A deep-dive reimagining of the classic 80s thriller, exploring timeless themes of marriage and infidelity through the lens of modern attitudes toward strong women, personality disorders and coercive control. -Synopsis
Are you a fan of the (iconic) movie Fatal Attraction (1987) starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, or perhaps the erotic thriller genre? If so, then you may want to check out this new Paramount+ streaming show (w/ a subscription on Amazon Prime). Three eps were released last SUN (April 30th); there will be a total of 8 eps (about 1 hr./ea.) For fans of the original, there are “Easter eggs” to be found, as co-writer Alexandra Cunningham noted. James Dearden (who wrote the original screenplay) is credited; long-time fans may recognize (discarded) ideas from his original script. Beth has a much larger role to play; she has a small business (so is not a housewife). Dearden originally wrote Beth as a schoolteacher who’d taken a few yrs off, BUT was planning to return to work. Producers didn’t like that idea, so that’s why movie Beth (Ann Archer) was an ideal “happy homemaker.”
15 years after Alex Forrest’s murder, Dan Gallagher is paroled and reaches out to his estranged daughter Ellen. In the past, a crushing career defeat drives him to first connect with Alex. -Synopsis of the pilot episode
Do you know the (alternate) ending to the ’80s movie which the producers rejected? That finale included Dan being convicted of murdering Alex! The ep opens w/ Dan’s hearing in front of the parole board; he has served his sentence of 15 yrs. It sounds like he has been a model prisoner during this time. His manner is humble and his speech is V serious/calm. Though he doesn’t notice her, the adult Ellen (a grad student in Psychology) is at the hearing.
The setting of the story has been moved from NYC to LA. In 2008, Dan (Joshua Jackson, 45 y.o.) is still a lawyer, BUT he’s a Deputy District Attorney (NOT in corporate law). As in the movie, he has a comfy home, loving wife (Beth), and young daughter (Ellen is aged up to 8 y.o.) He seems to be respected/liked by most of his colleagues at the Criminal Courts Building. Dan is turning 40 soon and up for a judgeship. Alex (Lizzy Caplan, 40 y.o.) isn’t a book editor here; she works in Victims Services (and is also a colleague of Dan’s). In the era of #MeToo, this adds another layer to the classic story of infidelity.
This show has 2 timelines: the present (2023) has a cool color palette, while the time period of the affair/its aftermath (2008) has a warmer look. In the past, Dan is often in the center of the frame (as one would typically present a main character). He wears suits, talks fast, and walks in an upright/confident manner. In the present, Dan is sometimes on the sidelines (as the story is NOT just his anymore). He has more gray hair, is dressed V casually, talks carefully (slowly) and has his head/shoulders lowered. There is more to see, so check out the show for yourself!
My first reaction was that I missed the (more glam) setting of Manhattan. Then, I wondered how much of the story would focus on law and order. Ellen’s focus is on Carl Jung; I wonder if this may play out in the show. Do you think the casting of the leads is fitting? I will keep on watching and post review of the full series when it has finished. If you’re active on Twitter, I’ve posted some related tweets. (See videos below.)