Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What to watch

Watch this: "Top of the Lake."

Really, really great. Premiered last night on the Sundance Channel. Best thing I've seen on TV since the last thing I saw on TV that was great. Made with the BBC, of course, because American TV, HBO excluded, is incapable of making anything good.

Elisabeth Moss is a detective who returns to her small New Zealand hometown. There, a pregnant girl, 12, appears -- then disappears. Holly Hunter is a completely insane/fascinating/compelling lady-cult leader without a plan who, when asked by the girl what happened to her (Hunter), replies: "A calamity." I'm pretty sure the chick who played the crazy sister in "Sweetie" is the one who plays a middle-aged woman who isn't afraid to pay whomever's willing to bang her. The cast is rounded out by the bad guy from Baz Luhrmann's "Australia," and a bunch of guys who looked like they escaped from "Animal Kingdom."

Where is the girl? Who got her? Is she alive? I have no idea. It's "Twin Peaks" meets "The Deep End" meets "The Cremaster Cycle."

I'm a fan of "Girls," but you realize how petty and small and brief that show is when you watch a program like this. Take, for example, JazzHate, the HBO show's weak attempt to make fun of whatever it is Jezebel and XOJane think they're doing. Then you see something like the cluster of women inhabiting storage containers in a place called Paradise on "Top of the Lake," and you understand that women may have something more to offer the world than self-hate and misandry. Something bigger and better than realness portrayed by a splinter in your ass. Something more profound than writing about how your crotch smells. Something wiser than believing the commenters who tell you that you're a good writer because you embarrassed yourself in public. Thank you, Jane Campion, for being a woman who is creating, yet again, something that doesn't suck.

In any case, check it out.