "Expert in Nothing" and to some extent also "Dave" are all series whose focus revolves around a small cell: neighborhood, family, community. What in the past was the classic tendency of the village mice to go out to taste the big city, has been reversed. Their stories, the seemingly small and minor pieces of life, become, thanks to sensitive writing and clever focus, an exciting and touching envelope, illuminating major social and cultural issues far beyond the totality of the existing story.

"Reservation Dogs" by FX / Hollow and the creator of the genius Taika Whitity ("Thor Ragnarok", "What Happens in the Shadows") is another series from this very category.

It takes place in a Oklahoma Native Reserve, and follows four local teenagers whose big dream is to raise enough money to move to California.

It would not be a significant spoiler to discover that this great ambition is only a plot tool, to delve deeper into the various stories of the boys and girls and those around them, including the cultural baggage they carry with them and the connections with the outside world.

Hence, of course, comes the name of the series, a pun on the iconic work by Quentin Tarantino (it is currently unknown whether the series was purchased for broadcast in Israel).

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The first part of the series introduces the boys and girls as one gang, the "Rez Dogs", and this is also the more fun and funny part of the season. The various parts of the group, and especially the prominent characters in it - Alora Danan (Dwyer Jacobs) and Bar (D'Faro Won-a-Tai) - together produce an intriguing and touching whole. On the one hand, the desire to rebel which is expressed in pranks that are glorified far beyond their specific weight (like a very amusing car robbery or a battle of paintballs), and on the other hand the indigenous respect imposed on them by their immediate surroundings. This creates a conflict between the familiar and warm home and the fantasy outside of it.

Precisely the second part of the season, which actually connects to all the previous works mentioned here, feels a bit tired. In these episodes the group splits up and each of its members, as well as other characters in the town, wins an episode that focuses on it. Here is a hunting trip starring a father and daughter that becomes a mental account of their relationship, where a son is an estranged father who has never fixed the hole he made in the life of his son and ex-partner. Perhaps the most successful of these episodes is the one that puts Big in the spotlight (Jean McLarenon, "Westworld," "Longmeier"), and presents the original story of the cop who is considered the town's joke. Each of these episodes is well written and includes exciting moments, but something in the rhythm and style of the first episodes of the bunch is a bit lost during them. As if the series sacrifices the quirky and light breeze it brought with it, while creating a heavy head and soul in keeping with the spirit of the period.

And yet, even if all of its episodes are not equal in level, it is yet another work that showcases the versatility, emotion and wisdom of Whitity (who co-created the series with Sterlin Hargio).

It sheds light on characters and stories like few have ever been seen on the small screen, and certainly not in the sensitive and loving framing of this person.

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Only Murders in the Building

A first look at the cast of Hollow's new crime mini-series (it is currently unknown if the series was purchased for broadcast in Israel) could certainly cause eye-rolling.

Steve Martin and Martin Short, a legendary comedic duo behind over five decades of acting, star here alongside none other than Selena Gomez.

The talented pop star's acting career has so far not yielded pearls to say the least, which is one of the many reasons why this is one of the surprises of 2021. What looks like a puzzle whose various parts are unable to connect even by gluing - turns out to be a flash whose different parts complement each other.

The closest, but inaccurate, parallel to "Only Murders in the Building" is to the excellent "American hooligan": on the one hand a parody of real crime works, and on the other a series of true crime stories itself, which takes it too abysmally seriously.

But while "American Hooligan" settled for cock graffiti, the series' three protagonists - an aging TV star whose glorious days are far behind him (Martin), a colorful and impoverished entrepreneur and producer whose career is full of resounding failures (Martin) and a reclusive young woman with a mysterious past (Gomez) Going out to investigate a murder that took place in the apartment building where they live.

Their attempts to surpass the identity of the killer, they document in a podcast that they hope will become a hit like the works they themselves are addicted to.

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Fun dynamics and entertaining writing.

Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez, "Only Murders in the Building" (Photo: Hollow)

The most striking thing about "Only Murders in the Building" is the thin line it creates between the awareness and pathos of its protagonists, and the real enthusiasm created by the riddle they are trying to solve. Thus she manages to reconcile the huge generational gap between the two men in their seventies plus, and Gomez who has yet to celebrate her thirtieth birthday. A brilliant scene, for example, in which Martin's character tries to decipher how to approach Gomez's, in a way that "suits" her contemporaries ("they do not like to be called," he previously ruled in front of Short), is one of many examples. And while the dynamics within the trio are fun and successful, the writing itself leads them to a host of other and equally excellent characters - like a memorable performance by Sting.

Beneath all this pulsates, as mentioned, an intriguing and well-made investigative story in its own right.

While it is natural that the initial lines of inquiry of the gang will encounter a dead end, the nature of the occurrence itself is surprising and enjoyable, as are the personal stories of each of its details.

Slowly and without bothering or burdening the main story, the series manages to paint each of them in different colors from those that initially seem, and generate identification and curiosity about them.

And unlike many modern series that are consumed on a fast binge, the weekly distribution, which is equivalent to that of a real podcast, adds tension and anticipation to each of its episodes.

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Source: walla

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