The biggest television surprise of last night's Golden Globes was Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle, which won Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy, and Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy, for its star Gael García Bernal. Everyone assumed, with good reason, that Transparent, Amazon's much-ballyhooed breakout hit, would sweep the comedy categories.
Mozart in the Jungle, meanwhile, has gone largely unnoticed. It premiered in 2014 and its second season debuted for streaming December 30, 2015 to little fanfare. Based on a 2005 memoir by oboist Blair Tindall, the show is about the behind-the-scenes antics of the fictional New York Symphony. (May we suggest that the spinoff be called Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark?) Here are a few reasons why you should binge-watch, like, tonight:
Even those of us who don't listen to Bach in our free time can appreciate the music in Mozart. The opening credits feature a short classical music rendition of French pop band Phoenix's "Lisztomania," which is played in full at the end of Season 1. While most of the music holds true to the kind of classical tunes an orchestra would regularly play, it will make you want to search for the originals to add to your playlist. (Unfortunately, there's no soundtrack for the show yet. We expect better from you, Amazon.)
GAEL GARCIA BERNAL
It's hard to take your eyes off of the Mexican actor who stars as Rodrigo de Souza, the orchestra's new bad-boy maestro. When the series starts, he seems wacky and self-involved, but as it goes on, García Bernal turns him into a sympathetic, sweet, funny and fascinating character.
The story is largely told from the point of view of 26-year-old oboist Hailey, played by Lola Kirke, sister of Girls star Jemima Kirke. Lola does a good job of portraying the role of naïve newcomer without being saccharine.
Executive producer Jason Schwartzman (who created the show with Roman Coppola and Tony-nominated Broadway director Alex Timbers) guest-stars as Bradford Sharpe, a self-serious music podcaster with a show called "B Sharpe." And keep an eye out for former The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, who plays a socialite interested in donating to the orchestra at the end of Season 1. He's basically playing his "Deranged Millionaire" character—and it's glorious.
Plus there's a slew of musicians who pop up to show off their talents, like violinist Joshua Bell here in the pilot.
If, like the rest of us, your TV-watching consists of Making a Murderer, Homeland, Narcos and Game of Thrones, Mozart will be a breath of fresh air. The episodes are a measly 30 minutes long, and manage to be interesting and textured without demanding too much critical thought. (Which leaves you more time to figure out if Steven Avery did it.)
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