Path offers Cult TV at its finest
Most of us bicker with our spouses about loading the dishwasher or failure to do so. But new US drama series The Path (now available on Lightbox) throws up a more original source of marital disharmony.
Eddie (Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame) has a beautiful wife and two lovely kids. The only downside is that the happy family is part of the Meyerist cult and Eddie is starting to have ‘‘doubts’’ about the whole cult thing. Give up the cult and effectively he gives up his family.
Meyerists grab vulnerable new recruits from tornado-ravaged towns, promise some sort of eternal joyous delight by ascending ‘‘the ladder’’ and their marital guidance involves 14 days of solitary confinement. Sure, it’s nuts. Cults generally are. But, don’t let that put you off, because this is a well-written story peopled with compelling characters.
The first episode is a bit of a slow starter, but it manages to get across an awful lot of background on the main players and set up a whole lot of different storylines – always showing, rather than telling. By the end of it, you really do want to know what’s going to happen next. Always a good indicator of a story well told.
And there’s a creeping ominous feel to the whole thing, reflected well in Cal (Hugh Dancy), the sort of second-incommand leader. Underneath all those smiles and understanding, he’s ruthless and power hungry – and not afraid to resort to physical violence. And he drives around listening to CDs on how to improve your ability to convince people of bulls... – use your eyes and don’t smile too much (in case you’re wondering).
This is a great bit of television, with plenty of conflict and tension and well-drawn characters with depth and layers. One episode in and I really want to know whether Eddie will break free from the cult, how will his wife react, what will evil Cal do and what’s going to happen to the exheroin addict new recruit. There are so many reasons to keep watching.
Not so with new series The Art of More (now available on Lightbox). Set in the world of mega-rich art collectors, it’s got plenty of pretty people clinking champagne glasses and bidding ludicrous amounts of money on trinkets.
Main character Graham Connor (Christian Cooke) is an ex-soldier who fought in Iraq and had a lucrative side-line stealing priceless antiquities.
Now he’s back in the US working for an auction house.
One of his old Iraqi art thief mates has just turned up and he’s jostling with the gorgeous Roxana (Kate Bosworth) for the business of billionaire real estate developer Steve Bruker (Dennis Quaid).
All of which sounds interesting enough, but manages to fall horribly flat because somewhere along the line someone forgot that convincing characters with some sort of inner-life are quite important.
Instead, it feels like you’re watching a story propelled along by one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs. And it’s hard to force yourself to carry on watching. So I didn’t.
One episode in and I really want to know whether Eddie will break free from the cult, how will his wife re-act, what will evil Cal do and what’s going to happen to the ex-heroin addict new recruit.
Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan have created compelling characters in the new US drama The Path.