Tv Recs: The Aesthetes (Part One)
Welcome, one and all, to the first installment of a running series of TV show recommendations. This week, we’re bringing you a bundle of shows with otherworldly aesthetics. Each one drenched in unique color palettes, amazing art design, and an altered sense of the world.
Trippy, neon-drenched, retro-futuristic design makes this show production come to life. They don’t shy away from making the future-tech look used or grimy, either, like if Blade Runner was obsessed with the ‘80s, and not just made then. And all that’s before even looking at the richly detailed worlds that Owen (Jonah Hill) and Annie (Emma Stone) hallucinate. If you don’t mind when your metaphors hang out right on the surface, this is for you.
We have no idea when or where Legion is set, but we’d like to visit as soon as possible (no crippling psychic powers, please, but we’d like to keep the dance sequences). Noah Hawley’s take on the X-Men seems to exist in a limbo between eras, drawing heavily from 70’s fashion and interior design, along with modern art. It’s designed like a more retro-obsessed It Follows. This one takes some real turns, but if you’re down to go along for the ride, you won’t regret it.
Where to start with Neo Yokio? Created by Ezra Koenig (yes, from Vampire Weekend) and starring Jaden Smith as a socialite playboy/demon hunter, you’re either in on the joke or you’re not. If you are, though, this show tickles an itch you barely knew existed. Drenched in deadpan irony, it’s a fascinating walk through a future world with robot butlers (Jude Law), demon-hunting dynasties (represented by Susan Sarandon’s Aunt Agatha), and cutthroat bachelors (hello, Jason Schwartzman) competing for the top ranking on a billboard in Times Square. And we haven’t even gotten to Desus and Mero’s characters yet! Just go watch the dang thing!
Over The Garden Wall
This Cartoon Network miniseries (we know, but stay with us) is practically a fairy tale, but of the scary, German variety. Brothers Wirt (Elijah Wood) and Greg (Collin Dean) wander through the dark, ethereal woods known only as the Unknown, hunted by a creature known only as the Beast. The all-star cast (Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry, and John Cleese all appear) wasn’t needed to carry the equally affecting and funny script, but they didn’t hurt, either. If you love the look of old (like, 19th century), autumn-tinged Americana, then this is the cartoon for you.
The Kirlian Frequency
This Argentinian horror/thriller show is a series of vignettes from the mysterious town of Kirlian. Where is Kirlian, you ask? If you knew the answer you would already be living there. Every episode, each only minutes long (it was a webseries before migrating to Netflix), is brought to you by the late night radio broadcast in the town (where the show’s name comes from) who’s host reports hints of classic horror monsters running the streets at night and the people who cross their paths. Also it’s animated. Silhouetted characters with bright-colored glowing eyes and creepy neon backdrops make you feel like a kid around a campfire listening to the sounds of the woods at night. This will be the best 45 minutes you’ll spend watching TV… so long as the mutated mosquitoes don't get you.