An Evaluation of the TV Series "The Purge": A Subdued but Considerate Adaptation
In the twenty-first century, there have been few horror ideas as successful as The Purge. The Purge is a lean and mean exploration of class and racial conflict in a near-future America where all crime (including murder) is legal for one night a year. violent horror films that foretold the rise of white nationalism and political extremism in America The Purge franchise, developed by James DeMonaco and supported by Blumhouse and Universal, has made over $400 million at the box office around the world on a budget of only $3 million. The Purge, an "event series" in the United States, is based on the horror film and is premiering this summer.
The series, which takes place between this year's prequel The First Purge and the trilogy-closing Election Year, gives viewers a chance to delve deeply into the mythology that has captured their attention. And with ten hour-long episodes, it gives the writers, led by DeMonaco and showrunner Thomas Kelly, the narrative space to invest in rich characters and nearly real-time plotting as their ensemble navigates the night, opportunities they seize with frustrating irregularity and occasionally stunted showmanship. Despite inventing some interesting new paths down which the story could progress,
U.S.A. Network/Patti Perret
Following in the footsteps of The Purge, the show follows a diverse group of characters from all walks of life, from the lowest to the highest echelons of society. In fact, the latter is more clearly depicted than ever before through the eyes of anti-Purge couple Rick (Colin Woodell) and Jenna (Hannah Anderson), who put on their finest attire and attend a lavish pro-Purge party at the mansion of the Stantons. Now expecting their first child, the middle-class couple is hoping to receive a financial investment from the Stanton patriarch (Reed Diamond) that would do more than fund their housing development; it would transform their lives. Lila Stanton (Lili Simmons), a stunning anti-Purge socialite who shared a three-way romance with the married pair, has caught their eye as a potential time bomb that could detonate in either their relationship or business dealings by the end of the night.
Jane (Amanda Warren) is a high-powered executive who, like many in her profession, must spend the night in the office closing a deal with her staff. Jane is secretly carrying out a Purge agenda of her own via the assassin she hired to take out her sexist boss (William Baldwin), and she is agonizing over her decision at every turn as she is locked away on a guarded floor where all employees are required to sign a no-Purge waiver. Though the fluorescent-lit corporate drama (and occasional satire) isn't as viscerally gripping as the other cross-sections of life, Warren's story is still one of the most emotionally engaging.
Source: Patti Perret/USA Network for the Featured Image
Purger Joe (Lee Tergesen), a blue-collar everyman who does his patriotic duty by hunting down murderous Purgers while listening to motivational tapes about the Purge, is another character worth highlighting (though one we've barely glimpsed so far). With Tergesen in the lead, he has the potential to be a game-changing "killer with a code" type if the show's writers play their cards right.
We also meet Miguel (Gabriel Chavarria), a marine who has just returned from a tour of duty and is on the streets looking for his sister Penelope (Jessica Garza), a pro-Purge martyr who is willing to give her life for the cult's Good Leader Tavis (Fiona Dourif). Miguel takes us through the minute-to-minute struggle for survival on the streets while Jenna and Rick socialize with the costumed elite, who celebrate killing in safety by donning the masks of well-known pre-Purge killers like Ted Bundy and Lizzie Borden. Here is where things get really exciting, with everything from encounters with the obligatory masked psychos to new ideas like the Running Man-esque game show The Gauntlet, which Miguel is made to play after being captured. It's an intriguing concept, but the first three episodes made available for criticism leave something to be desired.
Despite a rich cast of characters and ideas, the Purge films suffer from a lack of cinematic flair and a distinct aesthetic. Despite what appears to be a healthy budget, the show has a distinct made-for-TV quality that feels flat in comparison to the stylings of the film franchise, with the exception of the pilot episode, which was directed by Unsolved and American Crime Story helmer Anthony Hemingway. especially following the success of Gerald McMurray's energizing The First Purge Sadly, this toothless quality permeates not only the violence, which has been toned down for television, but also the franchise's central political allegory.
The USA Network/Patti Perret
Each film in the series had something to say, but The First Purge was the series' rallying yell, a film that didn't hide its political leanings in either its plot or its advertising. The Purge, on the other hand, is a hushed whisper. It's not making itself heard very clearly if it does. A series on a basic cable network like USA naturally wants to attract the widest possible audience, and there's certainly nothing wrong with favoring character drama over preachiness. However, depoliticizing an established franchise is a bad idea. Because of the contrast they've created, the series now feels less powerful.
Whereas the lean machine movies tend to rely heavily on setup and payoff with little in between, The Purge series has the option of employing a slow burn. Perhaps there will be some unexpected turns, and there is already evidence of character development that creates a lot more nuance between the films' scrappy heroes and masked madmen. Purge cults: compelling concepts I'm excited to see where each story goes, and I find many of the characters interesting (Joe in particular seems like he'll bring something new to the series), but I can't help but worry that the road has been paved too clearly. Despite the first few episodes and the fact that the show ultimately doesn't aim to be as subversive as the movies,
However, the new series should still appeal to franchise fans thanks to its bizarre new masks, layered mythology, and diverse cast of characters. Even if the Purge siren doesn't quite have the same effect, there's still a lot to like about this adaptation.
Acceptable: 3.5/5 stars
On September 4th, USA will air the premiere of "The Purge."
U.S.A. Network/Patti Perret
Credit: Patti Perret /USA Network for the use of this image
The USA Network/Patti Perret
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