Well looks like my instincts on GTA 5 were correct. If even a games reviewer finds the grim criminality of the characters soul destroying then I guess its a lost cause.
Its interesting because I bought the first three games in the GTA series, 1&2 were great fun, though GTA 2 had a mission which made me nauseous even with its 2D graphics and cartoonish aesthetics that looked like playing with dinky toy cars on the carpet. GTA 3 was the transition to full 3D and I never looked back.
It reminds me of Dexter and Breaking Bad, why would anyone watch these shows? I suppose I’ve got the first three seasons of The Sopranos and the first two seasons of Deadwood. Both of which are unbelievably dark in places, and in fact I couldn’t carry on watching mid season in both of these because they were too upsetting, mainly because the acting is superb in both. (I try to watch TV boxsets one episode after another to keep the continuity going, but its probably a bit too intense to do this with Deadwood and the Sopranos.)
But the Sopranos is like Greek mythology through the lens of New Jersey mobsters and Deadwood is positively Shakespearean. In Deadwood they even used the language structure of the time (late 1800’s), well in places anyway, the only thing they had to change was the swearing, which they modernised because nobody would be offended by nincompoop.
So yes, if you find swearing off putting then Deadwood is definitely not for you. But the simmering performances by Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane, as the sherif and the sinister petty crime boss respectively, are both superb. You feel like their menacing stares are burning holes in the screen, easily the best performances for both actors. William Sanderson and Brad Dourif are also fantastic as the unbelievably greasy & servile town mayor/stooge and the honourable doctor. In fact Brad Dourif is captivating in everything I’ve ever seen him in.
Talking of Brad Dourif, there is a particular episode of Babylon 5, which I watched last night as it happens, called passing through Gethsemane, in which he plays a serial killer who’s had his memory wiped clean as punishment for his crimes and subsequently finds his way into a monastic order. Its a superb episode exploring sin, forgiveness and redemption. One of the few episodes guaranteed to make me cry, one of the depictions of the sacraments in TV and movies that first convinced me there was something to this Catholicism malarkey. There we are, back on topic in the end.