Season 1 Episodes 1 and 2
Starring David Duchovny
I had been looking forward to this show for a while now. I have read a lot of books on Charles Manson and have also seen the interviews and movies made about him. In other words I should have known this would be a disaster.
NBC was the ﬁrst clue. You just can’t make a good television series about Charles Manson on a network channel during prime time. Yes I know it’s not just about Charlie; That is where David Duchovny comes in. He plays Sam Hodiak, a police ofﬁcer trying to ﬁnd a missing teenager who happens to be a daughter of an old ex-girlfriend. Who cares! We are tuning in to see Charlie and his family. Yes we do get glimpses of them but not enough. As a matter of fact we are introduced to Sadie. I’m guessing more than eighty percent of the people in the world do not know she is, but she’s Susan Atkins. Yes the next big name in the family and you can’t even say her name?!
The second clue that I knew this show would be terrible is Gethin Anthony who portrays Charles Manson. I just don’t buy into his performance. To play him you need to be scary as hell and give the viewer’s chills up their spine. I didn’t feel this! Another key element missing is what I call “crazy eyes”. When he goes crazy and attacks his old lawyer you don’t see it. If you don’t know what I mean look at Steve Railsback in the 1976 ﬁlm Helter Skelter. Or take a gander at Ryan Kiser’s performance in the upcoming ﬁlm House of Manson which I highly recommend. Those two have it and you believe them. At the same time you have to be a compassionate and lovable guy. No one follows someone and believes in them if they are not charismatic. Sorry Gethin but I just don’t believe in you.
The ﬁnal reason I will not buy into this shenanigan of a show is the story. There is no need to embellish it. To me it seems the writers decided to make a new chapter in Aesop’s Fables. This scary and very true story needs no added features. The real shocking and true story of the Manson family has everything a television show needs. They had sex, drugs, violence, rock and roll and girls. It wrote itself.
Sorry NBC but you have failed. If you don’t know the story of Charles Manson let me give you some better alternatives to feed your brain.
Movies: Helter Skelter 1976 Movie Directed by Tom Gries
House of Manson Directed by Brandon Slagle
Books: Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (District Attorney on the case)
Manson in his Own Words by Charles Manson