Monday, November 27, 2017

Pilot Review: She’s Gotta Have It

She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix)
Premiered November 23

Here we have Spike Lee’s first television series, and boy does it feel like a Spike Lee Joint. I took a course in college called Comparative Directors: Scorsese, Allen, and Lee, analyzing how the three look at New York City and other subjects in their films. Scorsese made his made on “Boardwalk Empire” and Woody Allen had an Amazon show, “Crisis in Six Scenes,” last year, and so it’s about time that Lee made his way to the small screen. This is a remake of Lee’s first feature film, and, though I haven’t seen that movie, I do recognize a lot of Lee’s imprint on this pilot. The montage of verbal sexual assaults hurled at Nola felt familiar though not as impactful, and this was a visually aggressive hour with flashes of many things designed to stimulate reactions. Lee’s ego is on full display as he has his cinephile protagonist bemoan an Oscar snub for Denzel in a movie made by Lee himself, and I’d cite a few contradictory statistics, like the fact that Denzel won an Oscar prior to “Malcolm X” and that his make-up win in 2001 for “Training Day” had more to do with Russell Crowe trashing his own chances due to his violent behavior. Nola is undeniably an intriguing protagonist, and actress DeWanda Wise commands this episode. While I loved “Do the Right Thing” and “25th Hour,” Lee in this form, using gentrified characters to decry gentrification, is not something that I’ve got to have.

How will it work as a series? The flurry of hashtags and rapid-fire editing show that this series is trying to keep up with the times and provide an insightful look at what life is like today for these characters. It’s definitely going to be watchable, but these characters are a lot to take too.
How long will it last? Reviews seem to be pretty good, and Lee definitely has his fans. As Netflix seeks to expand its repertoire of series, this feels like a perfect addition that shows its diversity and gives Lee a chance to revisit some of his original themes in a modern-day format. I’d expect a season two renewal shortly.

Pilot grade: B-

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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