The Alienist is a thriller murder mystery type TV series that has two seasons. Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed the first season, but the second season never quite clicked with me. It has a solid cast with the likes of Daniel Bruhl (All Quiet on the Western Front), Luke Evans (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies), Dakota Fanning (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), and Brian Geraghty.
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The Movie Review
One of the things that first attracted me to The Alienist was the setting. Taking place in 1896 in New York, this show looks fantastic. I love it when a show has a rather gothic look to it as this one does. I feel like they have captured the time period really well here from the sets to the costumes the characters are wearing.
In the first season, we have a murder mystery where a bunch of male prostitutes are being murdered in a rather grisly way. The police commissioner is Teddy Roosevelt which I thought was cool and until I saw this show, I had no idea that he actually served as the police commissioner in New York for a few years.
Anyway, Commissioner Roosevelt has to deal with this grim and disturbing case that is all over the news. The commissioner calls in Laszlo Kreisler who is an “alienist” which is a psychiatrist. He went to college with Roosevelt and the commissioner is hopeful that his expertise and insight can help them get into the mind of this killer and find them.
Kreisler is not alone. You see, helping Kreisler is John Schuyler Moore who works for the New York Times, and Sara Howard as well as a few others. This team is put together by Roosevelt to bring the killer down, but this is easier said than done as there are some in the NYPD who do not take too kindly to this rather rag tag team that has been put together to solve the case.
What we have in the first reason is a real murder mystery thing and it was a lot of fun. It kept me guessing all the way until the end and I was excited to jump straight into season 2 and my hopes were sky high. Now, let me start by saying that I did not hate season 2, but I did come close to quitting about halfway through the season.
I think the main issue I had with the second season of The Alienist was that it felt more like a spin-off. You see, Sara Howard is the main character now and running her own detective agency. I liked Sara in the first season, but the actual “alienist” seems like he is kind of pushed to the side and is now the secondary character.
The idea of the second season is great, they are looking for a missing child and there is a ruthless killer on the loose. It does try and have the same kind of mystery and intrigue going that the first season did, but for me, it just did not hit the same way that the first season did.
To be fair, from what I have heard, most people loved the second season so it may be that it just did not click with me, my wife said she liked it as much as the first season. I just think that if they wanted Sara to be the main character, just have an actual spinoff with just her and perhaps a couple of new characters rather than still calling it The Alienist and having him be the secondary character.
- The first season was fantastic and a lot of fun
- They have a genially interesting “mystery” to try and solve in both seasons
- I liked the cast here and they all did a great job
- I loved the late 1890s setting the show had
- The second season felt more like a spin off than an actual second season
- Seeing the actual main character no longer be the main character in the second season felt really weird