A very short review of the Season 7 premiere of “American Horror Story” (2017)

I finally got around to watching my first episode of “American Horror Story” last night; I started with this season’s critically praised premiere.  (People have been enthusiastically recommending this show to me for years, and “Game of Thrones” taught me that the bandwagon isn’t always a bad thing.)

I can’t say that I was overly impressed.  Season 7’s opening episode, entitled “Election Night,” consists mostly of heavy-handed political commentary with caricaturized portrayals of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters.  Nearly none of the characters are likable; not even the one played by the terrific Evan Peters.  (Yes, comics fans, that’s none other than Quicksilver from the latest “X-Men” movies.)

There is a lot of “scary clown” horror here, as anyone who’s seen any marketing for the show at all should know.  Between that and the political elements, I suspect I am not the right audience for this show.  I simply find clowns obnoxious instead of scary, and political commentary in horror usually falls flat with me.  (I’m the rare horror fan who loves George A. Romero’s work only because it’s scary, without caring much about the social statements he’s supposedly making.)

With all of that said, there actually were a couple of creepy moments late in the game.  And there was one (as of yet, minor) character that I liked — the child of the liberal couple who were so devastated by the election results.  He’s cute, and any kid who hides parentally forbidden horror comics under his pillow is one of my tribe.

I’d somewhat grudgingly rate this a 5 out of 10.

Anyway … scary clowns are ubiquitous now, and we already have the zombie shows we need.  I propose that we bring back … body snatchers.  Those can be terrifying in the hands of a talented writer, and they require no special effects.  Or, what about vampires?  Now that “The Strain” has concluded, how about a well written television excursion into Steve Niles’ “30 Days of Night” universe?  Or maybe a “Stakeland” TV show?  Looking at you, AMC.

 

 

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A few quick words on “Game of Thrones” Season 7 (2017)

After finishing its seventh season, I’ve reached the point where I’d name “Game of Thrones” as the best fantasy I’ve ever read or seen.  It’s also among the best television I’ve ever seen, period.  I’d cheerfully rate this penultimate season a perfect 10.

I do understand some of  the criticisms I’ve read from other fans.  Yes, this shorter, more eventful, seven-episode arc could seem a little rushed when compared with prior seasons.  And certain plot points in the last several episodes here are easy to nitpick.

But I can’t give less than a perfect rating to a show that I enjoyed this much.  Season 7 added great action and special effects, lots of momentum, frightening horror, and some long-awaited conclusions to story arcs that began back in Season 1.  And the show still has the best dialogue of any current television show that I’m aware of, usually supported by terrific acting.

I won’t say more for fear of spoilers.  But I obviously loved this season.

 

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GET WHITEY.

Am I nuts if I think Sansa Stark’s outfit on the last episode of “Game of Thrones” looks vaguely reminiscent of the Night King’s armor?

Somebody please tell me this is not foreshadowing her death and reanimation as a wight, or some variation of a White Walker …

What do we call that resurrection process, anyway?  Wighted?  Wightened?  Wightwashed?

 

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A few quick words on the “Game of Thrones” Season 7 premiere.

The premiere of Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” was damned good … enough for me to give it a 9 out of 10.  (You know you’re enjoying a TV show when you are riveted to the screen.)

The dialogue and character development for this show is always first-rate, and the acting often is.  Last night was no exception — the exchange between Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), for example, was priceless.

The glimpse of The Night King’s wight army, however brief, should please any horror fan.  I watch a lot of horror movies, and I’m a tough fan to please.  Yet I am still surprised at how this fantasy show continues to succeed in scaring me.  It’s impressive.  If the leaked script for Season 7 is accurate, then the bad guys in the final episode ought to be damned frightening.

I will reiterate a very minor longstanding quibble that I have had with “Game of Thrones” as someone who has not read the books.  This story seems to attach tremendous dramatic emphasis to the movement and arrival of groups of people.  I do understand the need for this, and its appeal — the logistics are part of George R.R. Martin’s world-building, and they bring detail and a sense of realism.  There are times, however, when I feel like Daenerys’ defining character trait is that she … goes places.  (Look!  Now her army is here!)

I won’t say much more for fear of spoilers — this is a show where even mentioning a character’s name can suggest a chapter in his or her character arc.  (I will say that I loved the opening segment, even if I was understandably puzzled at first.)

This is great TV.