1 9 9 3 (USA)
1 x 90 minute episode
4 x 50 minute episodes
This sci-fi mini-series from Hollywood helmsman Oliver Stone (his first foray onto the small screen) portrayed a dystopian vision of a future TV-dominated society.
Set in a forbidding, fascistic Los Angeles of the future (2007!), it starred James Belushi as yuppie patent attorney Harry Wyckoff, seduced into an executive job at the Channel 3 network where he is to produce a new holographic TV show called Church Windows.
Soon, however, Wyckoff begins to understand that he is a mere pawn in the scheme of the messianic cult, The Fathers – led by Channel 3’s owner, Senator Anton Kreutzer (Robert Loggia) – to take power via the influence of 3-D television and a mind-altering drug, Mimezine.
Wild Palms itself, with its hallucinogenic images (a rhino in a swimming pool, for example), baroque sets and paranoid labyrinthine plot, was dubbed “the sort of television you have to have a drug problem to enjoy”.
Comparison with the other early 90s exercise in left-field weird TV, Twin Peaks, was inevitable but unrewarding.
A fine ensemble cast included Bebe Neuwirth (from Cheers), Dana Delaney (China Beach), Brad Dourif and an awesomely bewitching Angie Dickinson as the murderous grandmother, Josie Ito (she pushes an artist’s eyes out!).
The series was based on Bruce Wagner’s comic strip of the same title.
Senator Anton Kreutzer