First, let me say I’ll watch anything with J. K. Simmons. He’s simply phenomenal in the way Gene Hackman was phenomenal in his movie roles.
Mr. Simmons is believable in whatever role he undertakes whether it was the psychologist on the original Law and Order, the dual role in Counterpart—in which he portrayed 2 distinct personalities—and in any of the many character roles in movies and television.
I’ve given much thought to why Night Sky, created by Holden Miller and Daniel C. Connolly for Amazon Studios and Legendary Television, didn’t hold much appeal for me.
I thought it had a compelling premise—a married couple discovered several years ago that they have a portal, a wormhole, in their basement that leads to another planet—but that wasn’t enough in the end for me to give it 5 stars.
I think the series suffers from two things: slow pace where the viewer keeps waiting for something ominous to happen and inconsistent characterization.
Make no mistake, Night Sky has superb acting by Mr. Simmons and Sissy Spacek in her role as his wife. So let me explain the two faults I think it has—strictly my own opinion. Watch it, and let me know what you think because an opinion about any form of the arts is strictly subjective.
Waiting for Something to Happen
Building tension is the goal of any suspense, mystery, science fiction, and even romance stories.
However, when you go for episode after episode with no payoff for that tension, it becomes exasperating.
Since I’ve been spending a lot of time in PT and sitting with ice packs, I’ve watched a bunch of movies and TV shows with compelling premises that start slow and creep forward.
Building tension is well and good but don’t aggravate the reader or viewer. Give a series of small payoffs to keep the viewer expecting the big, worst one of all. We know it’s going to happen in science fiction. It’s a given so give it to us!
To me, this is more grievous than the overbuilt tension. In Night Sky, you have 2 elderly people whose only child is dead leaving a daughter who is mostly a long distance relationship. Basically they have only each other. They are each other’s constant companion, best friend, confidante, longtime spouse, lover, and they apparently love each other deeply.
With that kind of setup for these two characters, why don’t they tell each other the odd things each experiences instead of keeping it to themselves? Why does the wife tell a lie to protect an intruder that reflects badly on the husband? These character inconsistencies exist throughout.
In watching that, I have to ask myself: “Would a woman portrayed that way tell a lie that would injure her beloved husband’s reputation and possibly endanger him?” When he discoveredd it, wouldn’t he be horribly hurt since she is his whole world?
My 2¢ Review
Watch it for the acting of Mr. Simmons and Ms. Spacek and don’t expect the two characters they portray to stay within the established bounds of their characterization.
For the acting and premise, I give Night Sky
5 stars. Because of the missteps I mentioned, I’ll give it 3.75. I guess that averages to 4.375. If you watch it, let me know what you think in a comment.
Joan Reeves aka SlingWords: The Word Slinging Adventures of Joan Reeves
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