Mid-July Streaming Service Report
Everything you didn’t need to know about the Arthur legend, softcore, and black lives.
This week sees a mixed bag of new streaming options; with the female young adult audience, repressed housewives, and deadly philanderers getting their share of the pie.
Cursed (Season 1) - Netflix
If you count yourself among the ones who love how revisionist female-inspired iterations of legendary stories have been the rage over the last few years, then Cursed may well be one of your new, favorite limited series. With Katherine Langford taking on the role of Nimue, Cursed is a retelling of the Arthurian legend. It goes back in time, a prequel of sorts, giving us the story of the Lady of the Lake, and how it was first a Fey Queen (regarded a witch and sorceress) that was safeguarding Excalibur, and bringing the fabled sword to Merlin.
Besides a Lord Merlin who’s portrayed as a washed-up, unliked slacker-wizard, there’s a young Arthur who does his bit for racial diversity in the casting. What is different is how unlike other series set during this era, Cursed takes the extra mile to be bright, colorful, and not drab or mired in mud. The series, like The Witcher, is obviously out to fill the void left by the end of Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come close to achieving that, but it does have its own energy and narrative brio. Conceptualized primarily for a YA audience, it is watchable and knows how to have fun.
Dark Desire - Netflix Mexico
Coming from Mexico, Dark Desire comes from the same mindset that had Netflix green lighting a Polish project like 365 DNI. The big difference being that this one is stretched over 18 numbing episodes. Here, it’s a disgruntled wife, who goes and has one fateful erotic encounter, and has to pay weighty consequences for indulging in passion and surrendering to lust. Maite Perroni plays the main character, and she suspects her husband is cheating on her—which is enough to trigger her libidinous escapade. The "will I?" or "won’t I?" tease is not so much between our main protagonist and her lover, as it is us the audience, deciding whether we’ll just fast forward to the sexy scenes.
For, I kid you not, in saying that the story, despite all the twists and turns that are manufactured, can not disguise just how lame a narrative this all is. They give us the husband of Maite is having his own affair; and there’s a narrative strand that has to do with their daughter—but never really goes anywhere promising. There are sessions with a psychiatrist that can be counted as unrevealing and unenlightening. In short, it is the sex scenes that are the only possible saving grace of this overstaying series, and every possible excuse to give us several is duly made.
Fatal Affair - Netflix
If you’re looking for uninspired rip-offs of films such as Fatal Attraction and Obsessed, then you might have a reason for catching this Black Lives Matter version of those two films. Nia Long was even interviewed saying that the original concept had a white cast for this film, and between you and me, and for the reputations of Nia, Omar Epps and Stephen Bishop, it actually might have been better if it was kept that way. There’s nothing essentially wrong with the acting chops of the cast, but this is just one vehicle that has stalled, and should have been left in the garage. To write more about this would be just repeating myself. Avoid like the plague.