Veteran screenwriter Leslie Bohem tackles the seedy underworld of Los Angeles psychics in this Hulu Original series. Shut Eye follows Charlie and Linda Haverford as they attempt to rise up from their underling position in the Romani world in which they inhabit. This drama is an interesting peek behind the curtain into a world often passed by, and until now overlooked. What goes on in these psychic parlors? Who really owns them? What mysteries lay behind the neon signs?
In the first episode Charlie experiences a serious head trauma that is causing him to have visions, or keen intuitions – we cannot say for certain. It adds a bit of mystery to a show that could be a sum of Breaking Bad’s Walter White motivation for grander things, the Sopranos crime-family life mixed in, and the gypsy fortune teller from Big. The show is a little inconsistent in tone, not certain what it really wants to be, and by no means anywhere close to the ace material that is Breaking Bad and Sopranos. It’s just that you can see where they are pulling their inspiration from.
Strong performances from Jeffrey Donovan as Charlie, and KaDee Strickland as his tough and ambitious co-conspirator/wife Linda. Australian actor Angus Sampson plays Fonso, the “leader” of the Romani family. He seems to be channeling an over-the-top Tony Soprano with a gruff Batman voice and comes across as a bit cartoonish in many scenes. His work (alongside Jeffrey Donovan) in Fargo Season 2 is worth noting, so his choices me makes in Shut Eye is given a little more grace. A strong actor making the most of a curious role. And if you did not think the cast could get any better it has David Zayas (Dexter), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage) and Isabella Rossallini as Rita Marks (the true head of the Romani empire.)
Shut Eye is a pinch of shows you know, a touch of a world you don’t, mixed in with a really great cast. If the cards are right for this Hulu series, we see good things for this show in its future.
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Script vs. Screen Grading:
Alex: Script B- / Screen B+ (I am enjoying it so maybe A-)
Jason: Script B- / Screen B
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