Thursday, May 18, 2017

TV Titanics: Luke Cage

Back to TV Titanics. Hope you all have been enjoying the week. If you have any TV suggestions I wouldn't be amiss to hear it. Today I am writing about the phenomenon of Netflix causing their servers to crash after no less than 6 million viewers enjoying their binge watching of this show. From its stellar cast, music and Black History. An unlikely hero emerges in Harlem due to circumstances unforeseen by the man himself. This is Cage.

Hey, that's not Shaft.

A quiet, gentle man Luke Cage (Mike Colter of Million Dollar Baby, Zero Dark Thirty, Salt, Men in Black 3, Agent X, The Good Wife, Jessica Jones, Cage and The Defenders) a barber shop street sweep, glass cleaner and bartender working for Pop (Frankie Faison of A Man Called Hawk, Betsy's Wedding, Silence of the Lambs, True Colors, Roommates, The Langoliers, Prey, Hannibal, The Wire, The Good Wife and The Sounding) the barber being an institute in the neighborhood even deemed a neutral meeting ground even among the gangs,syndicate and thugs.

You floatin' air biscuits there, white boy?

With the renewal of Harlem, the councilwoman Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard of Miss Firecracker, Passion Fish, Blue Chips, Primal Fear, Star Trek: First Contact, Mumford, Desperate Housewives, Memphis Beat, 12 Years a Slave and Copper) takes her neighborhood improvement project to bed with her cousin, club owner and gangster Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes (Mahershala Ali of Threat Matrix, The 4400, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Crossing Over, Treme, Alphas, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1, The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay-Part 2 and Moonlight) a second generation muscle and thug feeling he can carve up and control New York were Fisk had failed.

The original Cottonmouth King.

With a failed arms deal bringing the cops around, Stokes keeps his hands clean of most of it and keeps the cops at bay. Except Detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick of K-Town, A Taste of Romance, Douglass U, Everything I Did Wrong in My 20s, Scandal, Wayward Pines, Luke Cage and The Defenders), a girl of the neighborhood, a woman of the streets and above average intelligent investigator, who has the mindset maintaining the belief that Stokes is dirty and she will drag his ass to jail.

With the aftermath of the Hand, the murders in the hospital, Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson of Josie and the Pussycats, Men in Black II, Sin City, This Girl's Life, Clerks II, Death Proof, Wonder Woman, Unstoppable and 10 Years) moves out of the kitchen and back to Harlem with her mom trying to figure out where to go next and bumps into Cage after tending to his wounds via shotgun blast to the face. An imposing height, strength lies also a keen intelligence, street smarts and attitude only when needed, Cage wears no mask to conceal his identity as almost a symbol of hope and a natural connection vs most of the men and women in tights. Would Harlem give this much love to an ex-con if they knew? Where did he get these powers?

The greatest threat is still an unknown quantity manifests under the name, Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey of Twister, Law & Order, K-PAX, Proud, Crazy for Love, Boardwalk Empire, Wolfenstein: The New Order and Luke Cage) who has such seething hatred for Cage that he refuses to let anyone destroy Cage but him.

What is captivating about this series, is the collection of flashbacks of more or less each character, the love of the land and its history and the music of Faith Evans, the widow of Biggie Smalls, Gang Starr, D'Angelo and Mobb Deep envelopes you and is timed so well.

I have read other reviews claiming that this show lacks the intensity of Daredevil and Jessica Jones and to be honest the second half of the season goes a bit slow but I think it was simply to ratchet up the tension of the story and the secondary characters are fleshed out so well that it feels like a coherent saga. Give it a view. It is completely worth your time and viewing. So much talent in one series.

I remember when Tarantino made the statement of wanting to create a Luke Cage/Power Man film back in the early 90s and I thank God I didn't have to hear that many "N" bombs with a guy that just doesn't fit as Cage.

Gonna put you in one of these pine boxes.