Hooray For Hollywood – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Hooray For Hollywood Part 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Outlaws – | Review Score – 3/5
(Screen) Tests – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Jump – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Meg – | Review Score – 3/5
A Hollywood Ending – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Hollywood is one of those polarizing shows that’s going to split the TV watching fan-base between those who love and those who hate this mini-series. There’s no question that Ryan Murphy’s latest mini-series is a lavishly produced, gorgeous show that oozes charisma and charm right the way through the 7 episodes. There’s some wonderful moments of brilliance dotted throughout and for the most part, the aesthetic is backed up by a solid soundtrack that oozes those big band and Jazz vibes.
The issue therein lies with everything below the lavish facade of beauty. The idea of an alternate Hollywood where people were bold and took risks, allowing ethnic minorities and women to reach levels of superstardom and have an equal footing in Tinseltown is actually a fascinating concept. Early on the show does well to actually bring this world to life in a believable way but the longer the story goes on for, the more incredulous and unbelievable it becomes, hurting the overall quality of this show.
The story itself revolves around our main protagonist Jack. Fresh from the war and desperate to make a new life for himself and his pregnant girlfriend, Jack sets his sights on hollywood and becoming a big movie star. Of course, that mountain is far higher and steeper than he could have imagined and the early episode 1 disappointment sees him turn to gas station owner Ernie to help pay his way. When he learns Ernie offers more than gas, he finds himself internally conflicted about what to do.
From here, the plot introduces several other characters that bolster out the picture including homosexual writer Archie, rising star Camille who’s typecasted thanks to being black, and her partner Raymond who pitches a big idea to Ace Studios to bring a movie adaptation of Peg Entwistle to life. It’s here the story starts to deviate into meaningless subplots that are wrapped up almost as quickly as they arrive.
Alongside that are several big moments of plot convenience and incredulous character actions that climax in a big Hollywood celebration that should have a real feel-good aura to it but the journey there just feels so hollow and contrived that it’s hard not to feel disappointed. It doesn’t help that a lot of the drama that’s built up through the seven episodes dissipate almost as quickly as they arise. In a bid to push those big ideas and speeches around equality and racism (which are actually very good and pretty emotional at times), they fall flat in the wake of a story that never embraces its dramatic set pieces for very long.
It’s more frustrating than anything else that the writing takes the turns it does because there’s actually some solid ideas here. Unfortunately the end result is something that feels acceptable enough to enjoy at a surface level but also one that falls apart as soon as you look a little deeper and to start to examine the characters and plot.
Overall then Hollywood is a show that should be a huge hit and to be honest, it probably will be. There’s enough of a feel-good factor and lavish production and costume design to make this one of the prettier shows on Netflix right now. The soundtrack is excellent and the various different ideas are intriguing enough to entice you to check this out.
Unfortunately the writing is poor, with far too many plot contrivances and conveniences dotted throughout the 7 episodes making the “hard-fought” journey to superstardom feel hollow and undeserved. It’s the perfect example of a story that holds so much promise and falls apart where it matters most. Like a Love Island contestant giving an interview, Hollywood may be pretty to look at and enjoyable to experience, but everything else is empty and devoid of life.