Sunday Matinee: I Am The Night [Limited Series]

Photo by TNT Drama – © TM & © 2018 Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. A WarnerMedia Company.

 

“Inspired by true events, I Am the Night tells the gripping story of Fauna Hodel (India Eisley), a teenage girl who is given away at birth, and grows up outside of Reno, Nevada. Fauna lives more-or-less comfortably with the mysteries of her origin, until one day she makes a discovery that leads her to question everything. As Fauna begins to investigate the secrets of her past, she meets a ruined reporter (Chris Pine), haunted by the case that undid him. Together they follow a sinister trail that swirls ever closer to an infamous Los Angeles gynecologist, Dr. George Hodel (Jefferson Mays), a man involved in some of Hollywood’s darkest debauchery, and possibly, its most infamous unsolved crime.”

 

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It is no secret that the world of television is dominating the world of creativity today. We have spoken with so many people who are working either behind or on screen on the plethora of work that is coming out in the world of television. Every single network and/or streaming service has their own original programming, so much so that is it is almost too hard to keep up with these days. It can feel overwhelming at times for sure, but if you truly do some research, you are going to find some very fascinating stuff out there. Or, you can just listen to us! Because we want to tell you about a limited series that is absolutely one of the best pieces of television to come out in the last decade at least. We are talking about TNT’s 6-part limited series I Am The Night.

Avid readers here at Trainwreck’d Society will recognize that this is our first venture into the world of television in regards to our Sunday Matinee series. We usually tend to stick to the world of motion pictures. A few series have crossed out digital desks, but none of them have really felt right. That is until we were given the opportunity to check out this absolutely brilliant series brought to the world by Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins.

There is so much to get into here Folks that it’s almost too hard to begin. But, let’s try it out. Lets begin with the performances, as they are without a doubt the highlight of the series. I will say with complete honesty, I’ve never watched a project of any type that featured the very well known actor Chris Pine. I’m not joking. While we have covered the original Star Trek films and TV series at lengths via interviews, I am completely ill-advised on the the films of the last decade. And as far as the rest of this man’s credits. I promise I will see Wonder Woman someday, but it hasn’t happen yet. I guess I was just missing out. Of course I am a human living in 2019, so I know who he is. But, I promise you that I Am The Night is my first experience with this admiringly beautiful man. And I will be damned if I wasn’t excitedly impressed. Pine’s performance as Jay Singeltary is absolutely brilliant and is not to be missed. While I still feel a bit of shame for being so ill-informed on the world of Chris Pine, I am actually pretty excited that this was how I got to experience him first. The way he displays desperation, torture, and the effects of post traumatic stress disorder is so damn enthralling and not to be missed.

 

© 2018 – Turner Entertainment Networks

 

Another performance that is commendable beyond belief is obviously from the show’s lead actress India Eisley. I was also unfamiliar with her work (beyond appearing alongside our friend Camille Winbush in The Secret Life of the American Teenager), but I am FULLY aware of her absolute brilliance at this time. There is absolutely no way that India doesn’t become the biggest star of this day and age. Her work on I Am The Night is the stuff that genius is made of as she portrays the now legendary Fauna Hodel. Her pain and anguish of living a life that is essentially a lie is so believable and surreal that it is hard to truly explain. Pine is wonderful, but Eisley is most definitely the biggest draw by far. I simply cannot say enough good stuff. Also, it’s damn near impossible to get too far into her performances without spoiling the entire series. So please trust me, India is as amazing as you should expect.

Now, obviously Pine and Eisley steal the show front and center, but it behooves us to talk about the absolutely incredible supporting cast that made I Am The Night an overall delightfully terrifying experience. If Golden Brooks doesn’t win an Emmy for her performance as Fauna’s (unknown to her, adopted) mother Jimmy Lee, then there is seriously no justice in this world. She was absolutely brilliant in every damn second she was on screen. You loved to hate her, yet could empathize with her fears. Of course, if she had her way, the story may have never come to fruition. Anyway, Brooks was absolutely brilliant in a commendable appearance. And of course, there is Tony-Award nominated actor Jefferson Mays who portrays the infamous George Hodel and absolutely nailed the part of the man who is suspected to be the actual man behind the infamous Black Dahlia murders. Note: If you check out the live recording of the I Am The Night event that was done with the absolutely wonderful podcast, My Favorite Murder, you will be left without a shadow of a doubt that he fucking did it! But regardless of obvious historical evidence, Jefferson Mays is creepy as hell in his brilliant performance as Hodell.

Another performance that was absolutely wonderful, yet sadly underused in what was probably an attempt to keep the pace of the show moving, was that of Justin Cornwell, who you may recognize from the short lived television re-imaging of the film Training Day alongside the late Bill Paxton. Again, Justin was underused, but absolutely destroyed on every second he was on screen. The same can be said for Connie Nielsen who shines on screen as well.

 

© 2018 – Turner Entertainment Networks

 

And while the performances in this limited series are worth their weight in blood stained scalpels, it is also fair to say that the characters that these brilliant actors were working with her absolutely intriguing in their own right. In fact, Pine’s character is supposedly not base around an actual person per say, but an idea of a person. Which is always intriguing. And the mystery behind George Hodel has long been determined to absolutely terrifying. From his mesmerizing Mayan themed Los Angeles mansion (actually used IN the series!) to well-documented writings from George’s own son who truly believes he was, beyond an reasonable doubt, the Black Dahlia murderer, I Am The Night is a story that needed to be done wisely and very carefully. And I firmly believe that show creator Sam Sheridan and director Patty Jenkins have truly done just that. Stylized in a fashion that simply screams L.A. noir, this series truly takes you back in time in a way that I feel as though hasn’t been done before.

I have to preface this paragraph by stating that there are indeed times when the normalization of horrifically fucked up things can be appropriate when simply attempting to create an accurate setting. And that is exactly what is happening in I Am The Night, whether or not the show’s creators actually realized it. Oh, and I should say…I’m not talking about the murders. Yes, that’s pretty fucked up, but that’s not where I am going with this. I am speaking about the inclusion of the frustration and inhumane setting of racism that existed during the time this show was to take place. I feel that it normalized these actions, because it truly had to. It was sadly commonplace at the time. The despicable surroundings had to be addressed, but when you are dealing a real specific story, it can’t be the focal point. And with that, I feel as though the show did a wonderful job at addressing these issues, especially as the show wraps up. I am not obliged to speak about details, but I hope that you will trust me on this matter. Or not. Either way, I will remain firm that when it comes to creating characters battling the hatred of a nation, as well as the then unrealized effects of war traumatization (a different matter altogether, but tackled with equal sensitivity), I Am The Night does an absolutely amazing job!

 

© 2018 – Turner Entertainment Networks

 

Seriously Folks, I know that each and every day somebody in your office/gym/Fifty Shades fan club message board has been uttering the words “You have to watch [insert show title here]”. And the chances are that they are probably right. Well, kind of, as you don’t “have” to watch anything at all, so fuck off Jacob from accounts payable. The best writing of this day and age is truly in television, we all know this. But, I am here today to stand on my proverbial soap box and exclaim to you all that I Am The Night is ACTUALLY that show that you have, nay…SHOULD, be watching.

If you have spent the last decade watching critically acclaimed television yet secretly not quite understanding the hype of certain programs, I Am The Night is very likely the series you are looking for. Also, think of it as a less daunting experience, as it is merely a 6 part event that has a beginning and end. I understand how mentally exhausting (and first world problem-ish) to know that the 4th season of Mr. Robot is on its way and your mom changed her Amazon Prime password without telling you, so you never finished the first 3 seasons. I understand this. I’m certain Better Call Saul is a wonderful show, but dammit, I have been re-watching episodes of Full House for the last month. These things happen. Just think about I Am The Night has a 6 part story that will enter your life, and leave sooner than you will probably want  it to, but you will still leave the series feeling whole, and maybe even taking upon yourself to return to it. I don’t know, I’m not your keeper. I just want you to watch I Am The Night!

I also have to say that I am actually jealous of so many of you who have not been privy to this show yet. For the next 6 weeks, your lives are going to be filled with so much anticipation for each Monday night, you’re probably going to completely miss the backside of the winter season. My experience with I Am The Night is always going to be a day and half of nightmare inducing mayhem in which I could do nothing else but invest myself deeper into the curious adventures of Fauna Hodel and the realization that Chris Pine may be the most beautiful man on the planet. Anyway, you are all lucky. Spread out the madness, I’d say.

Also, as you know we are huge fans of the world of both comedy and podcast, I highly suggest you check out the accompanying podcast that will follow along with the series, as well as the show’s sponsorship and features of one of the finest podcasts that has been covering topics in the vein of I Am The Night for years now, the wonderful My Favorite Murder podcast. They recently dropped the recording of the live event at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles that details the Black Dahlia murder, as well as the “possible” inclusion of George Hodel. It also featured a wonderful interview with the aforementioned Jefferson Mays. Check out the My Favorite Murder website to get started.

Folks, if you believe I have never steered you wrong in the past, please believe me when I tell you that I Am The Night is a series you are going to absolutely LOVE. If you feel like I have steered you wrong, consider this my reckoning, and a way to make it up to you, as I can damn near guarantee that this is going to be one of the finest viewing experiences you will have in 2019. Possibly your life, but let’s let time decide that one. Enjoy!

 

 

I Am the Night will premiere on January 28th at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on TNT.

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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