Critical Condition: The Path, The Ranch

The Path (Lightbox, from today):

“This excellent, intriguing new Hulu series starring Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan looks at faith through the eyes of a cult … [It] works precisely because series creator Jessica Goldberg (Parenthood) and executive producer Jason Katims (Parenthood), pull the levers of belief and doubt so convincingly and have assembled a superb cast, with Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, True Detective) and Hugh Dancy (Hannibal) going all in with exceptional performances.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

The Path is a slow but steady new drama from Hulu about a family in Upstate New York that is deeply enmeshed in a self-help movement called the Meyerists, a commune with all the telltale signs of being a scary cult. But The Path comes on gently rather than sensationally, as subtle as a ring at your doorbell and the offer of an informational pamphlet.” — Washington Post.

“The cult emerges as a hazy, marijuana-drenched mix of dated clichés, kept vague, perhaps, to avoid offense to any particular group. We’re meant to be moved by the power of faith rather than faith itself, but that’s a fine line for a series that gives us too little of substance or interest to hang on to otherwise.” — USA T0day.

“Unlike The Leftovers, a drama concerned with many similar ideas, The Path doesn’t use faith and disillusionment to spur the development of believably complex characters, nor does it create the kind of intense atmosphere or propulsive storytelling that would mask its dearth of coherent ideas.” — Variety.

The Ranch (Netflix, from tomorrow):

“Ashton Kutcher, Sam Elliott and Debra Winger shine when Netflix’s multicam sitcom about a Colorado ranching family gets serious. While ‘showy’ and ‘attention-grabbing’ are the watchwords of Netflix’s mission, the streaming giant’s new comedy … turns out to be unexpectedly sensitive, well-acted and formally adventurous, in addition to often being broadly funny.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

“There’s unexpected poignancy among the laughs in the new Netflix comedy The Ranch, which reunites Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson as a pair of brothers working hard and playing harder on their father’s Colorado ranch. The sitcom is much more than just a That ’70s Show reunion (or even a mini Two and a Half Men reunion with guest star Jon Cryer in one episode). It’s a savvy attempt to create programming for viewers who find the neurosis-tinged urban wit of shows like 2 Broke Girls, Modern Family and Mom too highfalutin.” — San Francisco Chronicle.

The Ranch doesn’t exactly feel like the sort of series that merits shelling out money for a subscription. It’s more a mild way for committed Netflix users to pass the time – something to graze on, presumably, once they have consumed pretty much everything with any substance in their queues.” — Variety.

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