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The weird and macabre

By Benjamin Carr

 

The weird and macabre stand at the center of three new and notable hour long dramas. Though things can get odd and violent, strong characters are what keeps viewers hooked.

HUNTERS (Amazon Prime)

This series from David Weil jumps out of the gate with a series of fantastic shockers. It is, by turns, appalling and compelling, expertly cast and horrifically violent. It's a stunner. In 1977, many Nazis working together in secret have survived and infiltrated their way into the upper echelons of American society. A group of New York-based grandparents who survived the Holocaust uncover their identities and begin to track them down and kill them, using methods that evoke memories of concentration camps. Good Lord, this show was uncomfortable. Then, it was thrilling. As it unfolded with moments of terrible violence, including a really, really sick chess game, Hunters revealed itself as a bold, daring and divisive piece of entertainment. Logan Lerman, who has long deserved a showcase role like this one, stars in the series as a young man drawn into his grandmother's secret plot to murder Nazis. Al Pacino - yes, Al Pacino - co-stars as a rich benefactor organizing the hunt. Dylan Baker, Jeannie Berlin and Lena Olin appear, as well. With a cast of that caliber and a premise that daring, the show is bingeworthy.

THE OUTSIDER (HBO) 

This Atlanta-filmed miniseries thriller from Stephen King begins with a terrifying premise that rivals Agatha Christie's work, the brutal murder of a young boy in a small town and an obvious suspect in the crime. Det. Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) receives word that little league coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) was seen with the boy and interacted with several people outside of a white van. Anderson arrests Maitland in public, certain of the man's guilt. Soon after making that public arrest, life becomes untenable for Maitland's family, but Anderson begins receiving proof that Maitland himself was somewhere else at the time of the murder. Also, he begins noticing weird things about his original evidence. The series begins intriguingly, then becomes increasingly bonkers, as can be expected with King. Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo and Julianne Nicholson co-star.

LOCKE AND KEY (Netflix)

Based upon the comic series written by Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King, this new series centers on a family relocating to the East Coast after the murder of their father. The house they inherit and choose to inhabit is filled with bizarre secrets. The show is fun, filled with young protagonists - played by Emilia Jones, Connor Jessup and Jackson Robert Scott - encountering a supernatural threat, as well as crippling remorse. Darby Stanchfield, who starred in ABC's Scandal, plays their mother. As the show delves more into its own mythology and the setting of Keyhouse, it becomes more interesting.

 

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