Well MMT Fam, I waited until the final day of September to recommend my first pick LUKE CAGE, which premiered its first 13 episode season today on Netflix. And yes I boldly emphasized first, because with a dynamic cast – that includes Mike Colter (Cage), Mahershala Ali (Cornell Stokes), Alfre Woodard (Mariah Stokes) and Simone Missick (Misty Knight) to name a few faves – amazing fight scenes, a hot soundtrack (I mean the episodes are named after Gang Starr songs for goodness sake), and a 92% fresh Top Critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, what could go wrong? This show was a hit from the jump. And for those who took my advice in February about seasons one and two of Marvel’s Daredevil, Rosario Dawson also reprises her role as Claire Temple.
Now for those, like myself, who didn’t follow the Luke Cage comic and don’t know the story, the title character was a falsely accused prisoner who developed invincible skin and superhuman strength via a botched experiment – and subsequently escaped to become a superhero for hire in his Harlem neighborhood. Luke Cage was one of the first mainstream comics to feature an African-American, and the first to have his own series on newsstands. Mike Colter made his original début as Cage in season one of Marvel’s Jessica Jones Netflix series in 2015 – which was created, and co-written, by Melissa Rosenberg.
The new show, created by Cheo Hodari Coker (Ray Donovan, Notorious, Straight Outta Compton), a former music journalist, is an expanded vision of the character – a hip-hop inspired, gritty and substantial story fused with frenzied action scenes and a tight score – the latter courtesy of music co-supervisors Adrian Younge (Black Dynamite) and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (of the legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest).
I’ll leave the official review of “Luke Cage” to our resident Marvel expert, Mr. Darryl King. I know he’ll have plenty to share! But until then, check out the latest trailer for the series below – with a cameo from Method Man – and get into the first season on Netflix, so you can share your thoughts when Darryl posts. Yes Darryl, you’ve been volunteered!
My second pick is the somber, yet empowering, documentary AUDRIE & DAISY, which highlights the true stories of three separate sexual assault/bullying cases – with emphasis on both Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman – that culminate in very different endings for the victims.
The film explores the stories of the two protagonists through court records, social media, and interviews with family, police, victims and perpetrators. It also includes survivors of similar cases, albeit briefly (I wish a bit more focus was given to the case of Jada Smith), and the work of the group PAVE – whose goal is to assist sexual assault victims by creating a safe space to share their stories, as well as provide prevention education within the community.
I give a strong trigger warning for “Audrie & Daisy,” and caution those who may be sensitive to any sexual subject matter. However, I highly recommend this as necessary viewing for teens and up – and for parents to consider using as a tool for discussing relevant topics, such as safety and consent.
The third and final selection for this month is one of my favorite television dramas from the past two years, AMERICAN CRIME. If you have not watched this show, created by John Ridley (12 Years A Slave, Red Tails), you have missed out on one of the best directed, acted and written dramas on the telly!
With a strong cast that features new and recurring actors in different roles over its two seasons – including Regina King, who won an Emmy two years in a row for her portrayals, Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, and Elvis Nolasco – this show is nothing short of gripping.
And it keeps you engrossed while the crimes (so far an alleged murder/hate crime and an alleged rape/bullying case) and the lives they’ve impacted are explored – through the lenses of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Truthfully, I felt like throwing my TV out the window at the conclusion of each season – the endings really take you there. But, since I can’t afford to keep buying TVs, it’s safer for me to pull a Florida Evans:
Again, I’d give a trigger warning for the second season of “American Crime” but, unlike “Audrie & Daisy,” it is a fictionalized account that is more diverse (with respect to race and sexual orientation) and can be used with ages teen and up as a tool to discuss various topics, including consent. It’s also important to note that the series includes strong language, which was blocked when it aired on ABC, so viewer discretion is advised.
Alright family, you know the routine. I’d love to know if you’ve seen or will watch any of the selections, so stop back and share your comments!
Until next thought, Thomasena