💬 Seven Seconds » review & opinion

Seven Seconds review and opinion

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Seven Seconds (2018)

review & opinion

season 1

Seven Seconds is a Netflix Original series, produced by East 2 West Entertainment.  There are 10 episodes over 1 season.  Each episode is around 60 minutes in length. Netflix has said there will not be another season.

 

The spoken language is English, and Netflix offers dubbing and/or subtitles in several other languages. There may be more language options available in your area.

 

Seven Seconds is rated TV-MA.  This series contains coarse language, violence and scenes and situations that are intented for a mature audience.

 

Seven Seconds, in short, could have easily been a reality show. It's not your ordinary ho-hum police procedural. It is a good, if not great, binge watching experience that will leave you with so many mixed emotions. The series focuses on race relations between a mostly black community and its mostly white police officers, specifically a corrupt unit within the department.

Clare-Hope Ashitey, Russell Hornsby & Regina King in season 1, episode 5 of Seven Seconds.

Clare-Hope Ashitey, Russell Hornsby & Regina King in season 1, episode 5 of Seven Seconds. (Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix)

What gets you in trouble isn’t the mistake, what gets you in trouble instead is pretending the mistake didn’t happen.

The binge worthy Seven Seconds centers on a Jersey City PD narcotics team, and their possible cover-up of the hit and run of a black teenage boy.  The team is headed by Sgt. Mike DiAngelo (a chilling & believable David Lyons), resilient and respected among his team, and officers within the department.  Mike, who has no children of his own, takes young, and mostly naïve, officers under his wing and shows them the ropes with some tough-love and conditioning.  Think Denzel Washington’s character in Training Day and you’ll get a good idea of Mike DiAngelo’s personality.

DiAngelo’s newest recruit is the young, soon-to-be-a-daddy, Pete Jablonski (Beau Knapp), a cop transferred in from a “better part of the city”, at DiAngelo’s behest.  The two share a loose familial bond; but that’s enough for DiAngelo to vouch for Pete and to know that he can trust him to fall-in-line when needed.  Narc veterans “Manny” Gary Wilcox (Patrick Murney) and Felix Osorio (Raúl Castillo) round-out the four-man Special Investigations and Gang Unit of the JCPD. This team will do virtually anything for their leader…no, scratch that, will do anything at all for DiAngelo.  He is a god in their eyes.

David Lyons & Beau Knapp in season 1, episode 4 of Seven Seconds.

David Lyons & Beau Knapp in season 1, episode 4 of Seven Seconds. (Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix)

DiAngelo follows the blood trail to a ditch where he finds Brenton’s broken body, and a serious pool of blood.  What does he do?  What any selfish cop would do.

It’s the early-morning hours after Valentines Day, and Pete is rushing to the hospital to meet his pregnant wife.   The roads are slick, the snow is falling.  Pete is distracted on the phone.  Without a visible cue to the audience, Pete slams on the breaks and wipes out.  He’s fine, but what’s under the car is not.  Thankfully, we’re spared from the gory view.  All we see is a bicycle tire spinning, and a homemade paper seagull attached to the frame...the significance of which becomes quite compelling when we do learn the nature of the two.

The driver of the bicycle is a young, black teenager named Brenton Butler; a suspected “banger” from Jersey City’s most feared gang.  DiAngelo, with the rest of his team in the backseat of his seized-from-a-drug-dealer sports car, arrive on scene to find Pete still behind the wheel of his slightly damaged SUV, and a blood trail leading to a ditch.  It’s one’s moral duty to render aid to someone who is injured.  This thought would cross anyone’s mind when seeing someone critically hurt, but a cop….well, they’re obligated to help.

DiAngelo follows the blood trail to a ditch where he finds Brenton’s broken body, and a serious pool of blood.  What does he do?  What any selfish cop would do.  Fearing an incredible backlash from the (mostly black) community over the recklessness of a white cop’s actions against a black kid, DiAngelo orders Pete to leave the scene, and instructs the rest of the team to clean up the evidence.  Forget about the kid in the ditch, “He’s nothing.”

Clare-Hope Ashitey & Michael Mosley in season 1, episode 10 of Seven Seconds.

Clare-Hope Ashitey & Michael Mosley in season 1, episode 10 of Seven Seconds. (Source: JoJo Whilden/Netflix)

The boy’s parents, devoted and pious Latrice and Isiah Butler (Regina King and Russell Hornsby) also become victims - right from the get go.  Victims of an anachronistic system where the black population are at a disadvantage starting from birth.  Does anyone care about their rights?  Does anyone care about Brenton?  As the story plays out over the full 10-episodes, we discover the answers to those questions and get an intimate look at why “Cops don’t go to jail”, especially if the victim is black.

It’s one’s moral duty to render aid to someone who is injured...a cop is obligated.

The series has many twists and turns, most will be of the “blind-sided” type.  This isn’t your typical, “I know what’s coming next” kind of plot, even though the story may seem similar to you.  For whatever reason, we have this insatiable appetite for police procedural TV, going back at least 60-years with 77 Sunset Strip (1958 – 1964).  Hawaii Five-0, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, Law and Order, LA Law, CSI, to name a few more.  Certainly, there are a lot of shows on TV that “play the race card” and attack police for their bias.  I admit I was a little skeptical of Seven Seconds at first because of that.  Like those silly “coming of age” movies I’m so sick of watching, has this topic not been done enough?  Are we not yet bored by dramatizations of white vs. black, race on race, BS shows?  Why do we need to see another?

According to Rotten Tomatoes, of the last two-decades, ¼ of the top-40 shows on television are police-procedural.  I’ve seen them all (shows like NYPD Blue, Law and Order, Homeland, The Wire) and there isn’t a single show within the group of 10 that, at some point, didn’t deal with race-relations and police bias.  Most were fictional, some based on true events.  The sad truth is, without real life stories, the writers would have nothing to write about, and we’d have a lot less TV to watch.

Clare-Hope Ashitey & Gretchen Mol in season 1, episode 8 of Seven Seconds.

Clare-Hope Ashitey & Gretchen Mol in season 1, episode 8 of Seven Seconds. (Source: Netflix)

There is an element of truth to Seven Seconds.  The series seems plausible, especially to those (black or white) who have had some dealings with the law.  Mentions of the Ferguson, Missouri shooting come up, as do other similar real-life occurrences that have happened.  We are reminded, again, of how archaic some things, some people are.

This series is powerful, and moving, make no mistake. The characters are deep and complex.  They have flaws and secrets.  They are like you, me, and our neighbor.  The production value is what you would expect from Netflix; no expense is spared to make everything as realistic as possible.

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crises.

A favorite quote of mine is by Dante.  It goes, “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”  That moral crisis is race relations within our own community, specifically with police.  This has always been an issue during my lifetime (I’m middle-aged), as it was during my parents’ and my grandparents’.  Whether the place you call home is Jersey City, like this series, or Ferguson, or where I’m from, we have all seen parts of Seven Seconds play-out in real life.  I know I have, in more ways than one.  That’s what makes this series hurt so much. - Nick Runyeard

series & technical details

 CURRENT STATUS:

streaming on Netflix

 GENRES:

crime / drama

 CONTENT RATING:

TV-MA

 SEASONS:

1

 EPISODES:

10

 RUNNING TIME:

approx. 50 to 80 mins /episode

 🍿 TOTAL BINGE TIME:

614 binge minutes

 ASPECT RATIO:

2.00 : 1

 SOUND MIX:

Dolby Digital (5.1)

 ORIGINAL LANGUAGE:

English (various subtitle languages also available)

 CAMERA:

Red Dragon

 PROCESS:

Dolby Vision / HDR10

business details

 PRODUCTION:

East 2 West Entertainment / Fox 21 / Netflix

 DISTRIBUTION:

Netflix

 RELEASE DATES:

23 Feb. 2018

 PRODUCTION BUDGET:

--

worth noting

 AWARDS:

- 🏆 WON, Primetime Emmy
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (2018)
Regina King
For playing "Latrice Butler".
- Another 4 wins & 4 nominations

Seven Seconds Logo

Seven Seconds stars Clare-Hope Ashitey; Michael Mosley; David Lyons; Beau Knapp; Regina King; Russell Hornsby; Raúl Castillo; Patrick Murney; Zackary Momoh; Michelle Veintimilla; Nadia Alexander; Jeremy Davidson; Coley Speaks; Adriana DeMeo; Corey Champagne, and more!

💬 Everything Sucks! » review & opinion

Everything Sucks! review and opinion

Netflix Logo

Everything Sucks! (2018)

review & opinion

season 1

Everything Sucks! is a Netflix Original series, produced by Midnight Radio.  There are 10 episodes over 1 season.  Each episode is around 20 minutes in length.

 

The spoken language is English, and Netflix offers dubbing and/or subtitles in several other languages. There may be more language options available in your area.

 

Everything Sucks! is rated TV-14.  This series contains coarse language and situations not intended for young children.

 

Everything Sucks!, in short, is a teen-focused comedy/drama that follows a group of friends as they navigate high-school life in the 90's.

Peyton Kennedy in season 1, episode 9 of Everything Sucks!

Peyton Kennedy in season 1, episode 9 of Everything Sucks! (Source: Netflix)

Maybe there’s a future where I don’t have to be a freak. – Peyton Kennedy as Kate Messner

Netflix releases their original series, (usually) all episodes, at midnight pacific time. When I binge on a new series I’m up exactly when it premieres. I live on the east coast so for me, ‘up’ means awake at 03:00. I don’t have the luxury of being apart of the secret society known as the ‘Netflix Media Center’. Neither do I know their classified handshake, nor possess the diamond-encrusted-Netflix-logo-pinky-finger ring each member is issued (folklore has it that Netflix founder Reed Hastings personally casts each ring in the basement of his medieval castle). So, I’m not privy to advanced streamed screenings of Netflix shows. Ironically, Netflix premieres for me are by ‘appointment TV’. Thus, my appointment is set for 3 a.m.

I’m less of a critic and more of a fan who likes to write, so I don’t mind paying for my streaming services. And, let’s face it, my writing skills are as questionable as my DP skills were when I was making TV magic many years ago (just ask any of the warm props I worked with). But I digress.

It’s now 3:00 am. It’s quiet, the kids are asleep, the wife’s somewhere else. Everything Sucks! has started. Beside me is my morning mocha (an addiction I’m not fond of). On my lap sits my HP-Mini (yes, laugh it up) where I am writing this. A few feet yonder is my work laptop, sitting on a spindly table that was bought for $1.00 at a yard sale in 1995 (how fitting!), streaming the show.

Peyton Kennedy & Sydney Sweeney in season 1, episode 5 of Everything Sucks!

Peyton Kennedy & Sydney Sweeney in season 1, episode 5 of Everything Sucks! (Source: Netflix)

So, in short, this is not a rip-off of Stranger Things (thankfully). Whatever comparisons were/have been made are just asinine. Everything Sucks! is about a group of high school kids attending Boring High School in 1996. Boring is an actual city in Oregon (twinned with ‘Dull, Scotland’, and not too far away from ‘Happy Valley’…seriously, you can’t make this stuff up), with a population hovering close to 7500. I wanted to know the town’s reaction to the series, but my email to Netlfix’s PR rep for the show went without a response. Contacting the Boring CPO (Community Planning Organization) didn’t get me anywhere either. I guess that’s the difference between being a credible journalist and a hack like me.

Anyway, the series mainly focuses on Kate and Luke. Kate (Peyton Kennedy, impressive), a sophomore, thinks she’s a lesbian and is seriously crushing on a girl in her class. She struggles to fit in with pretty much everyone but not because of her (rumored) homosexuality. She’s nicknamed ‘Plutonium’ (as in stay-away-from) because her father, Ken (Patch Darragh), is the principal. Luke (the awesome Jahi Di’Allo Winston) is a freshman and has a serious crush on Kate. He earnestly strives to gain her interest and love, even knowing that the gossip about her sexual preference may be true. ‘A’ for effort, Luke.

They are both in the school’s AV club, along with a few other dweebs: McQuaid (Rio Mangini), wicked smart way beyond his years, sporting nerdy 90s clothes and a 90s-cool slicked-back coiffure. Tyler (Quinn Liebling), the squeaky-voiced comic relief of the group, lives with an alcoholic step father and struggles to read at a 5th grade level; and Leslie (Abi Brittle), is super religious and secretly crushing on Tyler, who can’t take the hint. Overseeing the group is the mellow Mr. Stargrove (series co-creator Ben York Jones – who was born to play this role by the look of it). Clearly, he’s the coolest, most unboring Boring High teacher.

Rio Mangini, Jahi Di'Allo Winston & Peyton Kennedy in season 1, episode 8 of Everything Sucks!

Rio Mangini, Jahi Di'Allo Winston & Peyton Kennedy in season 1, episode 8 of Everything Sucks! (Source: Netflix)

There’s a lot of 90s nostalgia, and a soundtrack that brings back fond memories. Oasis, Tori Amos, Spin Doctors, Space Hog.

The AV club is battling with the overly-dramatic Drama Club. Scott Pocket (Connor Muhl) anchors the school-televised morning announcements along with Jessica Betts (Nicole McCullough); both are a-typical divas. The real pains-in-the-butt, however, are wannabe actors, and part-time couple, prima donna biatch Emaline (Sydney Sweeney – who you will grow to love as this series plays out) and primo uomo douchebag Oliver (a cunning Elijah Stevenson), who clearly missed his calling as a professional douchebag.

Everything Sucks! starts out kind of boring (lol!), but once the jitters work themselves out, and after we finally meet the entire awkward cast towards the end of the first episode, it becomes quite enjoyable. The series is more of a drama than a comedy; I’d say maybe a 60-40 split. I grew to like and care about the characters, even the douchebag. Peyton Kennedy (as Kate) plays her role with dignity and respect and one can hope that her performance inspires real-life LGBTQ youth to be comfortable in their skin. She delivers a powerful message with confidence. The entire cast delivers in style, and if you have a history like any of the characters they portray, you will get emotional. I did.

There’s a lot of 90s nostalgia, and a soundtrack that brings back fond memories. Oasis, Tori Amos, Spin Doctors, Space Hog. Each episode runs about 23 minutes, on average. It’s the perfect length. I was able to sit through the entire series without getting bored – which bodes well for Netflix because I am a part of the intended demographic (just barely, I graduated high school in 91). Ugh, I feel old.

 

The comedy is mainly smart, thankfully very little slapstick and sight gags. At times I groaned at the jokes, but only because I remember laughing at them when I was a kid. Ugh, I was lame.

Sydney Sweeney & Peyton Kennedy in season 1, episode 10 of Everything Sucks!

Sydney Sweeney & Peyton Kennedy in season 1, episode 10 of Everything Sucks! (Source: Netflix)

Toronto native Peyton Kennedy gives a comfortable performance in uncomfortable situations.

The shooting style is like that of Arrested Development – handheld, but not to the point of being nauseating. Tripod cam would just feel out of sync for this show.

There are so many unanswered questions and the final scene in the season finale leaves the door wide open for another 10 episodes. I miss the show already.

series & technical details

 CURRENT STATUS:

streaming on Netflix

 GENRES:

drama / comedy / romance

 CONTENT RATING:

TV-14

 SEASONS:

1

 EPISODES:

10

 RUNNING TIME:

approx. 20 to 27 mins /episode

 🍿 TOTAL BINGE TIME:

243 binge minutes

 ASPECT RATIO:

1.78 : 1 / 16:9 HD

 SOUND MIX:

Stereo / Dolby Digital

 ORIGINAL LANGUAGE:

English (various subtitle languages also available)

 CAMERA:

Red Weapon 6K

 PROCESS:

Dolby Vision / HDR10

business details

 PRODUCTION:

Midnight Radio

 DISTRIBUTION:

Netflix

 RELEASE DATES:

16 Feb. 2018

 PRODUCTION BUDGET:

$1.5M /episode

worth noting

 FYI:

🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQ friendly

Everything Sucks Logo

Everything Sucks! stars Jahi Di’Allo Winston; Peyton Kennedy; Patch Darragh; Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako; Quinn Liebling; Elijah Stevenson; Rio Mangini; Sydney Sweeney; Abi Brittle; Nicole McCullough; Zachary Ray Sherman; Connor Muhl; Jalon Howard; Ben York Jones; Katie O’Grady, and more!

📸 Seven Seconds » season 1 production stills

Seven Seconds Production Stills

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Seven Seconds (2018)

 production stills

season 1

Seven Seconds tackles the controversial issues of race relations between law enforcement, the people they serve, and the personal stories of those involved. At its core, the series goes beyond the headlines, examining the impact a tragic accident has on a community and a family’s need for answers and justice.

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Seven Seconds Logo

Seven Seconds stars Clare-Hope Ashitey; Michael Mosley; David Lyons; Beau Knapp; Regina King; Russell Hornsby; Raúl Castillo; Patrick Murney; Zackary Momoh; Michelle Veintimilla; Nadia Alexander; Jeremy Davidson; Coley Speaks; Adriana DeMeo; Corey Champagne, and more!

📸 Seven Seconds » screen captures episode 1.10: “a boy and a bike”

Seven Seconds screen captures ep10

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Seven Seconds (2018)

 screen captures

season 1 - episode 10
"A Boy and a Bike"

As the trial edges toward its conclusion, KJ and Fish search for a way to hold the defense accountable and Brenton's parents prepare for what's next.

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Seven Seconds Logo

Seven Seconds stars Clare-Hope Ashitey; Michael Mosley; David Lyons; Beau Knapp; Regina King; Russell Hornsby; Raúl Castillo; Patrick Murney; Zackary Momoh; Michelle Veintimilla; Nadia Alexander; Jeremy Davidson; Coley Speaks; Adriana DeMeo; Corey Champagne, and more!

📸 Seven Seconds » screen captures episode 1.09: “witnesses for the prosecution”

Seven Seconds screen captures ep9

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Seven Seconds (2018)

 screen captures

season 1 - episode 9
"Witnesses for the Prosecution"

As the defense puts Brenton's character on trial, KJ gives a powerful opening statement and Isaiah delivers unexpected testimony.

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Seven Seconds Logo

Seven Seconds stars Clare-Hope Ashitey; Michael Mosley; David Lyons; Beau Knapp; Regina King; Russell Hornsby; Raúl Castillo; Patrick Murney; Zackary Momoh; Michelle Veintimilla; Nadia Alexander; Jeremy Davidson; Coley Speaks; Adriana DeMeo; Corey Champagne, and more!

📸 Seven Seconds » screen captures episode 1.08: “bailed out”

Seven Seconds screen captures ep8

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Seven Seconds (2018)

 screen captures

season 1 - episode 8
"Bailed Out"

KJ meets her match in court. Latrice tries to address her grief. Isaiah struggles to accept new information about Brenton.

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Seven Seconds Logo

Seven Seconds stars Clare-Hope Ashitey; Michael Mosley; David Lyons; Beau Knapp; Regina King; Russell Hornsby; Raúl Castillo; Patrick Murney; Zackary Momoh; Michelle Veintimilla; Nadia Alexander; Jeremy Davidson; Coley Speaks; Adriana DeMeo; Corey Champagne, and more!

📸 Seven Seconds » screen captures episode 1.07: “boxed devil”

Seven Seconds screen captures ep7

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Seven Seconds (2018)

 screen captures

season 1 - episode 7
"Boxed Devil"

As community outrage over Brenton's death grows, Latrice's grief takes a dark turn. Meanwhile, KJ makes a painful confession.

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Seven Seconds stars Clare-Hope Ashitey; Michael Mosley; David Lyons; Beau Knapp; Regina King; Russell Hornsby; Raúl Castillo; Patrick Murney; Zackary Momoh; Michelle Veintimilla; Nadia Alexander; Jeremy Davidson; Coley Speaks; Adriana DeMeo; Corey Champagne, and more!

📸 Seven Seconds » screen captures episode 1.06: “until it do”

Seven Seconds screen captures ep8

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Seven Seconds (2018)

 screen captures

season 1 - episode 6
"Until It Do"

DiAngelo offers an olive branch, but it may be too late. KJ and Fish clash with stonewallers. Pete's grocery store trip doesn't go as planned.

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Seven Seconds Logo

Seven Seconds stars Clare-Hope Ashitey; Michael Mosley; David Lyons; Beau Knapp; Regina King; Russell Hornsby; Raúl Castillo; Patrick Murney; Zackary Momoh; Michelle Veintimilla; Nadia Alexander; Jeremy Davidson; Coley Speaks; Adriana DeMeo; Corey Champagne, and more!

📸 Seven Seconds » episode 1.05: “of gods and men”

Seven Seconds screen captures ep5

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Seven Seconds (2018)

 screen captures

season 1 - episode 5
"Of Gods and Men"

As cops come under suspicion, Marie receives a surprise visitor, Isaiah worries about Latrice's stability, and Seth asks an old friend for help.

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Seven Seconds stars Clare-Hope Ashitey; Michael Mosley; David Lyons; Beau Knapp; Regina King; Russell Hornsby; Raúl Castillo; Patrick Murney; Zackary Momoh; Michelle Veintimilla; Nadia Alexander; Jeremy Davidson; Coley Speaks; Adriana DeMeo; Corey Champagne, and more!

📸 Seven Seconds » screen captures episode 1.04: “that what follows”

Seven Seconds screen captures ep4

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Seven Seconds (2018)

 screen captures

season 1 - episode 4
"That What Follows"

Latrice attempts to conjure a memory. KJ visits her father. Fish plays hardball with a witness. Pete contemplates the cost of his morals.

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Seven Seconds Logo

Seven Seconds stars Clare-Hope Ashitey; Michael Mosley; David Lyons; Beau Knapp; Regina King; Russell Hornsby; Raúl Castillo; Patrick Murney; Zackary Momoh; Michelle Veintimilla; Nadia Alexander; Jeremy Davidson; Coley Speaks; Adriana DeMeo; Corey Champagne, and more!