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‘Moonhaven’ Review – The Hollywood Reporter

‘Moonhaven’ Review – The Hollywood Reporter

I spent two years battling the complications by desperately wanting to recommend AMC’s wonderfully weird drama Lodge 49 and is generally unable to even describe the show. A piece of surfer noir with the help of Thomas Pynchon, who Terrier without chewing gum, Lodge 49 would probably never have been a mainstream smash, but I never think it has come close to maximizing the audience that would have fallen for its laconic, philosophical noodle and its rich, low-key charm.

AMC +’s new series Moonhaven is not really a moon Lodge 49but comes from Lodge 49 showrunner Peter Ocko and brag Lodge 49 creator Jim Gavin as author and producer, Moonhaven has some of the elusive DNA. Although one can sense that Ocko and the company are trying to at least give AMC + a promotional hook, Moonhaven is a show that is least exciting when it seems to be the most understandable. The series’ first season of six episodes obviously wants to be gripping and driving at times, and it really isn’t, but there are frequent outbursts of delightful and inventive strangeness.


The bottom line

Its general mood is crater than the sum of its parts.

Transmission date: Thursday 7 July (AMC +)

Actors: Emma McDonald, Dominic Monaghan, Amara Karan, Ayelet Zurer, Joe Manganiello, Kadeem Hardison and Yazzmin Newell

Creates: Peter Ocko

The series is set for three generations after settlers left a dying earth to build a 500-square-kilometer colony on the moon. Instead of looking at the moon’s surface as a potential replacement for the earth, the community in Moonhaven was sent with a powerful artificial intelligence system designed to find solutions to the earth’s problems. When the pilot begins, a younger generation of lunar settlers is on the verge of returning to Earth with what they have learned, a humanitarian mission in the last gasp.

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Of course, someone or something has decided that the “Bridge” can not happen as planned. Just as an earth envoy (Amara Karan’s Indira) and her bodyguard (Joe Manganiello) arrive on a ship piloted by the smuggled soldier, Bella (Emma McDonald), the utopian moon Eden is shaken by the unusual spectrum of murders. In Moonhaven, detectives are generally expected to serve as channels for mental healing, as opposed to legal justice, but it is up to a couple of scary investigators – Dominic Monaghan’s Paul and Kadeem Hardison’s Arlo – to find out who wants to set this crucial moment. in danger. in human progress.

The story of Paul and Argo, who generally seem to be the backbone of the series, gives AMC + some coverage to call Moonhaven a “thriller”, a classification that is not entirely wrong, but which is definitely not entirely correct. However, it is available, and Moonhaven can then be inserted into one of my favorite genres, the mystery “murder where people are not used to killing” – think Whiteout (Antarctica) or Resistance (Norwegian Arctic) or The Jewish Police Association (alt-history Alaska). Immediate suspects include Bella, linked to Moonhaven in several unforeseen ways, New Age-y council leader Maite (Ayelet Zurer) and a pack of rebels who either want the moon’s autonomy or watching the earth burn.

This version of the story is easy to stick to and, in its familiarity, easy to be disappointed with. With a few exceptions, Moonhaven is not so exciting or thrilling. If I were to have an investment in the things that Arlo and Paul and Bella discover in their respective investigations, it will never be realized.

Moonhaven is an engaging series of discoveries of a different kind. Production designer Philip Murphy and directors led by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy present Moonhaven as a community of back-to-nature flower children, with innovative foundations that are more surprising and fun than anything else in the criminal investigation. This show is not really about the various futuristic gadgets that created this Garden of Eden – it’s even a very literal tree of knowledge – on the moon, although there are weapons and virtual reality reinforcements and ships and communication devices whose origins and technological innovations you can Think about whether it is your point of interest. Just do not expect crazy explanations for the terraforming of certain aspects of Moonhaven or the medicinal rejuvenating power of green vines. The environment is half Westworld and half Midsummer.

The show is best enjoyed through whimsical immersion in the environment and culture that has developed in the colony, and gives meaning to religious rituals, family divisions and power structure. It is a touching world of flash mob dancing, drug-assisted emotional exploration and science that is informed by nature and magic more than engineering. There are spatial colonization aspects of Moonhaven which is treated more conveniently on Apple TV + sfor all of humanity or with a more cost-intensive science fiction scale on Apple TV + Foundation or in the two-season run of Raised by wolves on HBO Max, so all the compelling pleasures of the kind you find here should be taken as bonuses on top of the more distinctive and offbeat smiles it generates.

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It’s not really a comedy, but it’s not a dark show, especially when the very likeable Hardison and Monaghan experience the dawning joy and buddy police that lies in becoming the new society’s Holmes and Watson. Death and grief at Moonhaven is a strange thing, and you can see why these cops may be lacking initial urgency, which is where the military-trained Bella, played with a good mix of humor and viewer confusion by McDonald, comes in.

It’s a grab-bag quality to the ensemble, so that Manganiello’s mocking threat and Zurer’s unfathomable down to earth do not necessarily feel as if they fit in with the very effective early Martha Malone as Paul’s curious daughter, Elna. It is easier to accept that Moonhaven and its inhabitants exist in a difficult combination of common harmony and individual incongruence. The theory, I suppose, is that if everyone spoke the same and dressed the same and bought into the utopian ideals in the same way, Moonhaven would not have much drama, nor would it be convincing.

There is much that is recognizable in the show’s cynical approach to our current failings to protect the earth and the idea that a halcyon plan like this would offer true salvation, without Moonhaven appears as a prescription to counteract modern discomfort. It is not a lecture on environmentalism or justice reform or the evil of widespread capitalism. As Lodge 49regardless of the effort built into the action, Moonhaven is more of a mood than a fairy tale, and it is less effective when it tries to approach the fairy tale sincerely. In keeping with its core location, the show’s gravity tends towards the artificial, so it’s just slipping into the mood and wonder of Moonhaven.

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