It’s impossible to consider Political Animals, USA’s surprisingly ambitious limited series that premiered on Sunday, without mentioning its time-slot competitor, The Newsroom. Like Aaron Sorkin’s ode to the anchor desk, Political Animals is set in a familiar sidewaysverse, a very recent past or near-present in which a charismatic upstart has captured the White House, partisan rancor seems insurmountable, and, while smartphones exist, expository monologues remain the most popular form of communication. But if The Newsroom exists to show us how things should have been done, Political Animals cannily prefers to show us what they could be. Rather than primly sitting on the sidelines with those who once bought ink by the barrel (and now produce pink slips by the truckload), PA dives right into the messy, wholly imagined world of the headline-makers. This decision makes all the difference: It’s far more pleasurable to be asked a question than told the answers. And while it may be unfair to compare the two — especially considering that the soapy, silly Political Animals appears to be just the sort of frivolous indulgence that St. Will McAvoy would toss off his balcony in disgust — in politics, as within the fictional Hammond family, everything is relative.
Much like Tom Emanski, James Cameron is going back-to-back-to-back. While the HMFIC hasn't confirmed this himself, his Avatar star Sigourney Weaver now says three return trips to Pandora will all be shooting at the same time. Reports Showbiz411, "[Sigourney Weaver] goes right into a new Christopher Durang play for a short run at Lincoln Center. Then she films Avatar 2, 3, and 4 ... Weaver says she has no idea how long it will take, or how it’s going to work. 'I just show up,' she said." Looks like Cameron is done exploring the depths of space and sea, and is ready to get back to making tons and tons of cash. Hooray!
My weekend was peppered with some NCAA hoops (Go 'Cuse!), some Knicks (three in a row, baby), some 21 Jump Street (a hilarious, meta action-comedy), and of course some green beer and bagels. But my mind, my thoughts, my focus was elsewhere. For the last 72 hours, I’ve been unhealthily fixated on the slew of new Prometheus content slung onto the web.
There’s been such an overabundance of visuals, dialogue, and talking points to sift through. So in an effort to piece them all together in some king of satisfyingly comprehensive way, I figured it’d be best to break them all down into three categories.
What We Saw
Much of the hype around this film is centered on the question of “is Prometheus a prequel to Alien”? As I previously stated, I believe the answer is unequivocally yes, and much of the confusion is due to cleverly crafted talking points delivered from Ridley Scott (the film's director), Damon Lindelof (the writer), and 20th Century Fox (the studio). And why not? It’s hard to make a summer film stand out, much less one possibly (definitely) linked to a once-praised but now irrelevant and mocked movie series. So I have no problem with these folks stoking the fanboy fire with vague and sometimes conflicting messages.