Television Reviews

The ‘Episodic Premieres’ of SXSW 2022

Some of the most anticipated television shows of the year also premiere as part of the SXSW lineup. This year there were twelve in total. A slew of series from various streaming platforms and varying genres. While I couldn’t cover them all, these are the few I was able to check out. As always, here are my spoiler-free first thoughts on these upcoming shows.


The Girl From Plainville

A young man’s tragic suicide uncovers a disturbing truth that he was manipulated into it by his girlfriend. The trial of Michelle Carter (portrayed by Elle Fanning) garnered national news, with the events bewildering us all. How could a seemingly cheerful girl be so ruthless? And to what degree is she held accountable for it?

The limited series is based on Jess Barron’s article of the same name, an in-depth look into the tragedy and the timeline of events leading to Conrad Roy’s death. While it was hard to escape it in the media at the time, the series gives a frightening new look into the full inner workings of the case, but especially Carter’s sociopathy and abuse of Roy’s already fragile mental state.

The Hulu miniseries premieres with three episodes on March 29, 2022


Shining Girls

Based on the 2013 novel of the same name, Shining Girls follows Kirby Mazrachi (Elisabeth Moss) as she is still reeling from a brutal attack that happened to her years ago. When another young woman is murdered with similarities to her assault, she’ll partner with a Chicago reporter (Wagner Moura) to uncover the truth.

Viewers can be prepared for a pleasantly confusing journey with this series, as Moss’ character deals with shifts in her reality, having you guessing what’s real throughout. There’s a deeply-rooted mystery embedded that you’re only given a slight peak into during the first episode. And while it relishes in a slow burn for its intro, you can feel that the suspense will only build as the story unravels.

The Apple TV+ series premieres on April 29, 2022


The Man Who Fell To Earth

An alien (Chiwetel Ejiofor) lands on Earth in an effort to save his species with the help of a human (Naomie Harris). Based on the 1963 novel of the same name by—and the 1976 film starring David Bowie—The Man Who Fell to Earth is an intriguing science fiction tale that may take you some time to warm up to.

At first, I struggled to understand the series’ tone, at least within the first few episodes, and the overall story feels as though things are being held back unnecessarily for larger future reveals. But the wildly talented cast supporting the show will keep viewers engaged enough while the show finds its footing.

The Showtime series premieres on April 24, 2022


DMZ

After a civil war leaves Manhattan isolated as a demilitarized zone, with powerful gangs running wild, medic Alma Ortega (Rosario Dawson) will venture into dangerous territory to find her son, who she lost during the evacuation. Based on a comic book series of the same name, DMZ might have what it takes to be the next enthralling dystopian series, but it’s also a bit of the same.

My first impression was that it reminded me too much of the now-defunct Y: The Last Man series (the two comics share the same publisher). So I don’t know if I felt that draw or excitement from it since everything felt as though it had been done before. But since it is only four parts, perhaps the story will grip audiences more than a series attempting to ride the long-haul.

The HBO Max miniseries premieres on March 17, 2022


Swimming with Sharks

A wide-eyed production intern named Lou (Kiernan Shipka) is anything but, as she houses dark secrets of her obsession with the Hollywood game, including her famous boss Joyce Holt (Diane Kruger). Swimming with Sharks feels like a glitzy series with a hint of Single White Female (1992). But while it has a bit of that Hollywood shine, it’s mostly without substance in its first two episodes.

I’d liken it to a slightly elevated soap opera. For viewers who were fans of teen drama mysteries like Pretty Little Liars, this might be the more adult version of that with some juicy drama. For me, it’s not the type of series that captures my attention.

The Roku Channel series premieres this April


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