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STRANGER THINGS - Beware Season 2 spoilers!

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37 minutes ago, Thor said:

Whether one "feels" the contemporary horror intensity in STRANGER THINGS or not is irrelevant, really. The point is that it was NOT present in the original movies in the sub genre that the series tries to emulate (if you think it was, you either misremember these films or haven't seen many).

 

There's much more horror in Poltergeist than there is in Stranger Things.

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I think some of you are suffering from a serious case of "rose-coloured glasses" or some warped vision of what those 80s movies actually were. There is nothing whatsoever in a film like POLTERGEIST that even comes close to the type of horror that is nurtured in STRANGER THINGS. Rather, in POLTERGEIST it's all about being operatic, tongue-in-cheek, at times even corny -- typical of the genre films at the time. Same goes for most of Carpenter too.

 

In STRANGER THINGS, however (for the creature sequences that we're talking about), it's seething with rawness, brutality, sometimes realism and contemporary influences previously mentioned. Very visceral. Very 2000s.

 

One must separate between the look of the series (which could very well be referencing something like POLTERGEIST) and the level/type of horror being employed.

 

To say it again: The moment you reduce STRANGER THINGS to just a pastiche show, you're missing out on everything that makes it relevant.

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8 minutes ago, Thor said:

To say it again: The moment you reduce STRANGER THINGS to just a pastiche show, you're missing out on everything that makes it relevant.

 

You contradict yourself though Thor. By citing modern horror films as an influence you are basically affirming it's status as a pastiche show. Just a bit broader then some other do.

 

It's irrelevant anyway because I'm not buying it. The horror on the show certainly isnt very graphic or horrific anyway. As usual you discovered an angle on which you can claim a greater insight into something then the ordinary plebs you have the misfortune to be dealing with here.

Even Alexcremers can't get away with that anymore. Much less you.

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Quote

In STRANGER THINGS, however (for the creature sequences that we're talking about), it's seething with rawness, brutality, sometimes realism and contemporary influences previously mentioned. Very visceral. Very 2000s.

Alien (1979)

The Howling (1981)

The Thing (1982)

Aliens (1986)

The Fly (1986)

Predator (1987)

Hellraiser (1987)

 

....to name a few off the top of my head. All of those films have very visceral (to use your term) "horror". And I'm using "horror" loosely because we're using it in a kind of loose, undefined way in this thread. I'm not even sure I'd describe what's in Stranger Things as particularly visceral. YMMV.

 

So which contemporary horror films does Stranger Things look like? (that don't have the same influences)

 

And the pastiche argument is a red herring. I think most people agree it's more than simply 80's pastiche (though lets face it, without the 80's pastiche there's no show).  For example, I found the last 10 minutes, setting up season 2, to have a very contemporary feel.  That kind of unresolved mystery dropping is very much a more modern technique, brought about by serial storytelling on TV. But I find the "horror" (and most of it isn't horror anyway) to be decidedly old school.  Well, relatively old anyway. 

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17 minutes ago, Nick66 said:

Alien (1979)

The Howling (1981)

The Thing (1982)

Aliens (1986)

The Fly (1986)

Predator (1987)

Hellraiser (1987)

 

And Carrie, IT, probably some more Stephen King influences I'm not aware off.

 

 

21 minutes ago, Nick66 said:

 I found the last 10 minutes, setting up season 2, to have a very contemporary feel.  That kind of unresolved mystery dropping is very much a more modern technique, brought about by serial storytelling on TV.

 

To be honest I didnt much care for that. I wished they had the confidence to keep that sort of stuff to a minimum. If a show is good people will tune in for the next season regardless of there's any foreshadowing or a cliffhanger. I certainly didnt need that much of it.

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53 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

 

To be honest I didnt much care for that. I wished they had the confidence to keep that sort of stuff to a minimum. If a show is good people will tune in for the next season regardless of there's any foreshadowing or a cliffhanger. I certainly didnt need that much of it.

Yeah, I hear you. Anytime you do something like that you run the risk of it looking like you're manipulating your audience. Which, lets face it, you are.

 

I don't know. I'm not sure I can fault them too much. It's a show based on mysteries, and truthfully they were pretty good at answering the mysteries as they went along and wrapping up most of them by the time it was over. Which puts them way ahead of some other shows which drag it on from season to season. So it's again it's hard for me to be overly harsh in trying to entice people back. It's a new show, and maybe they just want to telegraph that...hey we're not done here. They didn't drag out old mysteries, just set you up for new ones. But I agree, it was a little ham fisted.

 

This is something, incidentally, that Game of Thones does exceptionally well. They're very good in the last episode about wrapping up the main storylines for that season while setting up the next one....without making you feel like there's some cheesy cliffhanger to make you come back. Take the end of Season 1. Arya has finished her "end of innocence" story and is on a cart heading north. They've finished her story that season and set her up for the next. Or Arya heading off on the ship leaving Westeros as the end of Season 5, the same. Even "killing" Jon Snow was basically wrapping up his arc for that season.  It wasn't really a cliffhanger because he was killed and he was dead. 

 

This is hard to do an requires, as you said a lot of confidence and exceptional storytelling. 

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

In STRANGER THINGS, however (for the creature sequences that we're talking about), it's seething with rawness, brutality

 

 

This is gold, even by your standards Thor! 

 

Quintus - wondering which the hell version of Stranger Things aired in Thor's country 

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1 hour ago, Nick66 said:

Alien (1979)

The Howling (1981)

The Thing (1982)

Aliens (1986)

The Fly (1986)

Predator (1987)

Hellraiser (1987)

 

....to name a few off the top of my head. All of those films have very visceral (to use your term) "horror". And I'm using "horror" loosely because we're using it in a kind of loose, undefined way in this thread. I'm not even sure I'd describe what's in Stranger Things as particularly visceral. YMMV.

 

I agree that those films have a similar sense of viscerality and horror, but none of them had anything to with the "80s Kid Hero" genre with which we're comparing here. Nor does POLTERGEIST, come to think of it (some marginal elements, at best).

 

Quote

So which contemporary horror films does Stranger Things look like? (that don't have the same influences)

 

Again, it's not about look, but about atmosphere and execution. The face-less creature seems like a cross between Giger and something out of Del Toro's PAN'S LABYRINTH, and delivered with a similar sense of unease and presence. Like when it comes through the wall or that whole sequence with the girl in the dark swimming pool (which to me looks and feels more like something out of SAW). There are also elements of GRDUGE-like creature stalking.

 

This, combined with the richness and development of the characters (the post-90s HBO legacy) makes it relevant; makes it easier to identify with for younger audiences and makes it a fresh take on something that -- only on surface -- seems to be a nostalgia ride for 35+ year-olds. This is not a particularly controversial or unusual observation. In fact, before I read this thread, I had the impression it was common consensus.

 

 

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Again, most people here will agree that its more then just a pastiche. But you seem to have made up your mind that everyone here but you doesnt see past that.

 

I'm puzzled that you seem to ignore that some "kid hero" stuff from the 80's do have horror in them. Have you not heard of IT at all Thor?

 

I wonder if your skewed perspective comes from a lack of knowledge?

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24 minutes ago, Quintus said:

 

This is gold, even by your standards Thor! 

 

Quintus - wondering which the hell version of Stranger Things aired in Thor's country 

 

Hey, if you're content with assessing the show as just an 80s pastiche, made to cater to 30-year-olds and that's that; that there couldn't possibly be anything more to it than that, then that's fine by me. Your loss. I, on the other hand, revel in the many other layers and values that it displays beyond that. Including the collision of new and old, drama and horror etc.

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14 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

I agree that those films have a similar sense of viscerality and horror, but none of them had anything to with the "80s Kid Hero" genre with which we're comparing here. Nor does POLTERGEIST, come to think of it (some marginal elements, at best).

 

 

Again, it's not about look, but about atmosphere and execution. The face-less creature seems like a cross between Giger and something out of Del Toro's PAN'S LABYRINTH, and delivered with a similar sense of unease and presence. Like when it comes through the wall or that whole sequence with the girl in the dark swimming pool (which to me looks and feels more like something out of SAW). There are also elements of GRDUGE-like creature stalking.

 

This, combined with the richness and development of the characters (the post-90s HBO legacy) makes it relevant; makes it easier to identify with for younger audiences and makes it a fresh take on something that -- on the surface -- seems to be a nostalgia ride for 35+ years old. This is not a particularly controversial or unusual observation. In fact, before I read this thread, I had the impression it was common consensus.

 

 

Well these are some good points.

 

I'll just add that while I agree that Alien, et. al. aren't part of the "kid hero" genre, they were certainly, IMO, influential on this show.  It goes without saying that the Alien was Giger. And while I definitely see part of the Pan's Labyrinth creature in the Stranger Things monster, the similarity is purely superficial...the way the "horror" is presented is completely different...i.e. busting through walls and in general tearing up the joint. Very 80's over the top.  And I don't get the GRUDGE creature at all. In fact, ironically when you mentioned that you saw modern horror sensibilities in this show I thought of the Grudge as an example of what it's not.

 

I do particularly agree with your last paragraph, the richness and development of the characters" is certainly something post-HBO and more contemporary for TV. And that's what I meant when I said previously there are in fact contemporary story teling techniques in the show. But that's not really about the type of horror specifically, which is far as I know was your original point.

 

Look, I'm not saying you're wrong. You see what you see in it, it's an opinion and you can't be wrong. It does seem to me, however the the creators of the show were trying create a different type of "horror" feel than you're getting out of it.

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1 hour ago, Nick66 said:

 

 

And the pastiche argument is a red herring. I think most people agree it's more than simply 80's pastiche (though lets face it, without the 80's pastiche there's no show).  For example, I found the last 10 minutes, setting up season 2, to have a very contemporary feel.  That kind of unresolved mystery dropping is very much a more modern technique, brought about by serial storytelling on TV.

 

Of course it has a cliffhanger, it's a TV show! That doesn't make it any less an '80s hodgepodge. Cliffhangers aren't anything new. One of the most famous ones of the '80s is 'Who Shot J.R.'? 

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Who did shoot J.R.? I never found out.

 

2 minutes ago, Nick66 said:

Well these are some good points!

 

I'll just add that while I agree that Alien, et. al. aren't part of the "kid hero" genre, they were certainly, IMO, influential on this show.

 

The problem seems to be is that Thor has latched on to ONLY the kid hero aspect of the show. And is quite blatantly ignoring it's many other aspects.

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3 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

Of course it has a cliffhanger, it's a TV show! That doesn't make it any less an '80s hodgepodge. Cliffhangers aren't anything new. One of the most famous ones of the '80s is 'Who Shot J.R.'? 

Oh, I don't know. I thought it was a bit more subtle than that. More like planting seeds for future mysteries than a classic cliffhanger.  

 

In a classic cliffhanger, you're leaving the story really unresolved. I felt like this story pretty much was resolved.  If the show didn't come back, I'd be disappointed, but wouldn't feel cheated. The story had a beginning, middle and end.

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16 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

Hey, if you're content with assessing the show as just an 80s pastiche, made to cater to 30-year-olds and that's that; that there couldn't possibly be anything more to it than that, then that's fine by me. Your loss. I, on the other hand, revel in the many other layers and values that it displays beyond that. Including the collision of new and old, drama and horror etc.

 

Good for you. However,  for me, it's a kids/young teen TV show. I don't understand why an adult should revel in it. Nostalgia? You ready have lived through the real thing a long time ago. 

 

4 minutes ago, Nick66 said:

The story had a beginning, middle and end.

 

Just like E.T or Close Encounters. It's basically a very, very long kids hero movie of the '80s.

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16 minutes ago, Nick66 said:

I'll just add that while I agree that Alien, et. al. aren't part of the "kid hero" genre, they were certainly, IMO, influential on this show.  It goes without saying that the Alien was Giger. 

 

Oh, totally agreed! Giger and ALIEN are also very much part of the series' DNA.

 

Quote

And while I definitely see part of the Pan's Labyrinth creature in the Stranger Things monster, the similarity is purely superficial...the way the "horror" is presented is completely different...i.e. busting through walls and in general tearing up the joint. Very 80's over the top.  And I don't get the GRUDGE creature at all. In fact, ironically when you mentioned that you saw modern horror sensibilities in this show I thought of the Grudge as an example of what it's not.

 

I don't know; I think the way the creature lurks and approraches the characters is very reminiscent of the scene in PAN where that hand-eyed thing chases -- somewhat more slowly -- the protagonist. It's also that whole burlesque thing; and about the invasion of dimensional creatures in rural/everyday/suburban settings.


The Asian thing (GRUDGE, RING etc.) is more in a feeling of dread and presence; of something just 'outside the line of sight' than any particular visual references. I think a lot of contemporary horror films and TV shows still bear this influence, and STRANGER is no exception. But yeah -- it's not the most overt of the contemporary horror influences.

 

 

Quote

Look, I'm not saying you're wrong. You see what you see in it, it's an opinion and you can't be wrong. It does seem to me, however the the creators of the show were trying create a different type of "horror" feel than you're getting out of it.

 

Well, it would be interesting to hear them talk about it at some point. Maybe they thought about those influences, maybe they didn't. Maybe it was unconscious, which is also often the case. In either case, I stand by my observations, and don't see why it's such a big issue that I see those qualities or references, and others don't. If others don't recognize them, that's their prerogative. I've had similar debates about other films (I remember going several rounds on Bay's PAIN & GAIN, for example -- one of my favourite movies that year -- because people were unable or unwilling to recognize the subversive or self-parodical approach that he took).

 

8 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

Good for you. However,  for me, it's a kids/young teen TV show. I don't understand why an adult should revel in it. Nostalgia? You ready have lived through the real thing a long time ago.

 

Nostalgia is awesome and fun for everyone! If you lose your sense of nostalgia, you lose a bit of yourself. Fortunately, however, this series has other qualities as well.

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

In STRANGER THINGS, however (for the creature sequences that we're talking about), it's seething with rawness, brutality, sometimes realism and contemporary influences previously mentioned. Very visceral. Very 2000s.

 

I agree with the others. Its horror was a walk in the park compared to The Thing, Alien, Videodrome, ... Perhaps you have forgotten about them? I actually never experienced Stranger Things as horror. 

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26 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

 

Well, it would be interesting to hear them talk about it at some point. Maybe they thought about those influences, maybe they didn't. Maybe it was unconscious, which is also often the case. In either case, I stand by my observations, and don't see why it's such a big issue that I see those qualities or references, and others don't. If others don't recognize them, that's their prerogative. I've had similar debates about other films and stuff (I remember going several rounds on Bay's PAIN & GAIN, for example -- one of my favourite movies that year -- because people were unable to recognize the subversive or self-parodical approach that he took).

Yeah, I can buy that maybe the creators were unconsciously influenced by what's being done today, even if they were intentionally going for something more retro. Who's to say. They are contemporary filmmakers, after all. We're all influenced to some degree by what were exposed to. We'll just have to agree to disagree as to what their intentions were, which I think are firmly and intentionally rooted in paying homage to and to certain extent emulating 80's flicks. I just think any similarity to Japanese horror is purely coincidental. ;)

 

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2 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

I agree with the others. Its horror was a walk in the park compared to The Thing, Alien, Videodrome, ... I actually never experienced it as horror. Perhaps you have forgotten about them?

 

I have not, and I agree that those films are on another level, not to mention part of this show's influences. But they were not relevant for this particular discussion point (80s Kid Hero movies vs. contemporary horror)

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22 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

Who did shoot J.R.? I never found out.

 

 

The problem seems to be is that Thor has latched on to ONLY the kid hero aspect of the show. And is quite blatantly ignoring it's many other aspects.

Yeah, obviously there's a lot more going on than the kid hero thing. I see some John Hughes, for example in there as well.

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15 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

 

Just like E.T or Close Encounters. It's basically a very, very long kids hero movie of the '80s.

Exactly! And I wouldn't describe Roy Neary boarding the Mothership and flying into space as a cliffhanger. The story was resolved, even if what would happen next created a new mystery (part of which was sadly ruined with the special edition).

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2 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

But you are the only person making that connection.

 

To most it's 80's kids hero movie vs late 70's and 80's horror (Stephen King, JohnCarpenter).

 

 

 

Exactly. And no 'vs' would be needed there, as it's part of the same period. Do you seriously think that if this show was ONLY about recreating the aesthetic of 80s films and TV shows; without anything contemporary in it at all, that it would become the phenomenon that it did?

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5 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

I have not, and I agree that those films are on another level, not to mention part of this show's influences. But they were not relevant for this particular discussion point (80s Kid Hero movies vs. contemporary horror)

 

Even if it's contemporary horror it's told with the voice of  a young Spielberg. It doesn't make Stranger Things new or unique, just like the music isn't anything new or unique.

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Must everything be new and unique all the time, in order to have value?

 

The new and unique in this case, btw, is the collision of styles and approaches, not in any particular singular element.

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Change your name to SjonnieCremers! ?

 

2 minutes ago, Thor said:

Must everything be new and unique all the time, in order to have value?

 

The new and unique in this case, btw, is the collision of styles and approaches, not in any particular singular element.

 

Might this not be a case of what Tolkien describef as "applicability of the reader"? The reader reads something into the book before him that the author never intended?

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Personally, I think it should have aimed to be more than a hodgepodge of '80s cinema (E.T., CE3K with a touch of Carpenter). Same goes for The Force Awakens. I don't want to have the feeling things just stand still. I'm no longer the same person that I was in the '80s.

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3 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

Personally, I think it should have aimed to be more than a hodgepodge of '80s cinema (E.T., CE3K with a touch of Carpenter). Same goes for The Force Awakens. I don't want to have the feeling things just stand still. I'm no longer the same person that I was in the '80s.

 

Hollywood is out of ideas Alex, thats why we have female Ghostbusters, Terminator Genisys, Jurassic World, new Star Wars, Indy 5, a Lethal Weapon tv show, a new season of The X-Files, a new season of Twin Peaks and Blade Runner 2.

 

They want to play it safe. No silly risks with new ideas!

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That's one reason why Interstellar was one of the best films in years.

 

And I thought Skyfall was a great example of taking something very tired and established and making it a new and immediate work of art.

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5 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

 

Hollywood is out of ideas Alex, thats why we have female Ghostbusters, Terminator Genisys, Jurassic World, new Star Wars, Indy 5, a Lethal Weapon tv show, a new season of The X-Files, a new season of Twin Peaks and Blade Runner 2.

 

They want to play it safe. No silly risks with new ideas!

 

Yes, but TV is (or was) in a progressive phase.

 

3 minutes ago, Nick66 said:

That's one reason why Interstellar was one of the best films in years.

 

 

 

TGP has a new avatar?

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For a while, but no longer it seems. Also, has Netflix ever done something really extraordinary so far? Whats their best show? Fargo? But thats based on an old Coen brothers movie. 

 

They never attempted anything of HBO or Breaking Bad level quality, as far as I am aware.

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29 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

For a while, but no longer it seems. Also, has Netflix ever done something really extraordinary so far? Whats their best show? Fargo? But thats based on an old Coen brothers movie. 

 

HOUSE OF CARDS is pretty extraordinary.

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Right. For a moment there, I thought I would see something other than raging cynicism on this board. Too naïve of me.

 

(what British TV show are you talking about, btw? YES, MINISTER? LOL!)

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Yes, but they made 3 series. So 12 episodes in total. I'm guessing the first season of the US show is pretty similar to the UK one, after that they become more different because the US political system is obviously different.

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I found the first season of House of Cards to be fairly entertaining. Season 2 quickly became unwatchable to me and I gave it up after the third episode I think.

 

If political drama is your thing, give Borgen, from Denmark, a try.  Outstanding. 

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Just now, Nick66 said:

I found the first season of House of Cards to be fairly entertaining. Season 2 quickly became unwatchable to me and I gave it up after the third episode I think.

 

The UK or US version?

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Just skimming through some of the points made here. I think it's natural and easy to notice and accept that Stranger Things, being a product of the modern era of cinema is influenced by modern horror aesthetics atop its 80s roots. What I don't understand is why that warrants holding this show up on a pedestal, or why that suddenly makes the show "brilliant". 

 

And I don't think Stranger Things has the stylistic individuality of It Follows, which borrows elements from Carpenter, but attempts to tell the story in a more unique way. ST is well made, but let's not blow it out of proportions here.

 

7 hours ago, Stefancos said:

For a while, but no longer it seems. Also, has Netflix ever done something really extraordinary so far? Whats their best show? Fargo? But thats based on an old Coen brothers movie. 

 

They never attempted anything of HBO or Breaking Bad level quality, as far as I am aware.

 
Fargo is FX. And yes it's based on the film, but it revels in expanding that universe in a way that certainly boasts merit. They're doing "Coen brothers" better than the original Coens currently are! You should check it out Steef.
 
6 hours ago, Nick66 said:

I found the first season of House of Cards to be fairly entertaining. Season 2 quickly became unwatchable to me and I gave it up after the third episode I think.

 

If political drama is your thing, give Borgen, from Denmark, a try.  Outstanding. 

 

Season 2 was the show at its prime! When they decided to entirely embrace it's operatic, over-the-top depiction of American politics. Absurd it may be, but that's what made it so enjoyable and able to stand on its own feet apart from its UK predecessor, which I believe takes a more Shakesperean approach (haven't watched it...will check it out eventually).

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