This week we binge-watched two fire-hot Netflix series so you don’t have to — Mindhunter (season 2) and GLOW (season 3) — but you will want to, right away. These two are worth losing sleep for.
Mindhunter (Season 2)
The second season of Mindhunter dropped like an atom bomb on Netflix, giving true crime fanatics and history buffs the brain boost they need for a late summer binge. While season 1 was mostly about the creation of the Behavioral Science Unit, taking baby steps toward criminal profiling, and chatting with some of history’s most infamous figures, season 2 goes balls to the walls with a rogue’s gallery of violent headcases.
Created by Joe Penhall and exec-produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron (among others), the drama explores the early days of criminal profiling at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and since it’s set in the late ’70s, the show takes place before the term “serial killer” was even a label, when most of law enforcement saw violent crime in black or white terms.
Mindhunter shows how they start to flounder as a new age of extreme violence goes against the grain. It seems the pool of usual suspects is endless as jealous exes and greedy spouses are replaced by talking dogs and charismatic cult leaders with a love for the Fab Four. It is with this strange brew of brutal new killers that Mindhunter finds its ground, following the small band of scientists and FBI agents who started the behavioral investigative unit within the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Chilling, intriguing and beyond compelling, the genius of Mindhunter is that it relies on the knowledge of the viewer. The audience knows about Charles Manson, but how much do they really know? As the story unfolds for the characters, it also allows the audience to discover potentially new information regarding infamous historical figures, giving them a sneak peak behind the darkness.
Season 1 offered up Richard Speck and Ed “Co-Ed Killer” Kemper, but season 2 plays its hand with the introduction of Manson, David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz, William Henry Hance, William “Junior” Pierce, and Wayne Williams. And while FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) gather the info they need, the BTK Killer continues to practice his sinister craft, destroying all that he comes into contact with.
Brilliantly written, directed and cast (seriously, the casting director here kills it), each imposing figure has a role to play within the narrative. The menacing minds aren’t just marched out to audiences as serial killers on parade; each violent offender spends quality time on the hot seat as the show adds layer upon layer to the elements of the story, all essential to both the plot and our understanding of the main characters.
Mindhunter season 2 is the Avengers: Endgame of the serial killing sect, shining a light on history’s most sinister figures for all to examine. This one lives up to the hype and is worth the (brutal) binge.
GLOW (Season 3)
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling return for a third round of the Netflix series, this time moving the troupe from the City of Angels to Sin City as they find a new home at the fictional Fan-Tan Hotel & Casino. This season they are joined by the remarkable Geena Davis who plays showgirl-turned-manager Sandy Devereaux St. Clair, and damn, Geena! I pray to the gods that my body will look like that one day. Not “in a few years” or “eventually,” but like, right now or soon.
For season 3, the cast of GLOW continues their winning streak exploring issues of sexism, racism, hate crimes and sexual identity. And while Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron continue to act as the series’ emotional center, the rest of the cast are given ample opportunity to show off their acting chops with meaty side stories to dig into. All in all, GLOW continues to shine (in gaudy ’80s garb!). And we need these ladies too now that Netflix’s other female-ensemble cast fave, Orange Is the New Black, is no longer doing time on our TV sets.