Posts Tagged ‘HBO’

I watched Barry Levinson’s ‘You Don’t Know Jack’ starring the legendary Al Pacino, last night. It is an outstanding film, to say the least. Al Pacino plays Dr. Jack Kevorkian – The American pathologist and right-to-die activist. Pacino’s portrayal of  Dr. Jack Kevorkian won him Emmy Award too. The film got me thinking about euthanasia.

Imagine lying on a hospital bed with thin tubes running like snakes through every opening of your body. You want to die. Foreign machines embedded into your skin, pumping in a magical fluid that keeps your time ticking, yet robbing every measure of your humanity. You want to die. You drop in and out of consciousness as they dope you with doses of powerful drugs. You want to die. There is no event in your life except that sharp pain which raises its ugly head at regular intervals. You want to die. You can’t be relieved of your excruciating pain and granted your death because the law refuses to give you the one thing you crave – your DEATH.

Legalisation of Euthanasia is one of the flaming issues in society today. Euthanasia is more commonly referred to as ‘Mercy killing’. This is a concept which propagates the ‘Right to Die’.

There are countless elderly people and terminally ill patients who have expressed a desire to die and have literally begged for death! Their families have abandoned many of these people as they are considered a financial and an emotional burden, but there are some ‘Humanitarians’ who insist on keeping them alive against their own will.

We live in the largest democracy where people have the freedom of choice, yet in their final painful days, when they need to exercise this right and make an important decision, they are denied it. Sad, but true.

In some countries Euthanasia has been legalised, but in some it is still inhuman, condemned and illegal. To some people it is an inhumane practice, but to some it’s the only humane thing to do.

Imagine a patient in the last stages of cancer, thin and weak, can’t sleep, sit, eat or even talk without pain. He’s waiting for the plug to be pulled on him. Yet, he is forced to fight a battle he knows he has already lost. Why? Only because the law does not allow him to die? People want to die without pain; they wish to end their life with an easy death. They want to die with a smile and not with dreadful pain. Then Why? Why can’t we grant them this last wish?

It’s true that everyone has the right to live, but there are times when we need to learn to let go…

 

Creator: Alan Ball / Network: HBO / Years: 2001 – 2005

From the haunting opening strains of the incredible theme music by Thomas Newman to the scene of the death that will be this week’s ‘client’ of the Fisher family funeral home, you know that you are in for a different type of viewing experience. With one of the most well directed opening sequences ever, Six Feet Under makes an amazing watch across all five seasons of its run. The amazing Alan Ball (Writer – American Beauty) has put together a staggering ensemble of actors, directors, writers, photographers and editors that, without fail, present the finest hours on television. The make-up department deserves a special commendation for the work they do on the sometimes horribly mutilated ‘corpses’ of the ‘clients.’

One of the most fundamental principles for engaging an audience is to present engaging characters. Six Feet Under is a prime example: each character we’re introduced to does take some getting used to, but all are wonderfully rich and complex and three-dimensional, balanced nicely by each other. Not only the Fishers but also all their friends, acquaintances and lovers are well developed, highly involved and important to the show in its many layers. Nate’s girlfriend Brenda (Rachael Griffiths) and her manic-depressive brother Billy (Jeremy Sisto), David’s boyfriend Keith (Mathew St. Patrick) and the Fishers’ Puerto Rican employee Rico (Freddy Rodriguez) are all fantastic characters that do far more than just complement the show’s funeral home family.

Most, of all I admire the characters: some of the most complex and enchanting creatures ever to grace the idiot box. After a few episodes, they feel like a second family. Each and every character of the Fisher family is extremely well written. Right from the insecure Nate, to his sex addicted girlfriend Brenda (Golden Globe winner Rachel Griffiths). Even David (Michael C. Hall) is outstanding. Each of these characters evolves through the five seasons of this show, episode by episode.

These myriad pieces, strong characters and outstanding production values all come together brilliantly under the firm hand of Mr. Ball and provide a fascinating look into a life that we all know exists but most of us have never explored. Every time I watch an episode, I am struck back be depth of storyline, the intricate characters and the left-of-the-middle storytelling. Allan Ball’s menagerie of ghosts (past characters influencing the present), trippy daydream sequences, surreal atmosphere and some wicked black humour make for a very entertaining show and sell what would otherwise be a marketing disaster to the masses. To top that, every component from acting to directing to screenplay is flawless.

I have to give this show my highest commendations. There are, of course, moments when I feel like throwing my chair at the television, but that is simply the consequence of watching a show that challenges me, rather than offer cheap amusement. It’s a heart-wrenching ride, and probably not for everyone. I can see a lot of people shying away from a show like this, simply because it refuses to be disposable. I really can’t say enough about this show. I didn’t know TV could make me feel the way I felt while watching. The characters, their struggles, they really find a vulnerable place where insecurities and fears haunt the human condition of our culture. And with a diverse and well-acted cast, I would imagine so on multiple age levels, races and faiths. This show speaks truths, and I feel lucky to have heard them.