Night Sky review – Sissy Spacek and JK Simmons need their own eight hour show | Television

AMazon’s new series, Night Sky, is actually three shows in one. It’s a love story about a devoted, aging couple as they enter their final years together. It is an intergalactic sci-fi mystery with portals to other planets. And it’s an intercontinental thriller involving various secret societies with conflicting interests over: aforementioned portals.

The first of these works very well. So good, in fact, that when the action moves away from the couple, it’s hard not to blame it. Much of this has to do with the pair, retired schoolteacher Irene York and her carpenter Franklin, being played by Sissy Spacek and JK Simmons. Exceptionally great, in this they are something special together. You can feel the whole half-century of the Yorks together from the moment they enter a scene. The actors understate it all, evoking their lasting love, and the worries begin to nibble at the edges as the trials and humiliations of old age begin to mount. The script deftly captures the shorthand of old partners without falling into sentimentality, and in broader terms the intimacy of small-town American life—with all the pros and cons that come with it, especially if you’ve never left.

The Yorks still live in the family home where we see them move in – in flashback – and start making their own home sometime in the late 1970s. As Irene’s mobility declines after a serious fall and Franklin begins to suffer amnesia, they come under increasing pressure to sell the house and perhaps even move into the local assisted living facility. “We always have new spaces opening up!” one of the employees tells Irene cheerfully.

It seems at first that they don’t want to leave because they have been keeping a secret. In their shed is the entrance to a tunnel that takes them to a lookout overlooking an unknown, desolately beautiful planet. They visited it 856 times, according to Franklin, but never dared to open the door through which they could go out.

But we also learn that it is the house where they raised their son Michael and perhaps even where they lost him by suicide twenty years earlier. The portal and the peace they find there takes on new meaning as a refuge from grief. As Irene takes stock of the couple’s life together — and becomes increasingly drawn to seeing what’s on the other side of the door — we seem to be heading for a heartfelt allegorical tale that has spacek and Simmons all over time and space. will give them what they need to show us what talent and half a century of experience can really bring.

Unfortunately, the other two shows are coming in. When Irene visits the viewing platform with the intention of going to the distant afterlife, she finds a semi-conscious blood-covered man on the floor and brings him back to the house. The Mysterious Stranger – Jude (Chai Hansen) is soon up and sneaking around the house, chopping bits of futuristic technology out of his flesh, leaving him free to embark on a personal quest without interference.

Then we cut to what appears – far too long – to be a totally separate side plot in Argentina. Stella (Julieta Zylberberg) leads a secluded life that baffles and frustrates her teenage daughter Toni (Rocío Hernández) until Stella reveals the family secret: She guards a portal, in the church near their isolated home, to an alien universe. When a top-notch piece of unnamed malevolence arrives in the form of the terrifying Polish actor Piotr Adamcyzk, a sprawling tale of divine prophecies, alien stinginess and those warring secret societies begins to make up the bulk of the series.

Despite this, it still feels limited and never quite gets the full-blooded X-Files-meets-Da-Vinci Code madness you want and could make up for the loss of the Yorks’ quieter but heartfelt and compelling story. † It’s as if the full fulfillment of each of the three storylines has been sacrificed for the other. Revelations are stubbornly and clearly withheld to drag away the tension, which only dispels it. Such obvious attempts at manipulation make the whole thing more of an exercise in frustration than anything else.

Spacek and Simmons remain the shining stars of Night Sky. If they could be shelved and the Yorks got their own eight-hour sci-fi and conspiracy-free series just to show us how they navigate the last decade or so of life before it winks, that would be great. . But I suppose that’s like asking for the moon.

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