Sunday, August 23, 2015

Now And Then

I just watched the first episode of Documentary Now!, a new series on IFC.  It's the perfect sort of show for IFC, being comedic and highly niche.  It's created by and starring SNL's Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers.  (They're so busy with other projects I'm surprised they have the time, but then you also see Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and doing small projects between big movies.)

Each week, the show will feature a fake documentary.  The show starts with an excellent parody of the titles for a PBS show, followed by a straightforward introduction by Helen Mirren. I wonder if anyone is fooled at this point into thinking this is a classic show that's been running for decades.  The parody goes far enough that there's a break for fundraising.

The first episode is called "Sandy Passage," which is a pretty straightforward parody of Grey Gardens the classic documentary from the Maysles. (Spoiler: With the ending, it's about 80% Grey Gardens, 20% Blair Witch Project.) With only slight comic exaggeration, Armisen and Hader portray Big Edie and Little Edie of the original. I enjoyed the episode, though I'm not sure what people who haven't seen the original will make of it.

As for the overall show, it's hard to review, since it's an anthology.  It appears each episode will be a different subject and a different style.  They may be based on other documentaries, though I doubt they'll stick too close to the source.

Anyway, worth checking out.  And this season only features six episodes, so if one doesn't work you could try another--not a big commitment.

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