'Condor' lands as '70s-style paranoid thrillers migrate to TV

The 1970s were considered the Golden Age of movie paranoia, with taut thrillers like "The Parallax View," "Three Days...

Posted: May 25, 2018 9:39 AM
Updated: May 25, 2018 9:39 AM

The 1970s were considered the Golden Age of movie paranoia, with taut thrillers like "The Parallax View," "Three Days of the Condor," "The Conversation" and "Marathon Man," informed to varying degrees by a Watergate-era sensibility.

The current media landscape has seen its own resurgence of that genre, but with the wrinkle that many of these who-can-you-trust stories have shifted from the big screen to television.

A direct example of that migration occurs in June, with the premiere of "Condor" landing on AT&T's Audience Network. The premium-style drama -- which boasts an impressive supporting cast that includes William Hurt, Bob Balaban, Mira Sorvino and Brendan Fraser -- stars Max Irons as Joe Turner (the role originally played by Robert Redford), a CIA analyst who stumbles upon a nefarious scheme that puts him in the crosshairs of some very bad people, while leaving him uncertain as to who in the government he can trust.

The show happens to arrive around the same time BBC America will conclude the first season of "Killing Eve," an off-kilter drama with its own set of twists and turns, featuring Sandra Oh as an intelligence analyst tracking a shadowy female assassin across Europe. And "Condor" isn't the only '70s movie that has made a comeback in series form, with Michael Crichton's "Westworld" having found a home on HBO, probing uncomfortable questions -- albeit from a new angle -- about artificial intelligence and technology run amok.

These shows join a number of series that have roots in the Sept. 11 terror attacks but which harbor echoes of the formula that held sway in the '70s. They include "Homeland," "Mr. Robot" and to an extent "The Americans," the FX drama rooted in the Cold War, which will conclude its six-season run on May 30.

There are several reasons the paranoid thriller has largely shifted to TV, perhaps foremost because the kind of mid-sized, character-driven stories these films exemplified has been relegated to a cinematic no-man's land, lost between special-effects-driven blockbusters and small independent films.

Television, moreover, offers the latitude to tease out games of cat and mouse, although that poses its own set of challenges, as evidenced by the creative contortions of "Homeland" in its later seasons and Fox's misguided revival of "The X-Files," which in its heyday was a classic of the genre, albeit with a supernatural twist.

The British and Danish have been especially good at mining this territory, yielding an assortment of shows that now reach the U.S. via avenues like Netflix and content-hungry cable networks.

The new "Condor," it's worth noting, doesn't quite take flight in its opening episodes, a reminder that translating such a concept into a series isn't always an easy process.

Still, the current climate for such fare does appear relatively hospitable, for a variety of reasons. Looking back at the '70s for the Daily Beast, Adam Sternbergh wrote that the movies of that era reflected "cultural by-products of a widespread societal freak-out."

For many immersed in today's 24/7 news cycle, that might sound like a fair description of where we are now.

"Killing Eve" and "The Americans" end their seasons on May 27 and May 30, respectively. "Condor" premieres June 6 on Audience Network.

West Lafayette
Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 60°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 62°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 64°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 60°
Williamsport
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 63°
Crawfordsville
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Frankfort
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: °
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 61°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 61°
Comfortable weekend with a few spotty showers & t'showers...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 771299

Reported Deaths: 14005
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1059471808
Lake570611031
Allen43193700
Hamilton37458426
St. Joseph37420568
Elkhart29819471
Tippecanoe23584231
Vanderburgh23431405
Porter19616327
Johnson18899394
Hendricks18168323
Clark13623199
Madison13604348
Vigo12908256
Monroe12626178
LaPorte12594225
Delaware11183198
Howard10747237
Kosciusko9810124
Hancock8799150
Bartholomew8296157
Warrick8150157
Floyd8072183
Grant7397181
Wayne7254201
Boone7236105
Morgan6948143
Marshall6358117
Dubois6301118
Cass6110112
Dearborn604078
Noble603590
Henry5971111
Jackson518677
Shelby512898
Lawrence4961127
Gibson467296
Montgomery461392
Clinton458455
DeKalb458485
Harrison456977
Huntington421382
Whitley418645
Steuben412861
Miami407273
Jasper402556
Knox393191
Putnam386862
Wabash371684
Adams355356
Ripley352771
Jefferson347187
White340954
Daviess3098100
Wells304881
Greene295985
Decatur293493
Fayette287464
Posey285435
Scott283458
LaGrange278472
Clay276049
Washington255637
Randolph248283
Jennings240449
Spencer239731
Fountain237250
Starke230859
Owen224759
Sullivan222943
Fulton209545
Jay203432
Carroll198822
Orange192756
Perry191939
Vermillion181944
Rush178627
Tipton173848
Franklin173035
Parke156816
Pike143434
Blackford138232
Pulaski124048
Newton123736
Benton110515
Brown106443
Crawford106316
Martin92715
Warren88015
Switzerland8488
Union73710
Ohio58411
Unassigned0429

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events