Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker – review (Netflix)

Brief Synopsis: When black washerwoman Sarah Breedlove’s (Octavia Spencer) hair begins to fall out due to life’s stresses a chance meeting with hair ointment saleswoman Addie Munroe (Carmen Ejogo) helps her to regrow her hair and regain her confidence.

When Addie refuses to accept Sarah as a salesperson, seeing her as no more than a washerwoman, Sarah strikes out on her own, working under her second husband’s name, C. J. Walker (Blair Underwood) and build an empire selling hair care products to black women across North America.

Is it any good?: Yes and no. Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker is entertaining and the acting is first-rate across the board. The story is interesting and resonates with anyone who has ever felt like an underdog.

Unfortunately, the telling of the story is somewhat uneven not only in execution but in tone. Spanning four episodes and running for just over three hours, Self Made should have had more of an emotional impact and worked better than it did.

Spoiler territory: Sarah Breedlove is a washerwoman and she is struggling to make ends meet and with hair loss. Her husband, Davis (Robert Ifedi), returns to the home a drunkard after a period in prison. He leaves her, disgusted by her appearance. At her wit’s end, Sarah is about to give up on life but then she meets Addie Munroe.

Addie takes pity on her and helps her to regain her hair by treating her scalp with a hair balm she had come to sell. In exchange for Sarah washing her clothes, Addie continues to treat her scalp. A few years into the treatment, Sarah suggest to Addie that she could sell to her community.

Addie, an attractive woman of mixed race, does not like the idea. She does not feel that Sarah has the right look to sell her products. Sarah, determined to show Addie she can sell, takes some of the tins of hair balm and sells all of them. She returns to Addie with, what she feels is, good news.

Addie is furious and tells her, in no uncertain terms, that she is not the type of look that she wants to be associated with her product. Sarah is crestfallen. She returns home and her new husband, C. J. Walker, comes in to congratulate her on becoming a new saleswoman. Sarah tells her that she never got the job and what Addie thought of her.

Sarah decides she is going to make her own hair balm. Her balm immediately takes off in St. Louis attracting the ire of Addie. Addie comes to see Sarah and tells her that she will fail and that she will have clothes waiting for her to wash. Sarah continues to go from strength to strength.

Sarah tells C. J. that they need to move to expand. C. J. does not want to move. They move to Indianapolis, with Sarah daughter, Lelia (Tiffany Haddish) and her new husband, John Robinson (J. Alphonse Nicholson). Sarah does not approve of John. She thinks he is a wastrel.

In Indianapolis, Sarah opens a hair salon. It does not go well and business is, initially, non-existent. C. J. Is ready to give up and go and work for somebody else. Sarah refuses to go back to being a washerwoman. Desperate, Sarah goes to the market and tells her story and offers black women the chance to look better, gain confidence and make their own money.

She decides to do hair for free to get the business started. The business is soon flourishing. Sarah wants to expand more. C. J. wants to be more cautious. Sarah wants to make the company legal. C. J. introduces her to Ransom (Kevin Carroll), a lawyer working as a bellhop at a local hotel. Ransom is reluctant to get involved. After an unsavoury incident at the hotel, he takes the job.

Addie follows Sarah to Indianapolis and opens a salon. The women are at war. Addie comes to the local black church and makes a play for Sarah’s customers. Sarah hits back with a better deal but it means more production. In the efforts to increase production, the little favoured John leaves the product unattended and the salon burns down.

Addie takes the opportunity to steal all of Sarah’s customers. Sarah decides that she will adopt the name Madam C. J. Walker. Sarah approaches the prominent black businessmen in Indianapolis in an effort to open a factory. The men are reluctant to back a woman, addressing C. J. during the discussions. They turn her down. Sarah realises she needs more. She is determined to get Booker T. Washington (Roger Guenveur Smith), the most prominent black man in the city, to endorse her.

Sarah is determined to get to see Booker T. Roman tells her that Theodore (Martin Roach), the mortician and most prominent businessman in town, wants to talk to her. She goes to see him but he tries to rape her in exchange for his endorsement.

C. J. gets tickets for Booker T.’s talk but tells Sarah that she can only come to be with the women. Sarah will not accept that and insists on going to the talk. At the talk, Washington introduces Addie to the stage but he does not let her speak. Sarah tries to persuade Washington’s wife, Margaret (Kimberly Huie), to put in a word but Margaret is reluctant, telling Sarah she does not involve herself with her husband’s business.

Ransom invest in Sarah’s venture, not realising that the money he got from his cousin, Sweetness (Bill Bellamy) is illicit. After being coerced by Sarah to talk to Washington whilst he was in the bathroom, C. j. tells Sarah that Washington is coming to dinner. As the night wears on and Washington does not show, Sarah gets the real story out of C. J.

Ransom rings a friend to find out about Washington’s thoughts. He tells Sarah that Washington has no interest in women’s beauty products and thinks them frivolous. An angry Sarah kicks everyone out of the house. Lelia has her sexuality challenged by Esther (Mouna Traoré).

C. J. gets this head turned by Dora (Sydney Morton), who persuades him to come to a jazz club with her. Sarah decides to try with Margaret again. She talks at Washington’s next conference but he is not pleased by her gracing his stage and talking about female enterprise and tells her so in the most chauvinistic of terms.

Sarah wants to remortgage the house to build the factory. C. J. is opposed to the idea but Sarah goes ahead with it anyway. C. J. feels emasculated. Margaret’s women group come to the rescue financing the factory opening. John goes to see Addie. He will get her information on Sarah for a price. Ransom sees Dora and C. J. getting closer.

Sarah’s business is quickly expanding and she recruits more sales agents as well as opening five more salons with her top saleswomen. Sarah suspects John is up to something. C. J. comes up with a new ad campaign. It does not look anything like Sarah who is dark-skinned. C. J.’s ad depicts a light-skinned woman.

Sarah wants to go to New York to expand the business. She wants to see the most successful store owner in the country, Winston Moreland (Michael Brown). She hopes to put her products in his stores. In New York, Sarah and Lelia are blown away by the amount of and variety of black people they see. C. J. stays back. Dora continues to seduce C. J.

John searches for Sarah’s hair balm formula. C. J.’s father, Cleophus (Garrett Morris) tries to warn him about dallying with Dora. Sarah tries to sell her products to Moreland but he is not so receptive without C. J. around.

Dora gets the other top agents to jump ship and work for Addie. Back at the restaurant, W. E. B. Dubois (Cornelius Smith Jr.), a prominent civil rights activist, comes into the restaurant. He knows of and recognises Sarah. He comments on her notoriety, having heard about her speech at Washington’s conference.

Sarah returns to find out that her top five agents have left to work with Addie. At the same time, Sweetness comes and blindsides her, telling her he is an investor in her business. Sarah goes to see Dora and catches her with C. J. Ransom fights with his cousin. Sarah kicks C. j. out.

Sarah shows the board of Moreland’s stores around the factory but a drunk C. J. interrupts the meeting ending her chance of getting her products in the stores. Cleophus tells Lelia that John has been seeing Addie. Addie goes and catches him and tells him she is going to divorce him.

Sarah decides to expand into New York. Lelia will go ahead and set up the salon. Lelia plans to go with Esther but Esther gets cold feet and does not show up for the trip. C. J. tries to get back together with Sarah. She rejects him.

Sarah opens a new salon, The Dark Tower, in Harlem. Sarah moves to New York. At a party celebrating the move, Sarah collapses. When the doctor comes and sees her, he tells her that her kidneys are failing and she only has a year to live. Sarah does not tell anybody. She decides to have a convention.

Sarah tells Leila that she wants a grandchild and that she needs to get a husband. C. J. turns up in New York. He wants a divorce. Lelia goes to see her girlfriend, Peaches (Keeya King). Peaches tells her that she knows the heir to the Saunders drugstore chain and can help get the products into his stores.

At a photoshoot for the hair products, Sarah meets the young model, Fairy Mae Bryant (Kiki Hammill). Addie rings Sarah and threatens to expose her for stealing her hair balm formula. Sarah goes to see Percy Saunders (Stuart Hughes) to try and get her products into his drugstores. The meeting goes well and he is happy to do business with her.

Sarah goes to see C. J. After spending some time with him, she signs the divorce papers. She catches Lelia kissing Peaches. She tells Lelia that she is dying and wants an heir. Lelia promises to settle down. The next day, Sarah is having a meeting with Ransom. Ransom is distracted. Sarah asks what is up with him. He tells her that Sweetness took his son out for some ice cream but cross some white men and ended up getting lynched.

Sarah returns to Indianapolis for Sweetness’ funeral. Addie confronts her. Sarah returns to New York to host her convention. Her employees are protesting on her lawn about her death with the Saunders drug company. They feel it will put their salons out of business. Sarah goes to see her neighbour, John D. Rockefeller (Frank Moore). She tells him that she is having trouble with her employees. He tells her to ignore them and fire them.

The disgruntled employees continue to protest as the party continues in the house. Sarah releases Leila from her obligation to give her an heir. Lelia tells her that she has adopted Fairy Mae. Sarah decides against the deal with the white-owned Saunders drugstore chain, telling her gathered employees that they will be the ones to grow her business. The end.

Final thoughts: Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker is an entertaining, if mildly frustrating, four-parter. Octavia Spencer is perfectly cast as the driven and determined Sarah Breedlove/Madam C. J. Walker. One believes her when she is downtrodden and feeling low but also when she bullishly steps into the white and male-dominated world of business.

Carmen Ejogo is also good as the jealous Addie Munroe, likewise, Blair Underwood’s C. J. Walker is totally believable as the ignored spouse. Tiffany Haddish dials back her usual gregariousness to play the sexually confused Lelia, her relationship and chemistry with Spencer working brilliantly.

Sydney Morton’s Dora fills out the secondary bad-light-skinned-girl role with aplomb also. The music for the series is also very good, driving a positive message of entrepreneurship. At forty-five to forty-nine minutes an episode and well-paced, Self Made, moves along quite quickly, the story being compelling enough to make you want to watch the next episode.

With the writing credited to five different writers, with the bulk of the writing going to A’leila Bundles – who wrote the book the mini-series is based on – and Tyger Williams. The directing of the episodes is split between Demane Lewis – episodes three and four – and Kasi Lemmons – one and two.

The frustrating thing with Self Made is the tone. More specifically, its unevenness. There are a lot of really powerful scenes in the series as a whole, as well as some interesting commentary on colour as a whole even just within the black race. Unfortunately, Ejogo’s Addie is somewhat cartoonish at points in her relentless pursuit in the destruction of Sarah.

There are hints of a deeper character in the series – when she speaks with her, much darker-skinned, mother and her violent relationship with her ex-spouse. This is all left by the wayside, Ejogo instead required to go full Disney villainess. Underwood to suffers the same fate, his C. J. initially portrayed as a good, supportive man but is slowly reduced to a drunken buffoon. In fact, except for Carroll’s Ransom, all of the black men in the series are portrayed as misogynist, weak-willed or buffoons.

Light-skinned women do not come out much better, a surprise considering both the directors are light-skinned women. Both the aforementioned Ejogo’s Addie and Morton’s Dora are portrayed as looks blessed but character deficient. And when C. J. shows Sarah his idea for a campaign it depicts an image of an idealised, light-skinned. black woman on a bicycle, something that is shown as playing on Sarah’s psyche as she is taunted by a beautiful ‘Walker’ girl on a bike portrayed by Joanne Jansen.

The series does not settle on a tone, even for an entire episode. Sometimes it is serious at other times it is uplifting, which would work if one was given any time to know any of the characters. Even Spencer’s Sarah is not entirely fleshed out enough for one to know what drives her so relentlessly, even at the expense of her marriage, to pursue her dream.

One, of course, understands that for women, especially black women, that it was a difficult time in history. Such was the life of all black people at that time, a point driven home by Bellamy’s Sweetness getting lynched in the final episode. Still, it does not allow us to understand what it was that made her believe she could rise above her circumstances to become the ‘Oprah’ of her generation.

The racism that Sarah would – less than thirty years after emancipation – have faced, is barely touched upon. Because of this somewhat lightweight approach to the story, the heavier aspects seem somewhat out of place, crashing in on proceedings but not in a shocking way, more of an intrusive jolt.

There are some creative decisions that are…interesting. We get occasional glimpses into Sarah’s mind but it is not consistent enough to be integral to the plot so, once again, they seem a little out of place. Self Made, strangely, suffers from being too short. There is clearly more to the story than is portrayed and far more strands which could have been explored, not to mention the fleshing out of the characters.

That being said, Self Made is an enjoyable mini-series that I watched – all three-plus hours of – in one sitting. It is good enough to make one take an interest in the life of Madam C. J. Walker and if, for no other reason, it is worth watching for that.

Bonding – a review (Netflix)

   Sometimes my mouth – or fingers in this case – go before the brain. Let me explain. I have a history of watching the first episode of a series and then leaving it. I’ve done with GOT, The Wire, 24, Ozark, all critically acclaimed shows that I have seen opening episodes of but never returned to. 

   It’s not as though I thought they were bad shows either, they just never pulled me in. I watched the first episode of the best single-season series ever written, Firefly, and did not return to it until over a year later. It’s a bad habit, especially as a person who harbours a deep desire to create a television series.

    Even recently I almost missed the brilliant Ricky Gervais series, After Life, because the first episode was so dark and heavy. I left it a fortnight and, after a second recommendation, was rewarded with one of the best shows I’ve seen in ages. 

    In terms of reviewing a show, my rule used to be I had to have seen at least three episodes of the show. That should be enough time for the writer or writers to have properly introduced the main protagonist and have the viewer know what sort of a story they’re watching, as well as to where the story might be going. 

    With all the film watching I do on Netflix, and the rewatching whilst reviewing, my tolerance has, at times, not been what it should be. In an industry with so many gurus – I can tell you how to write a script that sells! How to write drama! How to break into Hollywood! – waiting to tell, sell, the ‘foolproof’ method of getting your project made, it is still remarkable just how many terrible shows and films are out there.

    Netflix is one of the premiere streaming platforms on the planet, regularly dropping entire series of new and interesting shows from around the globe. They also produce a lot of new content, backing shows and projects that might not otherwise see the light of day.

    One such show is Rightor Doyle’s show, Bonding, a comedy-drama set over seven episodes, all around fifteen minutes long. Zoe Levin is Tiff, a psychology student by day and dominatrix at night. She enlists the help of her best friend from high school, Pete (Brendan Scannell), a gay redhead, as her security. 

   Pete is a struggling comedian, whose landlord, Frank (Alex Hurt) is a bit of sex addict, seemingly spending his life having sex with his girlfriend, Portia (Gabrielle Ryan). Pete, a somewhat diffident and unconfident person, is shown a world he never knew existed by the outwardly confident Tiff.

    Like I alluded to in my opening paragraph, sometimes I judge a show before I give it a real chance. I hated the first episode of this how. I thought it was wasteful and self-indulgent, jumping on the flavour-of-the-month LBGTQ trend that many shows have adopted. 

   Like blaxploitation in the seventies, in LBGTQ cinema and shows are more quantity than quality. When the chance for any non-white, ‘normalised’ genre gets the opportunity to be seen, there tends to be an over-saturation of products. Such is the case with LBGTQ.

    The first episode came over like a ‘this is an LBGTQ show! Watch it or you’re narrow-minded!’  But as the episodes were only around fifteen minutes long, I suspect Doyle was going for instant impact; the garish dominatrix set up, Pete being so overtly gay and put upon. I really did not enjoy the first episode. 

   Though I am somewhat hard-headed, I can occasionally learn from my mistakes. As with After Life, the Ricky Gervais Netflix show, I came back to Bonding. I am so glad that I did. Doyle’s show really hits its stride from the second episode. Even though the dominatrix angle is what dominates visually, it is the various relationships that really drive the show.

    Zoe Levin is captivating as the pokerfaced Tiff, life having forced her to create a metaphorical suit of armour around herself. Scannell’s Pete is not who he seems to either, growing and showing more courage as he discovers himself. 

    The acting across the board is good, with no wasted characters and a feel-good vibe, pierced by a few dark moments. Bonding is a lot better than the first episode impression would have you believe and at around quarter of an hour an episode, with the entire first season only being seven episodes, it is basically a just under two-hour film. 

    I would recommend watching Bonding. It is short enough to watch during a commute and amusing and engaging enough to put you in a good.  

    

Endgame – thoughts (no spoilers)

     It begins and ends with Iron Man. That is as spoilery as I will get in this look at the conclusion of the Infinity War saga, Avengers: Endgame. The Russo brothers were always going to be up against it trying to top Avengers: Infinity War. Not only is it an epic film, story, and piece of filmmaking, it also has one of the best endings in modern cinema. 

    Though pretty much every MCU film has been guaranteed to bring the audience back, the anticipation for this movie has been off the charts. Endgame has only one, albeit slight, problem. You know, because of the nature of the genre, they are going to win.

   Obviously, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Anyone of a certain age will remember the frustrating, unsatisfying, endings of many an episode of the visually impressive Michael Mann show, Miami Vice from the mid-eighties. Life is hard and, at times, unfair enough. We want to see our heroes win. 

   The knowledge of them winning is one thing, how they are going to win is another. Having watched the film, I am confident that even that one smug person you know, who always knows what’s going to happen, will not be able to second guess this one. 

   There are so many elements at play, so many things one just could not have guessed at, no matter how many comics you have read or how many times you have seen the twenty-one previous films. All of the rhetoric and theorising is over now. Most of it is wrong. 

   The script by Christopher Markus and Stephen Mcfeely is masterful. There are nearly fifty speaking parts in the film. Fifty. To have so many characters interacting, without the feeling that some are just getting lines because they are on the screen is hard. Just ask any of the actors in Fox’s X-Men films how that feels. 

    The Markus/Mcfeely script has humour, emotion, suspense and still manages to tell a compelling story that one is invested in. At three hours long, the film is a test of one’s bladder if you are foolish enough to enjoy that giant Coke whilst watching the trailers. 

   Truth be told, the film does not feel three hours long, the set up from Infinity War giving Endgame an oppressive urgency that does not let up until the final act. The film answers just about every question you could possibly have had about the story arc over its twenty-one film run.

   As much as there are those who like to know what happens before they see it, I promise this film can only be truly enjoyed if you see it spoiler free. It would be a massive disservice for me, or anybody else, to reveal any of the plot points if you had any intention of seeing the film. 

   As one would expect, the film looks magnificent. You should see this film on the biggest screen you can find. The Russo’s, unsurprisingly, really added to their reputation as masters of the genre, having directed four – including Endgame – of the MCU Infinity War arc films.

That they directed the best of all the films is also a case that could be made for the brothers, having helmed two Captain America films, Civil War and The Winter Soldier, as well as the Avengers pair.

    Music also plays a big part in the film, setting the mood and scene, different melodies denoting different heroes. A veteran of some one-hundred-and-twenty-six films, Alan Silvestri is the man behind the music, a name familiar to just about anyone who watches films.

   The MCU, behemoth that it is, might seem, with all of the money and star power, to almost be bullying the competition, with any other film released around the same time as their films getting completely overshadowed. 

   What the MCU films have done is raise the standard expected from a blockbuster and, even more relevantly, multi-strand story telling. If others who follow can do half as well as the MCU have, cinema could be very interesting over the next decade. Go and see Endgame.    

Tidelands – a review of a forced production.

     In film and television, a lot of people are drawn to a series or film by the actor and/or star or the director. Generally, it would be because you have seen the actor in previous work that you enjoyed or the director’s body of work appeals. There are, of course, other considerations when it comes to choosing whether to watch something or not  – genre, duration – but a trusted name is one of the more common ways to choose.

   For me, the writer or creator, when it comes to television especially, is a major consideration. I am the sort of person who the ‘from the mind of..’ Adverts are aimed at when a show or film is being promoted. 

   If I watch a particularly good show, I will always look to see wrote the show or who the showrunner is on a series. If I see Aaron Sorkin’s name attached to a series, if Christopher Nolan has put out a film, Amy Sherman-Palladino name will always get my attention, as will Gillian Flynn, these are creators who names peak my interest in a project.

   The one person that will get me watching anything his name is attached to is Joss Whedon. The creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, both the film and the television series, its spin-off, Angel, Agents Of Shield, Dr. Horrible’s Sing A Long Blog and The Avengers amongst other works, Whedon is my favourite writer/creator on the planet. 

    The reason I mention Whedon is, one of his lesser-known works, Dollhouse, came to mind when I thought about writing this review of another Netflix exclusive series, Tidelands.

Created and written by Stephen M. Irwin, Tidelands is an Australian production about a young woman, Calliope ‘Cal’ McTeer (Charlotte Best), who returns to her hometown after a decade in prison to discover a strange truth about her past.

   Admittedly, I found Tidelands for the most part enjoyable. Like a lot of series on Netflix, it is bingeable, only being eight episodes in total. Unlike say, most of the Marvel series, it suffers from being too short. 

    This is what brought to mind Whedon’s Dollhouse series. Dollhouse was a vehicle for Eliza Dushku, who had been brilliant as Faith in Buffy. In Dollhouse she played Echo, an unwitting operative in a “Dollhouse’ where her mind is wiped and she has a different personality imprinted on it for various missions. 

    The series was okay, not great but certainly not terrible. Whedon had written a quite brilliant series before, Firefly, – if you have never seen it, you must! – and it was canceled after the first season. He managed to finish the story, in a fashion, with the film, Serenity. 

    With Dollhouse, still smarting from not being able to see through his vision with Firefly, he got greenlit for a second season. Even though the response to the first season had been lukewarm, he got a truncated second season renewal.

The second season was written and felt as though it knew it was not going to last to a third season. This feeling, this anxiety, was apparent in the work and it made that second season somewhat unsatisfying.

   With Tidelands, there is the same feeling. It has a feeling of being ‘Tranked’. What I mean when I say Tranked is a reference to the director, Josh Trank’s much-maligned Fantastic Four – check out the best (worse) review ever here! Trank obviously had a vision for the film, but after the highly publicised clashes with the studio and his subsequent firing, he ended up taking the heat for an, to put it kindly, abrupt film. 

    Tidelands has exactly the same feel. For six of the eight-episode run, it builds nicely and somewhat cryptically to possible conclusions or stories. Then in the final two episodes, it accelerates to sudden explanations and a bloody conclusion. It just ends, hastily tying up plot lines and killing anything else that cannot be quickly explained.

    There had been a lot of critical flack about the acting and looks over story depth aspects that some felt were on show. Admittedly, the early episodes were not so much cryptic as damn right confusing in deciding what sort of a story this was trying to be. The show also suffered a little from having no character with which the viewer could bond with. 

    Cal was, initially, far too abrasive. Her brother Augie, played by Aaron Jakubenko, was the local drug dealer whose entire gang turn on him by episode four and a couple of his crew were barely trustworthy to begin with.

The main antagonist, Adrielle (Elsa Pataky), is obsessed with collecting bits of pottery clay, which we do not find out the relevance of until the final episode! She rules her clan – she’s the ‘queen’- the Tidelanders, with an iron fist, having one young boy blinded  – an eye gouged out – for lying to her. Lovely. 

    Cal’s mother, Rosa (Caroline Brazier), hates her guts because, as we find out in episode five, Cal is a Tidelander, hence her barely suppressed prejudice makes her instantly unlikable. Adrielle’s allure, which Patasky is perfectly cast for, has the men and women around her fawning over her, ready to her every bidding. One of her older lackey’s, Lamar (Dalip Sondhi), is not so willing to follow her anymore. Not that this story goes anywhere.

    There is a nod to homosexuality – it is 2018 after all – with Lamar having an affair with the local police chief. That does not really go anywhere either. Mad lesbian, right-hand woman to Adrielle, Leandra – play by Jet Tranter – gets to show off her great body, murder one of Augie’s guys in the opening episode, gets a bit of beatdown in a later episode and not much else, except to walk around looking dyke-menacing, which I am not sure is a thing outside of prison.

    Tidelands really feels horribly rushed, as though the writers were told halfway through the production that they had to wrap it up in the next four episodes. Hence we suffer a lopsided show where, in earlier episodes, there had been a gradual build-up and a smattering of intrigue and excitement, the odd gruesome act to keep the tension high The final episode is just a calamitous, hurried mess. 

   There is also the old seer, Genoveva (Cate Feldman), who is held by Adrielle in a dungeon and foresees Adrielle’s death, apparently at the hands of Cal. That storyline is wrapped up, vision and all, in about two minutes in the final episode. 

   It is a shame that the show ends up being so forced, especially as the two leads in Best and Patasky are wonderfully watchable and given some time and scope, I feel the characters could have grown more organically and believably.

   With the way the show ended – the less said..! – it seems unlikely the show will get a second season. Netflix is notoriously secretive about their viewing figures, so it is very difficult to know how well a show performs on the streaming service. It seems unlikely that it outperformed any of the more popular shows on the platform. 

    Tidelands is watchable, though not unmissable. If you are curious and have an urge to binge watch a show on a quiet weekend, you could do worse.