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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Friday, January 08, 2016

entry arrow8:04 AM | Film Log 11: Mozart in the Jungle Season Two

Amazon's first season of Mozart in the Jungle, the raunchy and comedic series that follows the lives and loves of the musicians and administrators behind the fictional New York Symphony Orchestra, was a totally unexpected surprise -- and it endeared itself quickly to me, given the fact that in the world of television, we've had too many shows following lawyers and cops and medical professionals and serial killers, but never musicians. That it followed the biting drama of the memoir by Blair Tindall was also fodder for interest, and I couldn't wait for the second season to start: this was drama made for binge-watching. I did binge-watch the ten-episode-long second season, and while I liked it, there was less to admire. It has considerably slowed down in terms of compelling momentum. For some reason, how we follow the show's major characters -- Gael García Bernal as the tempestuous conductor, Lola Kirke as the newbie oboist, Saffron Burrows as the world-weary cellist, Malcolm McDowell as the high-strung former conductor, and Bernadette Peters as the elegant but harried president of the orchestra -- seemed half-bake, noncommittal, bordering on boring, which is preposterous given the kind of actors we have in the cast. There is a minor arc, for example, for Ms. Peters' character who has suddenly rekindled a love for singing (as it should -- the voice of this Broadway legend was wasted and unused in the first season), but it's a storyline that's quickly dropped and serves only as a halfhearted device to introduce some illicit love affair to her character. For the most part, we follow a story that revolves around contract negotiations, a strike, a tour through South America (with Mexico as the main stop), a dance reality show, a stolen violin, a lesbian affair, a photographic fetish, a less-than-steller attempt at a new career at composition, an attempt to declutter, motion capture, PR battles, and a host of cameos from the classical music world's rock stars including Gustavo Dudamel, Emanuel Ax, Blair Tindall, Anton Coppola, Lang Lang, Joshua Bell, Alan Gilbert, Bernard Uzan, and Brian D’Arcy James. But it gels along with the gravity of its own narrative, and for the most part, it's fine -- just not spectacular. It is what it is: a sophomore season. I hope the third season is better, if there is one. ★★★☆☆

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