Aquarius is a new detective drama following the true story of the infamous Charles Manson and “The Manson Family” in the lead up to their horrifying killing spree. Set in 1960s Los Angeles the story focuses on the parallel lives of Detective Sam Hodaik (David Duchovny) an Charlie Manson (Gethin Anthony / Renly Baratheon from Game of Thrones) and their followers / associates.
I had very high expectations from this show and they were certainly met! I will warn you this is not a stand alone series and it has not yet been picked up for a second season, my fingers are crossed that it does return for a second season because there are so many good things to rave about here! Also it was produced by NBC so it doesn’t have the extreme level of grittiness you would expect from say.. HBO or Showtime. As it is with many new shows these days the whole series was released online at once, so naturally I marathoned all thirteen episodes within a few days.
Duchovny is (as always) a classic in this. His character Hodiak is witty and unrelenting but with a forward thinking mindset that often leads him to helping those around him in their struggle in this cruel 1960s environment, especially a young female cop named Charmaine (Claire Holt). Anthony’s performance as Charlie Manson is frighteningly good, he has all the charm in the world but there is always this underlying dread as the viewer every time he succeeds at reaching his goals, he also has an intense case of crazy eye!
The first episode starts strong, a young girl named Emma is at a party and is “recruited” (seduced) by Charlie and his band of lunatic girlfriends. Her disappearance sparks the interest of Hodiak as well as revealing a wide and rich tapestry of blackmail, corruption and dark secrets. As the story progresses we learn more and more about how far Manson’s reach truly is as well as an undercover investigation by young detective Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) into the gang activity of Los Angeles.
Obviously they were hoping this would get picked up for a second season as we see a lot of other investigations done by Hodiak, it’s not purely Charles Manson based but the other investigations do help to provide background on the police characters as well as the political and ideological climate of the 1960s.
As expected the soundtrack is FANTASTIC, it’s got every hit from the 60s you could ask for. The writing is also very good, especially the dialogue from Manson, it’s scary how charming and convincing his character is at times.
All in all, if you are interested in learning about one of the most horrifying and intriguing serial killers of all time, check this out. It’s well made and this season is really setting the stage for what could potentially be a fantastic follow up. At first I was frustrated with the slow build up of the Manson clan’s story but it just made every action and every twist more shocking or powerful when they came!
The whole series is available online now through Itunes and is airing on NBC USA.
Here’s the trailer 🙂