Contemplations and Consumptions: Vol 10


I move from Sherlock Holmes in my last post to another detective in this post. Chief Liz Danvers is a fictional detective played by Jodie Foster in the new True Detective: Night Country. The show focuses on the investigation of the death of several research scientists in the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska.  

There is a scene in an ice rink where Danvers and Officer Prior try to figure out how the research scientists died.

Prior: “It does not make sense.” 

Danvers: “Yes, it does. We are just not seeing it. Not asking the right questions.” 

Danvers’ mantra throughout the show is about asking the right question.

Questions determine what we notice, what we see and what we pay attention to. 

Anyone can ask the wrong questions. Asking the right questions is a skill.  

Right questions unlock while wrong questions block.

Think of asking the wrong questions in navigational terms. Imagine a ship sailing from Liverpool to New York. If there is a one-degree navigation error; it is unnoticeable by sight but the ship will veer off course if this error isn’t picked up. This one-degree navigation error compounds over miles and the ship never arrives in New York. Wrong questions compound and lead the questioner further away from the right answers. 

The right question not only leads to the right answer but also generates more good questions.

 Peter Drucker, the management guru, said “The important and difficult job is never to find the right answers. It is to find the right question. For there are few things as useless- if not dangerous- as the right answer to the wrong question.”


📺 (TV Show)

Mr & Mrs Smith – Mr & Mrs Smith is about married assassin-spies who work for a covert organisation. The TV show is a complete reimagining by Donald Glover of the 2005 movie, and it is better for it. Donald Glover and Maya Erskine’s characters are plain opposites of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s movie characters. The movie focuses on passion and action, whereas the TV show focuses on the characters’ relationships and their flawed traits.

Jane (Erskine) has sociopathic tendencies, and John (Glover) has attachment issues. You get to watch two characters navigate the different stages of an arranged marriage. You also see the impact of work stresses as two hypercompetent married co-workers compete for their employer’s praise. Each episode features at least one guest star cameo, and this format worked well.

The season finale finished with a Schrödinger’s Cat ending. The characters’ fates are dependent on whether Amazon decides to renew the show or not. A smart move by Glover and Francesca Sloane (showrunner) given the fickle nature of TV studios’ decision-making.

Mr and Mrs Smith is a show that could easily have stood on its own two feet without the IP attachment to the Mr and Mrs Smith movie. But studios nowadays just have to shoehorn everything with an existing IP whether it is right for the story or not.

HBO did that with Night Country by forcing Issa López (showrunner) to attach her original story idea to the True Detective franchise. This studio move has unfortunately harmed the show rather than helped it in the ratings. The story worked on its own without a forced True Detective attachment.

Please share your comments on this post

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.