Review: Feud Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot”

Ryan Murphy’s extensive catalogue of television shows cover many genres and discuss many different social ideas. With Feud, Murphy transitions to old Hollywood where he masterfully depicts ‘Hollywood Royalty’ with the extravagant  costuming, lavish production design, and nice touches of camp. While the narrative is brisk and both Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon are exceptional, the show has a certain manufactured feel to its thematic commentary. Highlighting everything from sexism, to patriarchy, to ageism,to the role of the wife, ‘Feud’ endeavours to examine the whole historical era while also providing insight into the film business. These are all incredibly interesting concepts, but the show doesn’t have enough time to do it all, and therefore they lack subtlety; blatantly obvious in their purpose. They of course do tie into the characters, which are clearly defined with Crawford’s traditionalist behaviour in conflict with her youthful ambitions and Davis’s bullish, reckless demeanour. But Murphy and the writers need to work on impact. This pilot relies too much on its punches and doesn’t provide enough breathing room for the themes to be anything for but obligatory for the show’s setting. 8.5/10

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