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Sometimes the decision to be good or bad isn’t so easy. Usually, people reside in the gray areas. In three new adaptations, the nature of good vs. evil is turned upside down and inside out.  Based on a book, a play (and a podcast), and a video game, hot Summer shows including Good Omens, Twisted Metal and The Horror of Dolores Roach examine good people (or beings) who carry out questionable deeds for dubious reasons– or vice versa. Some are more successful than others.


Good Omens 2 (Amazon Prime)

There is a war brewing between Heaven and Hell, and Earth is the battleground. Sound exciting? It would be, if either side had an inkling of what the hell they were doing. As it stands, both sides are completely inept, and thus the story of Good Omens 2 becomes a comedic farce of biblical proportions.

Created by mad geniuses Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, the second season of Good Omens expands the story of demon Crowley (the incredibly entertaining David Tennant) and angel Aziraphale (the equally entertaining Michael Sheen) as Heaven and Hell’s former delegates on Earth. Refusing to harm mankind to help their brethren, they spent their time in the mortal realm enjoying good meals, modeling various types of sunglasses, consuming great literature, appreciating Bentleys, and developing a friendship for the ages.

In this second outing, the archangel Gabriel (John Hamm) has gone missing from Heaven, causing an uproar both above and below. He is shielded by Crowley and Aziraphale after he is found strolling naked in Soho without any memory of his true nature or the fact that he is a colossal prick. The duo must work together to find out the reason for Gabriel’s plight, who is behind it, and what it means for the universe.

Expanding the world beyond the original novel, the second season shares much of the same flavor — still quirky and still off its hinges. Though the new season is missing some of the outlandish aspects of the original outing, such as the chipper, offbeat narration from God (Frances McDormand) and the many, many oddballs that made the show so special. However, Tennant and Sheen’s relationship is still the heart of the show, and its beat is just as strong. If not stronger.

As the only sane celestial beings in the universe, they bring wit and wisdom to the show, anchoring the audience and protecting mankind from God’s idiot messengers and Beelzebub’s dimwitted demons. It’s a love story of deep-seeded friendship and understanding, one which took eons to develop and grow, and a joy to watch blossom.

Good Omens 2 might not bring the exact same idiosyncratic odyssey as the first season, but there are enough heavenly hijinks, satanic antics, and good-natured biblical heresy to keep fans of the original series delighted. And more importantly, there is more Crowley and Aziraphale to go around.

Twisted Metal (Peacock)

Based on the uber-violent vehicular combat game of the same name, Peacock’s Twisted Metal attempts to bring the high-octane collisions to the small screens of streaming. Based on a story by Deadpool’s Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and penned by Michael Jonathan Smith, the uber-dark demolition derby might not be exactly what Twisted Metal fans had in mind, but it has a few interesting twists and turns for those who stay on its path.

Set 20 years post-apocalypse, after all the major cities have tucked themselves safe behind walls to protect their  non-violent populations, murderers and marauders left on the outside have taken to the roads as their means of survival. Those who have a gift for it, become Milkmen, delivery drivers between the still-functioning towns.

Such is the case of John Doe (Captain America‘s Anthony Mackie), a motor-mouthed amnesiac road warrior who delivers packages in his beloved Subaru EV3L1N. Wavering between good or evil, he is as close to acceptable as one can get in this new world order. When the COO of New San Francisco (Neve Campbell) asks him to run a mysterious package from New Chicago with the promise of a new life within the bordered city, John begins a cross-country journey with almost zero chance of completing the task.

Along the way, John picks up Quiet (Brooklyn 99′s Stephanie Beatriz), as well as the attention of a wayward lawman (Thomas Haden Church) and the occasional lunatic. The crown prince of the Twisted Metal franchise, Sweet Tooth (voiced by Will Arnett with a body provided by Joe Seanoa), is a bloodthirsty clown with a penchant for mayhem who drives an ice cream truck.

Fans of the original video game series, particularly Twisted Metal: Black and the 2012 reboot, might be a wee disappointed in the TV adaptation of their beloved franchise, which tends to go goofy rather than dark. Though the show keeps in the spirit of the hard R that made the game so gosh-darn fun, the underlying themes of Twisted Metal ran pitch black. Horror tropes such as cannibalism, psychosis, religious mania, and all forms of mental illness were used to create the demented drivers who ran the various vehicles of mass destruction. In the show, the characters are less crazed and more kooky…for now.

Twisted Metal is not so much an adaptation as it is an introduction for those who never played the game. The first season is a reworking of the game’s narration to fit a bigger picture. If the series continues, there’s a lot of promise that die-hard fans will be rewarded. Until then, fans will have to subsist on small Easter eggs and visual nods to the original series along with quippy dialogue, charming leads and lots of carsploitation splatter.

The Horror Of Dolores Roach (Amazon Prime)

Dolores Roach did not start off life as a bad person. But years spent behind bars for crimes she did not commit and one bad decision after another caused her to evolve from the queen bee of Washington Heights to a modern-day Sweeney Todd. Though The Horrors of Dolores Roach plays with the idea that the titular character (portrayed by the excellent Justina Machado) is a good person in bad circumstances, she is nonetheless a villain who makes the wrong decision at every turn.

Back in the days of Rudy Giuliani’s New York, Dolores was living with her pusher BF Dominic (Anthony Grant), and the duo ruled their neighborhood. But when she got pinched for his crimes, she did 16 years at a state correctional facility in a misguided romantic notion. When she was released, Dolores found herself all alone with no Dominic, no family, and her entire world gone as Washington Heights was now a gentrified wasteland filled with tech bros and couples pushing small dogs in tiny strollers. Her only ally was Luis (Alejandro Hernandez), a friend from the old days who runs the neighborhood empanada shop. He offers her a place to stay in an apartment under the shop, where he spends his time making pies for unappreciative hipsters.

Reinventing herself as a masseuse with the one skill she picked up in the joint, her rage at her situation gets the better of her and soon her bitterness starts to tally a death toll. To hide evidence of Dolores’ rage, Luis makes good use of the extra meat.

Based on the play and podcast Empanada Loca by series creator Aaron Mark, this dark comedy questions the concept of good and evil, placing a woman in the most horrific of circumstances, and forcing her to bend every moral code in the fiber of her being to survive, eventually morphing her into a miscreant of biblical proportions. But Horror never disparages Dolores. Instead, it denigrates the circumstances that created her: gentrification, the American prison system, rent destabilization, podcasters– all the ills of modern society that threaten urban communities.

The Horror of Dolors Roach turns a Victorian penny dreadful into a modern tale of horror. Machado’s turn as Roach elevates an absorbing and humorous cautionary tale about acting on impulse. It’s surprisingly gruesome and highly entertaining TV for horror hounds, true crime fiends, and folks with a sick sense of humor.




















































































































































































































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