“Hightown” aims to hit all your crime drama needs with drugs, sex, murder, gangs, and a lead seeking a path of redemption.
|Created By||Rebecca Cutter|
|Directed By||Rachel Morrison|
|Written By||Rebecca Cutter|
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|Genre(s)||Action, Crime, Drama, LGBT|
|Introduced This Episode|
|Ray||James Badge Dale|
|Krista||Crystal Lake Evans|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
With the way Provincetown is shown, you’d think it was gay heaven. Young and old, soft or firm, drugs and alcohol galore, what more could you want? Also, with Carnival on the horizon, meaning an influx of tourists, for local Special Agent, of the National Marine Fishery Services, Jackie Quinones, it just means a whole lot of fun. However, with seeing the dead body of a girl named Sherry and a car accident, it seems the fun times might be over.
But, the show doesn’t just focus on her. Because of Sherry’s murder, we also focus on a narcotics cop named Ray. Someone who has a hard-on for a big timer named Frankie, who is already in jail, but Ray wants to keep him there. So, between hitting up Frankie’s girl Renee, and getting close to her, it seems he is going to use one way or another to take down him, his Dominican gang, and with his partner Alan, the Haitians and who else is causing issues.
There’s Something About It That Makes You Want To Keep Watching
I don’t know what it is about this show, but something about it just hooks you but not in the way the term is usually used. It isn’t an instant grab, and it has you. More so, you start the show, may not think a huge amount about it, and yet find yourself watching an hour go by and not even notice. Which I really can’t pinpoint the reason why.
A part of me wants to say it is because it doesn’t feel as dry as most crime shows, yet also has no desire to be a comedy. It treats murder as something shocking, dangerous, and serious, but doesn’t set a tone which slows the show down to the point it feels like a period drama. And while there are drugs, minor nudity, simulated sex, and more, it feels less gratuitous and more so made for you to understand how P-Town is. It’s a party city, and we’re not talking country club parties.
So I can only pinpoint the hook being that it has good timing and knows when it needs a tone shift. Making it so you get wrapped up in its rhythm and as we bounce from Jackie’s story to Ray’s, you are entranced in a way that makes time just a construct.
On The Fence
No One Necessarily Pops
With that said, while the story may get you, and how the world is built, the characters may not. Please note, they do have the potential to grow on you. Jackie seems like your usual troubled kid who became an adult that did a lot of things right but is still nursing her demons. Ray, well, doesn’t have much of a life, and seemingly has no issue crossing the line, as shown by his possible relationship with Renee.
As for the rest? Sherry, the catalyst for a lot of this, we barely got to know more than she is an addict and dealer. Even her friend, Krista, who saw the murder, is a mystery since she is barely focused on in the episode. And even when you expand Jackie and Ray’s world? Well, Jackie’s partner Ed has a paternal vibe, but nothing that’ll leave you saying, “Aw!” Ray’s partner, Alan, ticks the box for a Black guy who isn’t a criminal but doesn’t provide much more.
And while there is also Michael, and his son Junior, and how they play into the situation, again, there is this vibe the premiere is more about fleshing out what Provincetown is like vs. those who operate in it. So when it comes to the characters, it may take a few episodes to have favorites and feel connected beyond sob stories.
Continue To Watch? – Put On Watchlist
First Impression: Optimistic
“Hightown” seems to be doing things a bit differently when it comes to starting a show based on a crime. Rather than making it character-driven, it seems more about fleshing out the world to start off. On top of that, as it pushes itself to avoid the sluggish nature its genre can have, it doesn’t become a comedy to create a sense of levity. Rather, it seems to really want to use its community and the people in it to balance things out.
Now, mind you, part of that balancing act means a community with the LGBTQIA+ community, of which only Jackie is a part of. So whether they will be prominently featured in a meaningful way, or just for the light they exude, who knows? What is clear, though, is STARZ could have a potential hit with this one.