18 August 2018 | urthpainter
Strange Angel, even in todays wide array of television shows, is truly a unique experience worth watching by seasoned media fans.
A description I like is combining the film the Aviator with David Lynch's new Twin Peaks. This may not be accurate, but it gives an idea of what one will be getting into. The presentation is really pretty strait forward - there aren't many cryptic film making techniques. The weirdness comes in the shape of reality bending scenes, and the crazy content. I would say if a viewer likes Man in the High Castle, they would probably also like Strange Angel. Strange Angel is way more grounded, being based in historical non-fiction, but both have very unique content, a slow pace, and a similar approach to main vs surrounding characters.
Strange angel is a period piece, taking place in the late 30's Los Angeles. The main character is a blue collar worker at a chemical plant, but has dreams of realizing practical rocket technology which he pursues with his academic, best friend. Combine this with an indoctrination into a sex cult, and hallucinations that both the main characters experience regularly? Things get pretty interesting. There is a beautiful mix of logic, science, science fiction and the occult.
But nothing moves in too much of a hurry. Despite rocket technology playing a major role, the pace of Strange Angel is pretty dang slow. This will be the limiting characteristic to many viewers, but it shouldn't be. This show is wildly entertaining. Episodes build up to big scenes, and the entire season builds up to an excellent final episode.
The casting is as good as TV gets. The two main characters, husband and wife, are immediately likable, and easy to route for. Both are textured, flawed individuals searching... for a better life? success? happiness? Interesting, because their goals are never really crystal clear, and there is a lot of dealing with daily events - just like in real life. But in spite of distractions, difficulties, set backs and conflict - the two are constantly trying to grow and evolve, while overcoming challenges. I'm not saying the viewer will always agree with choices made, or all their motivations, but everything is always so intriguing! Surrounding characters are equally well cast, and their activities always intertwine with the story of the Parsons (the main characters). There is a clear vision to the scripting, which likely took a great deal of work to refine.
I'm obviously a fan of everything this season has achieved, but the number one quality may be the camera work, cinematography. The visuals, their construction (effects), the design of shots, and the pace established is top notch. Really all the production is excellent, and Strange Angel lives up to the new norm of incredible, movie like episodes, that many recent shows achieve.
So why an 8, not a 9 or 10? Occasionally, even I want the show to get on with the content - where you know a big moment is coming, but the build up can at times feel delayed. I would have liked the season to include at least one more episode. While I loved the last episode, I was surprised how many questions were left unresolved. Really, Strange Angel has a lot of room to improve. I hope for not only a second season, but a completed vision (5 seasons to complete is what I read) - the unique nature of the show (and delivery method) makes me wonder about it's future.
But hopefully my concerns are for not, and the second season will get made. If this happens, this new intellectual property will likely gain the following it deserves. With all the entertainment fluff out there, it is nice to have some mature programming for adults.