Summer 2015 Review: Aquarius

29 May


There isn’t a ton to say about Aquarius. It’s not particularly good, but it’s not really particularly bad either. It’s not even remarkably unmemorable, it’s just unmemorable enough. You’re probably not going to watch it, there’s no reason you should watch it, and you’ll probably forget about its existence within about five minutes of reading this if not sooner. I’ll get into the meat of the show for those would like to know what it’s about in a minute, but first I’ll quickly lay out the most (and by most I mean still not particularly) noteworthy facts about the show in a couple of sentences for those of you who wants to stop reading right there.

Aquarius takes place in the ‘60s, specifically in the late ‘60s when hippies and the summer of love and drugs and rock and roll music are a big deal, and it takes place in Southern California. David Duchovny stars as a cop. Famed multi-murderer Charlie Manson appears as the primary antagonist. The vast majority of spent on the Aquarius budget was clearly sent on music licensing, as “I Can See For Miles” by The Who, “Paint in Black” by The Rolling Stones, and “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane all play in the first episode. And, lastly, NBC put the show online all at once, like Netflix, while airing it week to week, the first time it, or as far as I know any other broadcast network, has done that.

Okay, those are pretty much the only potentially interesting facts about Aquarius. Here’s the rest. A teen girl, always a bit of a troublemaker, goes missing, and her parents ask Duchovny to help look for her. Because the father is an enterprising local politician, he asks Duchovny to keep the investigation off the record, and the police department, who could benefit from influence with this pol, goes along with it. Duchovny partners with a young cop who is too cool for school, constantly rubbing other people in the department the wrong way with his sideburns and long hair. Duchovny though believes he’s just the man to go undercover with the hippie types who may know what happened to the girl. Duchovny isn’t above bending a few rules along the way and ignoring due process, and eventually him and his partner find out that the girl went off on her own accord with Manson and his crew, which operate something between a commune and a cult.

They also figure out that Manson holds a grudge against the girl’s father due to early events and is using her as leverage to get back at him. That’s more or less all you get in the first episode. It’s not really such a bad show, there’s nothing embarrassing or laughable outside of the well overplayed cop-who-is-willing-to-break-the-rules trope. It’s just a nothing show. You will not be offended if you watch it, but considering it prominently features Charles Manson as a character it’s surprisingly forgettable.

Will I watch it again? No.  Why?

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