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When I first saw this pop up on Amazon Instant Video I was skeptical as
I had never watched an Amazon exclusive television series before. And I
was well aware of the popularity of rival-Netflix's exclusives and
found it hard to believe it would be a worthy competitor.
I stand corrected.
It took me a single day of blissful binge-watching to finish the entire first season and I must say I am impressed. The characters are strong and able to draw you in, the atmosphere and setting are captivating, and the music is simply top-notch. When all are tied neatly together it makes for a wondrously entertaining season.
And how could one forget: the comedy! Whilst of course it is entirely subjective, I found every episode to be wholesomely amusing. Every character is entertaining in their own right and not a single line seems unfit for purpose. The humour was exactly to my liking and did not fall into the trap so many comedies today do in which they attempt to be hilarious and unfortunately end up just being silly.
As expected, however, it is not perfect. One particular instance in which I found myself to eventually drift-off was the Rodrigo-Anna Maria sub-plot. I did not find this to be interesting, rather I thought it tiresome. Despite both characters being excellently written and the acting being spot-on, this didn't quite engross me like the rest of the show did.
In addition, a criticism I have (perhaps a minor one) pertains to the memorability of the characters. Specifically: their names! Maybe it was just me but halfway through the season I still only knew a couple of the characters' names. This could be in part to blame on my binge-watching manner, or, more worryingly, the writing. Regardless, I consider these to be minor blemishes upon the finished product.
Let us end on a high note: the music. The music is what makes this so fresh. If it weren't for the music, I do believe this would just be another average comedy. The music adds something more, a passion, as Rodrigo may say. It truly does draw you in and you really can feel the energy and enthusiasm. It's what makes this show stand out from the rest and what kept me enthralled, among other things.
I am absolutely delighted with the first season of Mozart in the Jungle and will be returning for season two.
I blew through this show in two days, and no just because of the quick,
witty writing and 30-minute episodes. Seriously, though, a show that
can be captivating and under an hour scores it at least 8/10 points.
You don't need to love classical music to enjoy this show (although it certainly doesn't hurt). There are many interesting themes of art and its patronage and the every-day people who have committed themselves to a purpose not often understood.
The acting is superb all around. I personally loved Lola Kirke, and thought she was a fresh take on an often boring trope as far as female leads go in comedy shows. While slightly naive, her character still possessed a great amount of self-awareness, perseverance, and depth to set her apart from so many other female characters. Gael Garcia Bernal was fantastic throughout. I have to disagree with others who thought him to be over the top. I felt that his character was very genuine, and a great contrast to his wife, who showed a slice of his previous self. The supporting cast are also fantastic, without a weak leak in the bunch. Even the "quirky roommate" (which is an exhausted character) is played with new layers and a refreshing depth by actress Hannah Dunne.
I will admit some of the writing comes across as clichéd. Some story arcs I could see coming from miles away, and a few I couldn't help but cringe slightly when they happened. But those few times were absolutely eclipsed by the incredible moments. Jason Schwartzman shines as a creator here. It definitely has his touch, and I look forward to seeing much more of his work. The dialogue was always quick, relatable, and always witty.
I really cannot say enough good things about this show. The one last thing I'll point out is that this show leaves you wanting more. Perhaps because of the intriguing characters and plot twists, the tantalizing dialogues, the incredible compositions, the chemistry between so many characters (platonic and non), and the on-point comedic commentary...or perhaps because each episode is a perfunctory 30 minutes and the season is 10 episodes long. Either way, so much gets accomplished, but so much is yet to be done.
GREATLY looking forward to season 2.
Like many of us, I had recently finished a series on Netflix/Prime a couple of days before and couldn't find another series to start. After losing hope, and about to re-watch an older series just to have something to watch, i stumbled across "Mozart in the Jungle" on Prime. Not the typical type of series i look for, but bored and out of options, I gave it a shot. After the first few minutes I was sold. A show i had never heard of, and had zero expectations of, surprised me. The episodes are only twenty some minutes so I ended up binge watching the entire season that night. I now want to grab the book the show is based off. And I am highly anticipating the next season.
This was a fantastically insightful show with brilliant performances
and witty writing. It was hilarious and showed a positive use of
classical music in modern social settings. The characters were very
realistic and showed both the camaraderie and competitive dualities
within close working musicians.
The show has so much potential to be something set apart from the vast majority of cookie-cutter shows that are on the air today. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy many of the new series that are popular today, but few of them engage me intellectually and comedically and that is a rare combination to blend well. I truly hope this show does not get dropped and continues on. I feel that once it is established and has enough episodes to dive into, it would gain a large following; not just classical musicians.
To be completely fair, there is a lot of sex/drugs in places there could be more art. However, it was the pilot and without giving spoilers sufficive to say the ending gave much opportunity in the future to discuss art on a deeper level while maintaining the reality of the type of NYC lifestyle they wanted to establish. Also, the sex/drugs were not done in a shove-down-the-throat way like many shows out today and were often accompanied by clever comedy.
It would be a tragedy if this show does not survive past this pilot. I rarely get hooked on the first episode, but I cannot say enough good things about this show.
Let me say first of all that I enjoy classical music, and I enjoy the
bohemian lifestyle associated with musicians and artists. This show is
fresh, sarcastic, real and completely lacks the common areas that of
sex and violence so over used on TV and movies. It is beautiful because
the acting, the music and the geniality of "Rodrigo", the Maestro who
is played by Gael Garcia Bernal.
It is with great pride to say that the witty sense of humor of the modern Mexican culture is captivated, without loosing the connection to its eccentric American counterpart.
There is an element of "Magic Realism" that will bring spice to the show, making it more unpredictable and appealing, specially who those who are so tired of super elaborated and complicated dramas.
Thanks Amazon for bringing this master piece to life.
I started watching Mozart in the Jungle with a little trepidation. I love Mozart's music, and was a bit worried that his name has been used in the title in vain. My expectations were very low, the kind a true classical musician has when listening to someone non-musician analyzing their performance. My thoughts were: oh , here we go, someone again is going to humiliate the classical music and it's followers, and mix it up with shallow observations and cheap talk. I expected pop, rap, rock, house, bebop, and even disco, glorifications and total dismissal of all classical. How luckily wrong I was!! These series are probably one of the best and closest presentations of classical musicians' struggles to make it, to get known, to survive, to bare their soul for food, to do anything and everything and to forgo any pain and any doubt for the privilege to play music, to agree to any music job so they can live, and to serve and worship at the alter of music without any commercialism. It is a true presentation of the big egos of those who have made it, and the incredible beauty of the great big musicians' art. It is a true presentation of the little minds and the little talents whose only care is the union rules. It is a true presentation of how anything and everything in life can become music, how one can hear music even in the noise of a tire crossing bridge rims. And it is a very enjoyable, very funny, very well observed and cry well acted piece of TV! Congratulations to all the thinkers behind the scenes, all the makers of the series, all who acted brilliantly, all who performed the music brilliantly, and produced and brought this marvellous, surprising, unique series's to the general public! Can't wait for series 2!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*** This review may contain spoilers *** I loved the first season. It
was funny, full of music and heart-warming. I started watching it
without high expectations, but really enjoyed it. I'd even go as far to
say I had loved it. After seeing the first season I couldn't wait to
watch the next one.
But What happened with the second season? I found nothing interesting there. It's no longer funny, no longer interesting. The focus no longer seems to be on music. Instead, the focus seems to be on nothing in particular. It's all so random, that it's hard to watch. Did the writers run out of ideas? Was it meant to be just a one season series? After watching the first season, I awarded it with for me a very unusually high score of 10. However, now I had to change it to a much lower result. Really disappointing. There's still hope for the third season. I'd be happy if it was about music again, and if there was also an actual plot.
What an enjoyable series! I'm looking forward to more. I happened to encounter an image for it as I was researching a project. Malcolm McDowell, Bernadette Peters, and the premise captured my attention. I'm so particular about what I watch that I often leave the TV off because of the degraded quality of programming on broadcast. Even cable has saturated itself with unscripted fare that clones other unscripted fare. Where's the creativity? Where's that something different? I found it on Amazon. The characters are important here, and I'm truly liking them because they are allowed to have shortcomings as much as they are allowed to soar with their strengths. They are not predictable; they are multidimensional.
This review is based on the first six episodes of the first season. I
like this series so much that it's hard to see it objectively. I like
it so much that I'm not bingeing but rather rationing myself to a
meagre 25 or so minutes each day. So, what makes it quite so enjoyable?
Firstly, it's genuinely good - a perfect cast delivering tonally
perfect performances with a script that delivers reality plus a few
extra percentage points. Occasionally, it's laugh out loud funny but
mostly it's genuinely affecting. This is no guilty pleasure in which
you know you're being manipulated but you're going along for the (very
fun) ride. This always feels real, grounded. There are a few
stereotypes amongst the smaller roles but the big ones, the roles that
anchor this series, are well written and perfectly cast. Lola Kirke is
a wonderful lightning rod, if gaining weight by the episode; Saffron
Burrows is fine, if somewhat less interesting than in her pre plastic
surgery roles; Bernadette Peters is terrific; Malcolm McDowell is the
perfect exiting Maestro. And then there's Gael Garcia Bernal. As an
outsider, I have no idea how much of his character was on the page and
how much was his own invention but the results are spectacular. He
makes this series. His portrayal of Rodrigo, the infant terrible of the
conducting world, is nothing short of brilliant and creates, most
appropriately, the bright star around which everything revolves. Mozart
in the Jungle is not highbrow entertainment. It doesn't challenge or
confront. It works its magic more subtly, and sometimes more
effectively. It's a feel good show in the best possible way. Real, not
fake. It likes its characters, for all their flaws. You could do worse.
ADDENDUM I've now watched the final four episodes, during which I mentally knocked off a point (episode 8) and put it back on for episode 10. Episode 8 is by far the weakest. It's not that it's bad, it's just that its sensibilities suddenly resembled humdrum American TV and thus became deeply unnerving. It's as though the writers had forgotten, or worse had never understood what made this series so wonderful. Episode 8 was an attempt to broaden the humor at the expense of the humanity. As though someone had pointed out that this was meant to be a comedy. For the record, episode 7 had been a delight and 9, if not special in its own right, at least an improvement on 8. And then there were, or rather was, 10. The finale. The performance towards which everything had led. It's a masterpiece. The perfect summation of and climax to everything that's come before. It's heartstoppingly brave, rolling the emotional dice again and again. It left me breathless, quite literally. Compromises? Not really but we must prepare for a second series and so are denied absolute closure. That final episode was so close to perfection that I hesitate to anticipate a second series. But of course I will. I do. With trepidation.
I was looking for something new to watch since my favorite shows are all on a break and I had heard this show won awards. I was skeptical because classical music sounded like a snooze. I was so wrong about that!!! This is such a wonderful fun show. I love the characters especially Rodrigo. The music is wonderful and the story keeps you hooked. I highly recommend this new show. Give it a try, you won't be sorry. I am a huge fan of the show Nashville. I love shows that incorporate music into the story.It really adds so much to the all around experience, but you don't have to be a fan of the music to like the show.I dislike shows that take too long to get going and drag along. This show gets going fast and gets you interested right away. The acting is superb! Love it!!!
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