23 June 2017 | pontram
Pornography of a Family
'Xanadu' is a show that is trying to seduce on many layers. It dares to take a look at porn production and business, and at the same time it wants to dissect a wealthy dysfunctional family and their devastated members, it creates some mystery with one of the protagonists being stuck between life and death, and yes, there is some kind of a crime (more another mystery) to be solved, too.
The basic story is, in a few words, that the family Valvardine, led by Patriarch Alex, with two sons and a daughter, plus two granddaughters, is struggling with - a) decaying income from their title-giving porn production company 'Xanadu' and trying to modernize it against Alex's resistance - b) with the behavior of said patriarch, who is basically a dinosaur and doesn't really cope with the changes in his business - c)their relationships with heir siblings, their children and their father d) the fate of their mother who was once a big porn-star and then disappeared mysteriously e) themselves, spoiled by a childhood and youth affected by a possibly guilty, but dominant father, absent porn star mother, and present affection by the porn business and wealth in general.
As one can see this is enough to fill a season with sadness, grief, arguing, strange behavior, and at much verbal violence, some that is regretted, some that has no impact (because it's normal behavior in this family) and some that leads - as expected - to suicide.
There are many interesting plots woven in, especially that of the youngest son, who is talented as a pornographer, obsessive in searching for his own truth, but also most inflicted by his mother's unclear departure when he was very young. Other things, like the mystery-between-worlds mentioned above, are fascinating on first sight, but are appearing to end in themselves, or simply artsy, so to speak. At least, it's an European show, so that doesn't bother (me).
It is a good show, of course, bold in picturing the business and how it's done, but be prepared for eight episodes of joylessness, maybe one thing the creators want to tell us - porn must be joyless even for those who profit from (extremely).
The characters often act or react unpredictable, which is good, sometimes there are stereotypes which are simply disappointing. I found it 7 stars worth, though.