8 Reasons Why Mindhunter is the Best Original Series on Netflix for 2017
On October’s Friday the 13th, Netflix and director David Fincher (Gone Girl, Seven, Fight Club) released a new and original psychological series, Mindhunter, focused on exploring not only the minds of some of America’s worst serial killers, but also the history of how the FBI finally incorporated psychology into their criminal investigations. Set in the 1970s, and based on real-life serial killers and the FBI agents who interviewed them in order to understand the psyche of a killer, Mindhunter mixes fact with fiction to deliver a stellar, fascinating, and intense drama. There are a few reasons why this is Netflix’s must-see original series of 2017.
David Fincher is known for his stylistic approach to films and projects that explore character and psychology above all else. He has taken audiences into the minds of the most disturbed and wonderfully imperfect, complex characters, and Mindhunter is no different. In an interview with Collider, Fincher explained that he wanted to explore the reality that serial killers are “real, sad people,” and that the reason we are so fascinated by them is because “we’re nothing like them.”
Real-Life Serial Killers
History buffs and true crime fans will appreciate the factual elements of the show, which is based on a book, Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, by real-life FBI agent John Douglas, who worked for the FBI Investigative Support Unit for 25 years. The book provides a look into real criminals and serial killers that were psychologically profiled by Douglas, who has an incredible ability to get into the minds of the killers in order to create profiles for each of them that help to explain their habits. His experience in interviewing and studying these individuals, including Charles Manson and Ed Gein, established a framework for getting into the minds of the most disturbed perpetrators in the United States.
The main character of the series, Holden Ford, is based on Douglas, but the fictionalized part of the series is mainly the narrative that occurs in Ford’s personal life with his girlfriend, Debbie (Hannah Gross), as well as the personal lives of his partner, Bill Tench (based on real-life FBI agent Robert Ressler) and Dr. Wendy Carr (based on real-life Dr. Ann Burgess). Their work on creating a system of serial killer profiling based on patterns in habits and psychology, however, is real enough, as is the criminals themselves. The real names of the serial killers that are interviewed and studied in the series are used, as well as their likenesses. The crimes of these killers, including Ed Kemper and Jerome Brudos, that appear in the show are also accurate. Mindhunter even used some dialogue from real video interviews with, for example, Kemper, the “Co-ed Killer,” in scenes in the show.
Jonathan Groff’s captivating performance as Agent Holden Ford, the man determined to master the mind of a serial killer, is reason enough to watch Fincher’s new series. What makes Ford so interesting is the mystery behind his personality. At times you’re on this journey with him, experiencing his wonder and subtle horror while hanging on every word that comes out of a serial killer’s mouth.
Most of the time, though, Ford’s emotions are well hidden; so much so, in fact, that you will find yourself wondering whether or not Ford could be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder like the killers interviewed in the show. Ford seems disgusted with the actions of some of the killers, but he also appears desensitized at times. He’s not afraid to break laws or rules to reach his goals, and Ford doesn’t usually show that he has any remorse for his actions when they cause turmoil.
With that being said, Ford isn’t entirely emotionless or heartless. What you come to figure out while watching his character over the ten-episode first season, is his ability to compartmentalize, as well as the negative side effects of immersing yourself so deeply into a serial killer’s mind. His relationships slowly begin to crumble throughout the season, and it all stems from his interactions during his in-person interviews with those serial killers, though he doesn’t seem to realize it’s happening until the season finale.
One of the best moments of the first season comes in the finale episode, when Ford’s walls are shattered in a moment of pure panic and fear, and the audience realizes how tightly his emotions have been buried underneath a relentlessly logical, determined, stubborn exterior, that has been slightly influenced by the darkness he surrounds himself with. Ford having to face the reality of what can happen to you when you delve too far into a serial killer’s mind and perspective is a powerful moment, and arguably the most revealing scene of Ford’s character.
The Behavioral Science Unit
The best part about Mindhunter is the relationship between Agents Ford and Bill Tench (Holt McCallanay). The two make a great serial killer investigating duo, their respective intelligence, personalities, and age difference providing a great balance and realistic partnership that also provides a bit of comedic relief at times.
Real-life FBI Agents Douglas and Ressler were actually the ones who initially coined the term “serial killer” in the first place, and their series counterparts Ford and Tench, with the help of Dr. Carr (Anna Torv), are seen perfecting the terminology the FBI and other law enforcement agencies still use today. This includes the established vernacular of grouping certain offenders into either “organized” or “disorganized” categories. In reality, trailblazer Dr. Burgess, who Carr is based on, didn’t join the team until after she established her expertise and pioneered “the treatment of trauma and abuse victims.”
Carr’s presence on the team in the show, however, creates another perspective that is refreshing and necessary for the audience. Carr brings a certain morality and organization to the group, meaning she sometimes finds herself in confrontation with the improvisational Ford on how the interviews with the serial killers should be handled. When the two characters clash, it brings up an interesting question: How far is too far when trying to understand or catch a serial killer? (Click link below to view the rest of this story)
What that new ‘Jessica Jones’ character means for the season and the series
Friend or foe?
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Jessica Jones Season 2.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones has been a revelation for women ever since it premiered in 2015. Not only did it present us with a deeply flawed and traumatized protagonist, it dealt with her history and insecurities head-on.
In Season 2, we still have a host of varied, complicated women; from Carrie Ann Moss’s struggling Jeri Hogarth to Rachael Taylor’s unraveling Trish to our newest character, played by Janet McTeer. It’s a pivotal role with DEEP complexity and physicality, the likes of which is rare for women in action shows – especially women of a certain age.
McTeer is first introduced as Dr. Leslie Hansen, a scientist linked to the ominous IGH, but we quickly learn that there’s far more to her. She has abilities like Jessica’s, but dialed up to 11; with her super strength comes a rampant rage – a dissociative disorder that’s a side effect of the experiments IGH actually conducted on her.
When that switch flips, she becomes incredibly volatile, but with an almost childlike fixation on the source of her distress. McTeer communicates all this with a clenched jaw and unwavering gaze – and that’s before all the stunt work.
“That was fun, you know, the idea of being someone who works really hard to control her emotions, control herself,” McTeer told Mashable at the Season 2 premiere in New York. “She doesn’t know how to do that particularly but she tries very hard in all kinds of different ways and doesn’t always succeed.”
And then there’s that Episode 6 reveal, the shaky word a disbelieving Jessica says after tracking her quarry back to the house where she lives: “Mom?”
At first, turning this new character into Alisa Jones feels like a bit of a MacGuffin for Jessica’s quest to figure out exactly who or what she is. The tragic loss of her family is one of Jessica’s most formative experiences, like so many other superheroes. It’s infuriating to think her mother was alive this long and that their paths never crossed. Alisa didn’t even seek her out.
Episode 7 addresses all of that in flashbacks, but it’s still maddening. Especially with an ostensibly retconned dead boyfriend plot for Jessica that ends up being her mother’s fault (that jacket reveal though…:crying emoji:).
As the season builds to a climax, it’s hard to reconcile those revelations with a forced mother-daughter vigilante bonding subplot. Sure, there’s a tenderness to Alisa tending her daughter’s bullet wound that we haven’t seen Jessica experience before, but Mama Jones is a ticking time bomb and combustion is all but inevitable.
By now, we know how this ends: Alisa goes rogue (Jessica with her, for a time) and there’s no reeling her back in. By the final episode, she’s lost the only person who could help her scientifically and joined Jessica in the dead boyfriends’ club – she also murders a detective in a surge of violent energy reminiscent of Kilgrave himself.
“I’ve never seen a woman play a part like this,” McTeer said. “I’ve seen men do it very often but you know, I’m a middle-aged woman, so that was fun. Hard, harder than playing it when you’re 25 because it’s very physical, but still great.”
“You do something like this and you hope someone will go ‘Oh, that’s a good idea, let’s do another one!'” she added. “‘Does an FBI agent have to be a man? Let’s make it a woman. Does that person really have to be a man? Let’s make it a woman.’ I’d like that to happen more.”
If any show was going to do it, it’s this one.
Jessica Jones Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.
Offred is 1000% over it in new ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ teaser
The Handmaid’s Tale just served up an International Women’s Day teaser of Offred and her sisters fighting back. After a first season that explored women losing all their agency, Season 2 shows shows the women of Gilead refusing to be oppressed any longer.
The teaser is mostly a few flashes of footage and imagery – including Offred in front of a noose and a weeping Moira (Samira Wiley) – narrated with the emotionless cadence Elisabeth Moss perfected as Offred. She lists the requirements of the handmaid like commandments: “Wear the red dress, wear the wings,” and eventually, “Shut your mouth, be a good girl, roll over and spread your legs, yes ma’am, may the lord open.”
And then the teaser ends with a burst of frustration: “Seriously, what the actual f–”
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 premieres April 25 on Hulu.
Obamas in talks with Netflix about original shows, report says
Netflix Originals from the Obamas may be coming.
You could soon be watching Netflix Originals commissioned by Barack and Michelle Obama.
According to a report by The New York Times, the former president and first lady are in “advanced negotiations” with the streaming giant to produce a series of shows.
The proposed deal, the Times reports, would see Netflix paying the Obamas to commission exclusive content, which would “highlight inspirational stories.” Exactly how many shows and episodes we can expect, whether these will be documentaries, mini-series or otherwise, has not yet been confirmed.
How much the Obamas will be paid is also still unclear.
Netflix currently boasts 117 million members in over 190 countries — quite the robust platform for the already social media-dominant Obamas to potentially leverage.
But the Times surmised that Obama wouldn’t be using the platform as “a direct answer to Fox News or Breitbart.com,” writing:
Mr. Obama does not intend to use his Netflix shows to directly respond to President Trump or conservative critics, according to people familiar with discussions about the programming.
Netflix isn’t the only streaming service interested in content commissioned by the Obamas it seems, with the Times reporting that executives from Amazon and Apple had also “expressed interest in talking with Mr. Obama about content deals.”
Mashable has reached out to Netflix for comment.
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