The biggest roadblock to HBO’s Here and Now and Netflix’s Queer Eye is that they are stuck in their own presumptions. Essentially caught in the vortex of Donald Trump, the former is a mess and the latter is surprisingly staid.
Additionally, in the case of the February 11-debuting drama about a progressive and multi-ethnic Portland family, the Alan Ball-created and Holly Hunter- and Tim Robbins-led Here and Now oddly never progresses beyond an unwieldy tale with supernatural distractions about exceptionally unlikable people.
As for the February 7 launch of Netflix’s revival of the groundbreaking Bravo series from the George W. Bush era, there is no real contrasting point of view in the now-Atlanta-based Queer Eye to the tune of brotherhood and bridge building. It’s a perspective that is any partially unscripted show’s right to have, but one that is a far cry from boots-on-the-ground reality in much of the South and much of the rest of divided America right now, as I say in my video review above.
With a new cast of Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and an occasionally spikey Jonathan Van Ness taking over for Carson Kressley and crew, the eight-episode series bounces on a rhythm of optimistic acceptance where the original Queer Eye on Bravo shimmied to undermine persisting prejudices. Exceedingly formatted, the result is still just too sugar-coated for my palate.
Spinning in storylines of self-actualization, dying civilizations, family tensions, technological mistrust, righteous narcissism in a land governed by the former Celebrity Apprentice host, and some deer shit, the 10-episode Here and Now has a good setup in the aging and disgruntled liberals played by Oscar winners Hunter and Robbins, their biological daughter and the now-grown children they adopted from Liberia, Cambodia and Vietnam. However, what could be a drama of depth from True Blood and Six Feet Under creator Ball stays on the surface like a Winter Olympics skater with none of the finesse.
Click on my video review above to see more of my take on Here and Now and Queer Eye. Will you be watching either?