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  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm only giving a 9 out of 10 because of the canceling after season 2. The ending of season 2 left too many unopened questions!!! They should at least do a season finale disc so they can wrap all the unanswered questions!!! Highly dissatisfied only with this one issue-I loved this series...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was on the fence until about the 5th episode. But as the multiple cases and crimes start interconnecting, the plot thickens to a nice soup. David Duchovny pulled some acting chops I've never seen before actually. Everyone else seems to hold their weight as well. A lot of people complain that Manson wasn't that "pretty" or tall but if you look at the earlier interviews with the real Manson, you'll see for yourself that he wasn't a bad looking guy. And this is taking place before those interviews.

    I think the show does a good job of not trying to make Manson super scary, and I'm sure it'd be tempting too, knowing how much of a boogeyman his name is in American culture. Despite his psychological charms, he was also just a tripped out mess too.

    If you're looking for a Manson story that's going to hurry along and give you the film depiction of the Tate murders, etc.. it's going to disappoint. I was half-way disappointed but I stuck in there, and I'm glad I did. If there's future seasons, by the time they show the progression of Manson's character into what he's known for today, I think it's going to really pay off for the audience.
  • Californication is one of my favorite shows from all times. When I started Aquarius I thought that I was going to see Hank Moody resolving crimes in the early 60s but the Duchovny acting as Samson was so convincing that not for a single moment I thought about Californication. The same occurs when you watch the X files: another character very well formed but completely different from the other Duchovny's roles . That's good acting. The show is convincing, realistic and has a great soundtrack. If it weren't for the brownish filter that they put in every single episode with the purpose of letting you know that the events take place in the 60s the show will be great.
  • I would like to know the shows the rest of the reviewers are watching that are so entertaining. I was impressed with how well Aquarius held my attention. Its not a documentary or biopic. If it was it wouldn't last beyond an hour long episode. Instead, Aquarius adds creative twists that make the show worth watching. I've never been interested in crime shows and I have a very short attention span. I had no problem making it through the first season of Aquarius and enjoyed every episode. I can't trust the snob reviews people post on here. This isn't the best show ever but it's certainly not bad. Duchovny does a great job as well as the rest of the cast. Gethin Anthony plays a great bad guy. His face makes me mad now. Sorry Gethin, but great job buddy!
  • troydg842 June 2015
    I'm halfway through the first season of Aquarius and am thoroughly enjoying it. The acting is superb and the sets from the 60's are remarkable. Duchovny, Grey Damon and Gethin Anthony all hit home runs with their characters. NBC took a gigantic gamble by making the entire season available online once the premier episode aired. I respect and appreciate that decision because this show is a great one to binge on. Making such a bold move seems to have pushed expectations to unattainable heights based on some of the reviews I've seen. This is a good series. Anyone rating it or any of the episodes 1/10 should be ignored. I just hope the opinions of "haters" don't cause a show as entertaining as this to be canceled.
  • Anyone that has done some research on Manson, the family and all circumstances that surrounded them before during and after the horrific countless murders that climaxed with the Tate La Bianca ones and the three ring circus that was the trial, knows that there was no need for writers and producers to embellish or go off book. Fact is stranger than fiction, especially in this story, you can't make this stuff up. The cast of characters, hippies, ranchers, runaways, satanic cultists, vindictive hells angels, black militants they re all there along with riff raff of all kind. Just read Ed Sanders The Family and Helter Skelter. There was no need to embellish, and the kids are way to contemporary. Some of the girls sound like jappy valley girls.
  • I'm hearing a lot of negative comments in reference to this show and its realism especially as to the actor portraying Manson, I don't think that they got the info that the year this show is portraying is 1967, not 1969 when Mansons family did the killings and Manson was clearly then a madman.. I think the show is probably building up to it if the show last that long I personally think that the madness the actor is building up in his Manson character is exceptional, though this is my opinion and we all have one.

    I find this series quite fascinating, it was a bit slow in the beginning but most new shows are. I found this show is different than all of the current cop shows on TV and I find it very entertaining. I was always a David Duchovny fan and I just discovered this show on demand over a weekend and spent the whole day watching all 12 episodes. The characters, to me, are mesmerizing, especially the guy who plays Manson (Genthon Anthony plays freaky amazingly well). I was never really into the whole Charlie Manson thing but my friend forced me to watch and I was hooked, in the beginning I thought that the plot would be the whole story line on Charlie Manson but there are other issues inter-weaved with the Charles Manson story not too mention the whole 60's era including the fashion, music, the attitude of the era between the hippy community and the so-called, overdrinking, straight laced adults which I really am enjoying. I'm hoping the show last a while.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm truly shocked at the haters who have jumped up here and shot down this program. I love it. I was born in 1967, the Summer of Love. The music is great. The acting is above par. Duchovny is Duchovny, not Fox Mulder. Get past that. Grey Damon is excellent. (Yeah, I see "The Following" comparison. Another great show.) Gethin Anthony totally channels Manson's body language. Look at Jason Ralph as Mike Vickery -- he steals the scenes he's in. And Gaius Charles as Bunchy Carter. There is brilliance in these supporting roles. The writers have written some incredibly witty dialogue. I've always been fascinated with Manson stories. This one is fresh. It's like the reverse side of the "Mad Men" coin. Don't miss it.
  • Warning: Spoilers

    Having now binge watched all episodes as a Duchovny fan, I've got to be honest and say I was not taken in by the first two episodes that premiered this week on NBC. But I'm glad that I stuck with it and continued through the entire first season. It took some time for the series to catch its stride.

    Set in Los Angeles 2 years before the Tate/La Bianca murders, Duchovny and Grey Damon (Friday Night Lights) play detectives with a generation gap who tangle with an early Charlie Manson. Some Justified players are also along for the ride. David Meunier plays a character I think is loosely based on Manson associate Tex Watson. Abbey Miller plays Manson's first follower, 'Mother Mary,' who comes into the family fold about half way through. Gaius Charles (also from FNLs) plays a Black Panther's leader.

    As I said, the first two episodes, I didn't care for them. The loosely based Manson story was distracting, chaotic, even corny. At first, there is too much going on with that and Duchovny's character, Sam Hodiak, with a former love, her daughter, and his son. I was much more interested in getting to know the core cast in the Detective Squad. And the series finally goes there, moves through time, and takes on other cases and stories. Those law enforcement relationships are rich and honest, and I really enjoyed those stories a lot. Well cast and well acted. Hope to see a lot more of that in Season 2 because that is where the gold is.

    Duchovny does a good job developing his character. As do he and Damon in slowly developing an unlikely partnership. Love the female officer. All of them. Even the racist officers and the Neanderthols of the 1960'd LAPD. As I said, it's honest.

    I lived in So Cal during this time. I remember the hippies, the racial strife, the music, counter culture, and the political Revolution and unrest of the turbulent 60's. The Vietnam War. I was a kid, but I vividly remember the times. Manson should have been a minor backdrop in this series as a time marker . . . . and maybe in Season 2, he will be.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really wanted to like Aquarius. What I mean is that the set-up, featuring society on the cusp of the counter culture in Los Angeles, with all its hippie utopia colliding with the darkness of Vietnam, the Watts riots, and of course the Manson family, is wonderfully colourful fodder for a contemporary miniseries/costume opera. What better material could you ask for in terms of good narrative threads, a wide variety of personalities, and great imagery? The So-Cal dream with its late sixties style, permissiveness, and lotus-land consciousness is rife with narrative potential as it meets the urban grit of your typical hard-boiled Los Angeles police department. Throw in some accomplished faces and the thing should write itself. And it succeeds to a degree. It's wonderful to look at, and well, feel. The series' construction works masterfully to affect a quiet unease amongst sun-drenched suburbs. The art direction has captured the Los Angeles of its day to a tee. You can practically smell the sweat and patchouli in the scenes of the hippie retreat of Topanga Canyon. Furthermore, there are interesting narrative arcs and sub-arcs that weave in and out of the two main characters' (David Duchovny as Sam Hodiak, the jaded, button-down detective, and Grey Damon as the undercover age-of-Aquarius narc) caseload. Items such as block-busting, the Black Panthers, and the anti-war movement all intrigue as we are reminded about just how fast a massive amount of social change was occurring at the time. A good eighty percent of this is really good, solid storytelling. Except it's also really troubled. There's that other twenty percent. And the biggest fault here is what they've given Duchovny to say. And how they told him how to say it. We know that Duchovny can make a good geekish, details-oriented detective, and against the setting of a transitioning world it's an apt, loner-ish choice. However, there's far too little of Mulder here, and unfortunately far, far too much of Californication's Hank Moody instead. It's as if he's being directed to be all his previous roles at the same time. While he comes off with intelligent observations about whatever nefarious crime he's looking into, he apparently cannot help but offer smug little one liners, in which the sense of irony is so completely before its time it's like he's in a completely different TV show. So badly do these dialogical frogs emerge, that one wonders if they let him write his own lines. But this isn't the whole of it. There are some relationships that just reek of falseness. The wealthy couple Grace and Ken, whose daughter has been adopted into the Manson clan, have conflicting and ridiculous reactions to the motivations in their lives. One asks if they themselves are on the acid their daughter takes with Charlie Manson, by accident perhaps? Furthermore, Hodiak's affair with Grace, and indeed his entire personal life, appears to have no emotional, nor rational foundation. For example, he's in recovery for the first five episodes, and then he's not – but without any really big reasons to be, or apparent consequences for not being. This is add-on screen writing at its worst and stinks of having been scribed 'by committee'. Worse than this however, is Ken's supposed evilness. Here, all the cards are pulled out. Greed, lust, duplicity, abandonment of one's child, being a lawyer, and belonging to the Republican party are all paraded and conflated as a consequence of Ken's – horror of horrors – homosexuality. Furthermore, they add onto this overloaded gay signifier the ultimate repulsion, a salacious gay romp with – you guessed it – Charlie Manson himself (played marvellously by Gethin Anthony – Game of Thrones' Renly Baratheon). This kind of demonizing of queerness is cheap, manipulative, and agonizingly tired. It's so bad in fact that it reminds one of bad network television of the era it's set in. These worn-thin tropes are one of the main reasons that the public is turning away from such twaddle, and moving towards much superior cable programming. Such programming is clearly what this show is attempting to catch up to – they've even gone so far to release the entire show at once - a la Netflicks. Yet come to think of it, looking at this as a piece of network television, one wonders if they'll ever really learn.
  • After about 4 or 5 episodes I find myself waiting for Duchovny to come back into a scene, he makes this whole show go forward; otherwise, a bit plodding in terms of story and script. The Manson actor good but in a scene with Duchovny, no contest who makes the scene memorable. Without Duchovny, a plodding script with pretty boy, pretty girl actors whom you want to be forgiving towards as it is obvious they are trying their best and good at it, but the script will not let you do it.

    The show does a pretty good job of showing the times for what they were in terms of dress, cars, music and the like but at times, it gets in the way of the show. For example, the Duchovny characters son shows up having fled the war as an enlisted soldier appalled that he was in Cambodia fighting what he believed was an illegal war. Accurate but really off topic and this character is a diversion to the plot and unnecessary to illustrate the times. It is unlikely Manson did what he did because of this, so why throw this in the script (including the Black Panther movement angle)?

    If the writers had stuck to the crime drama, dress, music, cars of the period it would have been a great series. Too many plot diversions that are unnecessary and make the script plodding.

    BTW, David looks great for his age and his acting accomplished. He makes the pretty boy actors in the show look just that, boys and not men. Why I gave the show an 8/10. Without him in this show, try 6/10 at best.
  • baddley-5722929 May 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    I absolutely loved every second of the show. It took me back in time to the 60's.The music was awesome. There were so many twists and turns that I never saw coming.I can't say enough about the acting. The whole cast were so believable. The plot kept me hanging on wishing for more. I can't wait to see what next week brings. The mind controlling antics of Charles Manson is well portrayed. DD is excellent in his part, such a no-nonsense guy and I love his partner. I never saw his partner's secret coming, that was a big surprise. I have already grown to hate the girl's lawyer father. What a piece of crap. I see a love story coming between DD and his past girlfriend.
  • There are some shows that don't really click with you. They can be well filmed, they can be well acted, but you just can't get enthusiastic about them. For me, Aquarius is one of those series.

    There were things that started putting me off right away. The cinematography was slick but uninteresting. And I love 60s music, but I'm a little tired of this idea that you have to have people constantly listening to all the coolest songs from the 60s.

    I didn't find most of the characters interesting, including Manson. I admit, Manson is tough, in that it's possible he really was kind of uninteresting but good at talking to particularly dumb girls, but to me he seems transparent and that makes his success puzzling.

    For me, the only real bright spot was Grey Damon as an undercover cop. His scenes were all good, and I enjoyed the banter between Damon and Duchovny (although the rest of the time I found Duchovny flat).

    I think this series is well enough made that there are people who will really like it, but I felt restless within the first 10 minutes and nothing in the rest of the first episode pulled me in after that. So I'll skip it.
  • ann-3288016 October 2017
    I lived it.I was 16 lived in the valley maybe 30 min away from Tate house. A couple of years,after the murders, we drove to the house. It was night time , a large fence with ivy , house was way in the back but it was chilling. Rode our horses thru devils canyon many times where the metal roofing still lay on the ground. The creepy feeling u get with each encounter makes your skin crawl. Aquarius gave me the same feeling many years later. The show had the real footage nothing fake. It was an excellent show. The real deal. I was submerged in it. Amazing the acting was incredible. Manson was just as I remembered from TV news. He was mesmerizing,hypnotizing incredibly cruel sadistic. The acting was fantastic David pulled his part off like a true professional. Loved it so disappointed people didn't get it. A true story that may have seemed too bazaar to be true.
  • An original, sprawling, epic television event and as riveting a mini- series ever produced for television. The story is engrossing and the period atmosphere precise and overwhelming. The writing is absolutely superb, sometimes even brilliant. Among the many elements that make this such a special event is the cinematography. It recalls film noir and still captures the color and off kilter tones of the 60's. The acting is uniformly excellent, with David Duchovny giving a stunning performance as the detective, Hodiak. It is stellar work and deserving of an Emmy nomination at least. In fact, there is little that isn't award worthy in Aquarius. Intense, fascinating, and utterly enthralling, this is television at its very finest.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have been totally addicted to this show for the past week! It is obviously, openly, and unabashedly a fictional take on the early years of the Manson Family, a storyline that is meant to be an avenue for a fast paced, well written crime drama about a 50s detective trying to navigate 60s counterculture. David Duchovny rocks it out once again as his go-to lovable but flawed character, and though I would agree with many of the IMDb reviewers that the Manson Family is heavily glamorized, I think enough time has passed now for that to be appropriate… you don't see anyone on here weeping about the glamorization 1920s gangsters murdering people in all those HBO shows, so I say glamorize away! One of my favorite aspects of the show is the way it uses Vietnam protesters and the civil rights movement to explore human prejudice and the idea that everyone has a line that they draw somewhere-- I think when you read about this period in a textbook you see people in the 60s as stereotypes who all think the same way as their societal tribe, but Aquarius uses a diverse cast to show the more accurate fluctuation of these mindsets- for example Brian, who is in an interracial marriage but has major hangups about going undercover in a gay bar, or Bunchie, a Black Panther who ends up having to work with the police, or Sam's struggle as an old school cop coming to terms with his soldier son's decision to protest Vietnam. Of course it is a little larger than life, but why not? The writing is entertaining, the pacing is perfect, and it brings up a ton of issues that are just as relevant today as they were then. I've been on the edge of my seat for 13 hours, thanks to NBC's solid decision to make it available for immediate streaming. Let's go Season 2!
  • Aquarius has good foundations for a drama thriller with its time period and decent cast. That being said, it doesn't really excite. The atmosphere is drab, not in intentionally classic manner, and the plot isn't audience friendly due to the vague script. The most it can offer is buddy cop mystery or the chase of an enigmatic villain, which is actually decent. However, as audiences have known better mystery show like True Detective or even The Following which has remarkably similar concept, Aquarius might not reach the iconic stature of its original source.

    The show opens with a missing girl. Sam (David Duchovny) is called by his associates to look for the girl, who unfortunately has record of misbehavior. Then he embarks on the investigation, meeting potential suspect and hardheaded colleagues as the show frequently switches to the antagonist's point of view. It tries to give perspective of both sides in parallel.

    It's properly made with sandy visual flair and hefty influence of the era like the baggy costume or old-fashioned tune. However, the introductions of the characters are bland. They are not memorable, even the role of Charles Manson is overly cryptic. It gets the story going, but doubtfully captives the audience. The songs and gimmick feel cosmetic, they don't emphasis much on the time except occasional reminders of trivial hippie style.

    David Duchovny also isn't that engaging as the lead. He seems flat and is an uninteresting reminiscence of cop stereotype. Gethin Anthony as Charles Manson does a decent role of creepy yet alluring mysterious man, although he might not be that psychologically menacing. The script could've done a better job on setting the era or the character, but as much of the dialogues feel forced in hope to be edgy but ends up unrelatable.

    Aquarius doesn't have glaring flaws, it doesn't possess clever hook or identifiable characters either. It's an average mystery drama with all of its aspects intact, but it is not as exalted as the real life source.
  • ...and that's okay! There's a serial-killer cult-leader who has dirt on various officials, a follower who has reservations, a down-and-dirty ethically-challenged cop teamed with an idealistic partner with a scandalous (for the time period) secret, all mixed with classic music and drenched in sepia.

    The acting is reasonable (not great, but not horrible... especially for network television) with some good portrayals by serial-killer Manson (Gethin Anthony) and good-cop Damon (Brian Shafe), and the sub-plots give a good sense of place (civil rights issues, drugs, sexuality).

    The beginning is a bit slow, but you would expect that (it's not the type of show where you'd jump straight into a manhunt or anything). It's probably a bit more on the character drama- side than the action-side, so keep that in mind.

    In the continuum of shows out there I'd rather watch this than The Americans, but I'd throw Aquarius under the bus for Hell on Wheels.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I soldiered my way through the pilot, and by the time it was finished knew it was time to say goodbye to this show.

    At the beginning I would have rated it a 10. The music is fantastic. But that may have an underside: the licensing fees on these songs are high. Maybe that's why there was no money left for a good script or decent actors.

    Worse yet, like so many shows it's very dark. Not dark in tone: that's perfectly fine. But other than the outdoor scenes, too often there's so little light on the scenes that it's more like radio than television. Here's another cinematographer who never met a 15 watt bulb he didn't like.

    The story is set in the summer of 1967, the year I turned 21. When I saw a billboard for Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign in the scenes on the Sunset Strip I thought, hmmmm, wonder if this is going to turn up in later episodes.

    The worst part is the presumption that the LAPD is going to spend two years investigating Charles Manson and despite David Duchovny's best efforts Manson (played with no charisma by a young man named Gethin Anthony) is going to do terrible things over the coming episodes.

    Unless, of course, the show decides to completely abandon history and let Sharon Tate and her friends, and maybe even Bobby Kennedy, go forward into the 1970's unharmed. After all, the coveted viewers between the ages of 18 and 35 have only slight awareness of modern history.

    Skip this. Watch the DVD of HELTER SKELTER instead.
  • I lived through the Sixties as a young woman. The dialogue in Aquarius is ridiculous. None of us talked that way - especially not with Valley Girl accents. The writers have used contemporary teen talk, made-up cop insults and the worst of Jim Morrison's yowling poetry. The costumes are absurd - the writers seem to think that all you have to do to create a hippie character is give them dirty and ragged clothes. The clash with the cops is ludicrous - nobody used the insults the mob shouts. Not only weren't the hippies all white, many of us were older. Many of us believed in and worked at building a viable counter-culture. As for Manson - who seems to have become an object of juvenile fascination - he was singular. There were serious communes all over the States. All in all, miss this shoddy piece of exploitation. If you want to know what it was like being a hippie, find an old hippie and ask them.
  • kofila6 June 2015
    I was looking forward to this so much... I like Duchovny, I am pulled by the "mad killer" theme, I love the sixties music.... Putting it together needs more care though.

    I knew after first 5 minutes, this just won't work for me. First of all: playing old songs in the background all the time (and I do mean ALL the time) doesn't make anything look old. And apart from that they didn't really put much effort in convincing you it's the 60s... Then there is the camera and the whole look of the show which is just flat and dull and creates no atmosphere whatsoever. The characters are boring as well as the acting and you'll have very hard time believing the bull*hit Manson pulls could actually work on anybody.

    All and all it's just empty and unsuspenseful. What a shame.
  • Charlie Manson was one of the most bizarre characters of the 60's and the murders he and the "family" committed were enough to keep people on the edge of their seats for years. Why does NBC need to fictionalize almost every detail except Charlie's name? There was no Emma, nor her republican stereotyped parents. Sam Hodiak and Shafe are fiction. The other girls aren't named so who knows if they are actual Manson girls. What is the point of totally rewriting the story?

    That said, David Duchovny is great and I like Grey's character. Gethin Anthony's portrayal of Manson comes off like a parody. The story is silly and simplistic. Are the writers trying to romanticize a lunatic? I sincerely suggest the writers do their homework? I really wanted to like this, but sadly can't give more than one star.
  • I am at episode 9 in season 1 and I am not watching any more. The story has not moved on from episode one. It reminds me of the Jack Bauer series 24. In every season of 24 Jack Bauer's daughter is kidnapped and Bauer looks for her and then gets her back. Really tedious after the second time. In Aquarius the first episode is just repeated again and again. Also, every episode has something about white people being racist to blacks. Usually there is no rhyme nor reason to it, we are just expected to accept that white people are racist and hateful to non-whites because that is how white people are. Like I mentioned, just leftist propaganda from the usual suspects in Hollywood. Who watches these things and doesn't notice this? It is actually getting hard to find a movie or TV series that doesn't have this type of subversive muck.
  • You don't need to go any further than YouTube to find hours of prime source material for an history-based series on Charlie Manson and his "family." Why none of this was used in developing Aquarius is beyond me. How did Manson suck aimless hippies out of orbit and into his solipsistic end-times horror fantasy? No answers here.

    It would have taken way better writing, and way more dynamic direction to get that working. TV IS that good once in a great while. Not this time -- they can't even get the period close to right. Their Manson doesn't even approach the fruitbat crazy original. With just a couple of tweaks, this Manson could be the hero of the piece.. that would've at least taken some guts.

    Bland, useless television hawking the Hollywood version of Charlie's Family. The only chance for improvement here is if they shut it down & bring it back as a sitcom next year.
  • dczyca29 May 2015
    This was my era. I was a young adult during the Vietnam war. I remember Kennedy being assassinated. I remember Sharon Tate being crucified. This show is garbage. Does not catch the atmosphere of the times. The writing is insipid and stupid. The acting is awful. The casting is dreadful. Stay away.

    And I was really looking forward this show with anticipation. Garbage. Duchovny looks like a tired dolt. Gethin Anthony is an awful Charlie Manson. What were they thinking? Granted he is a fine actor but as Charlie Manson, he does not get it. An awful awful show. I predict that it won't even last a season.
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