Characters who are good at being bad … that’s Animal Kingdom in a nutshell.
On May 29, Season 3 of TNT’s
I never missed an episode of the first two seasons, based on the 2010 Australian film of the same title.
For the uninitiated, here’s TNT’s blurb for :
Animal Kingdom is an adrenaline-charged drama starring Ellen Barkin as the matriarch of a Southern California family whose excessive lifestyle is fueled by their criminal activities, with Scott Speedman as her second in command. Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, Jake Weary and Finn Cole also star.
Ellen Barkin is all bottle-blonde magnificence as the controlling and manipulative mom, hell bent on getting her way. She always does. Her sons and grandson are your classic sexy-as-all-get-out bad boys. And they don’t mind shedding their clothes on-camera. Often.
Folks, this ain’t Hallmark fare. one is nice. It’s even hard to root for the detectives who are trying to bring the family down—they may be on the right side of the law, but just barely. But characters don’t have to be likeable, just compelling.
Writers can benefit from watching with its nuanced and layered portrayal of a dysfunctional family. The tone can be ratcheted down, or up, to suit a readership. Glimpses of humanity will surface briefly, only to be quelled. The dark tale contrasts with a sunny Southern California setting, creating a virtual underworld that emphasizes the unsavoriness of the plot and those characters who are good at being bad as they walk on the wild side.
A word on the violence: Season 1 of started out with a creepy, menacing tone and only a suggestion of violence. By season end, I watched someone get beaten to a bloody pulp, punch by punch, kick by kick. I hesitated to watch Season 2.
But I’ve long been intrigued by scary moms who manipulate their children, especially their sons, and get them to do their evil bidding. It’s a theme that shows up in my writing. illustrates this family dynamic to perfection.
And so I watched Season 2. Frankly, I don’t recall much violence. It certainly didn’t approach the level of Season 1.
Circling back to my original question: On May 29, wSeason 3 premiere of
I wouldn’t miss it.
|Cast of Animal Kingdom. Picture courtesy of TNT|
More on Animal Kingdom from TNT.
More on Animal Kingdom from Rolling Stone.
For writers who prefer milder TV fare as writing inspiration, here’s my post from January of this year.