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Night Sky Review Sissy Spacek & JK Simmons Need Their Own Eight Hour Show | Television




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

The first of them works very well. So good, in fact, that when the action veers away from the couple, it’s hard not to blame yourself. This is largely due to the fact that the couple, retired teacher Irene York and her carpenter husband Franklin, are played by Sissy Spacek and JK Simmons. Great separately, they are something special together in this area. You can feel the Yorks a whole half century together from the moment they step onto the scene. The actors bring their all to the understatement, evoking their enduring love and the anxieties beginning to nibble at the edges as the tribulations and indignities of old age begin to come together. The script is deft, capturing the shorthand of longtime partners without ever drifting into sentimentality, and in broader terms capturing the intimacy of small-town American life with all the pros and cons that come with it, especially if you never left.

The Yorks still live in the family home we see them moving into in flashback and begin to make their own in the late 70s. As present day Irenes’ mobility wanes after a bad fall and Franklin begins to suffer from memory loss, they are 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 staff members said to Irene.

It seems at first that they don’t want to leave because they’ve been keeping a secret. In their hangar is the entrance to a tunnel that takes them to an observation station overlooking an unknown planet of desolate beauty. They visited it 856 times, according to Franklin, but never dared to open the door that would allow them to enter.

But we also learn that this is the house where they raised their son, Michael, and possibly where they lost him to suicide 20 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 couples life together and becomes increasingly drawn to what happens on the other side of the door, we seem to be heading for a heartfelt allegorical tale that will leave Spacek and Simmons all the time and space they need to show us what talent and half a century of experience can really deliver.

Unfortunately, the other two shows are coming. When Irene visits the observation deck with the intention of heading to the great beyond, she finds a semi-conscious man covered in blood on the ground and brings him home. The mysterious stranger Jude (Chai Hansen) is soon up and prowling around the house and hacking bits of futuristic technology from his flesh so he’s free to embark on a personal quest without interference.

Then we moved on to what, for far too long, seemed like an entirely separate storyline in Argentina. Stella (Julieta Zylberberg) leads a reclusive life that bewilders and frustrates her teenage daughter Toni (Roco Hernndez) until Stella reveals the family secret to her: she is guarding a gate, located in the church near their isolated home, to an alien galaxy. When an unnamed piece of top-notch malevolence arrives in the form of terrifying Polish actor Piotr Adamcyzk, a sprawling narrative involving divine prophecies, alien jiggery-pokery, and those warring secret societies begins and comes to form the bulk of series.

Despite this, it still feels constrained, never quite becoming the complete X-Files-meets-Da-Vinci Code madness you want it to be and that might make up for the loss of the quieter but heartfelt story. and more convincing of the Yorks. It is as if the full realization of each of the three scenarios has been sacrificed to the other. The revelations are stubbornly and obviously withheld to prolong the suspense, which only dissipates it. Such clear attempts at manipulation make it all more of an exercise in frustration than anything else.

Spacek and Simmons remain the shining stars of Night Skys. If they could be separated and the Yorks were given their own eight-hour, non-sci-fi, non-plot series, just to show us how they navigate the last decade of life before it’s gone, that would be wonderful. But I guess that’s like asking for the moon.




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