Hulu's fictional dive into the world of psychics and Gypsies in Los Angeles was fun to watch, but the plot arcs are, at times unnecessary, and add little to the overall story.
The overall plot of the series starts out pretty straightforward. An ex-magician-trick-builder (Charlie Haverford played by Jeffrey Donovan), is working as a psychic in Los Angeles. He also manages multiple psychic parlors, under the watchful eye of his Gypsie boss, Fonzo (Angus Sampson) and his mother Rita (Isabella Rosellini). His wife, Linda Haverford (KaDee Strickland ), is fed up with the situation and is disappointed that Charlie doesn't show more gumption.
However, things aren't that easy. The Gypsies are a powerful clan, they call themselves The Roma, and they have a tyrannous grasp over the fortune-telling world. The series stresses that pissing off The Roma is a huge mistake, as they will stop at nothing to pay back insubordination and what they perceive as theft. The family is powerful but old-school. Their traditions are everything to them, and ultimately a lot of the plotlines are determined by this blind following of tradition.
The second plot arc of the series involves Charlie only. After helping a client, an angry boyfriend beats him up and lands a kick square onto his head. After this, Charlie starts having precog visions of folks dying. His "gift" helps out desperate mobster Eduardo Bernal (David Zayas) and he helps Charlie as well as requests it during multiple points of the series. There is also the inclusion of Dr. Nora White (Susan Misner) during this time, and to be honest she doesn't really need to be in the story at all. She is supposed to help Charlie hone his gift, but all she does is give him Mushrooms and put him in a mud bath. Maybe she has a bigger part to play in the second season, but in this season she could have been left completely out and the plotline wouldn't have changed.
Mixed up in all of this is the Haverford's son, Nick; Charlie's sister, Sylvia; and a slew of secondary characters that don't contribute much to the story, but their plotlines somewhat help develop the series. The series did try to make the secondary characters a bit more important, but they go off on irrelevant tangents like Vegas trips and lesbian relationships. The storyline could have been a lot more simplified, and I feel that would have made it much more binge-worthy.
I was a big fan of the Fonzo character this series. He's torn between tradition and the love for his family, and his character development is superb. At the end of the series, I was genuinely caring for the mob-like boss. His ordeal is not one to be ignored in the series, and the acting by Angus Sampson really brought the character to life. Rita's character is also expertly developed, and Isabella Rossellini does an incredible job of portraying the ruthless matriarch.
The rest of the cast is good, but not great. Linda Haverford's character was shallow and frankly boring. She adds nothing to the story and just serves as another plotline advancement. Charlie's character also needed more depth to him, they could have left out the wife and maybe focused more on how Charlie got into fortune telling in the first place. Rather than going off on plot arcs that ultimately didn't lead anywhere.
The show in its entirety is not binge-worthy, and it does take some time before the story reaches its high point. The last four episodes, however, are a lot of fun to binge-watch and they offer a satisfying end to the series first season. However, it really tries to fit too many storylines and develop too many characters into a ten episode series, and I felt there was more they could have done with Charlie's gift as well as develop the Gypsie (Fonzo, Rita) and Charlie characters better.
- Jorge "DrKasper" Gaspar
- January 10, 2017
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