“Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season,” is available as of today. This is a show with a genuine connection to comics and fandom as it springs from the men’s magazine, “Femme Fatales,” that focused on film and television actresses in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It was the sister publication of the science fiction magazine, “Cinefantastique.” Mark A. Altman, well versed in sci-fi, who helped run the publication, now is co-creator and executive producer of the HBO/Cinemax series. Steve Kriozere, a televison veteran (“NCIS,” “Castle”) is also co-creator and executive producer.
“Femme Fatales” is, no doubt, a sexy show. It’s on the right track in mixing erotica with noir. “The White Flower,” the fifth episode of the series but first in the collection, is a fine example of what the show is capable of. After pulling off a perfect bank heist, Jimmy, played by William Gregory Lee, gets cocky and hatches a plan to rob his boss, Mr. Ryan, played by Stepehn Macht. He employs two gorgoeous call girls to help him out. First, he needs to get rid of his dim-witted partner, O’Brien, played by Geoff Meed. He invites him to enjoy some time with one of the call girls, Cynthia, played by Cristin Michele. Jimmy finds himself alone with Barbara, played by Tina Casciani. Just then, the host of the show, Lilith, played by Tanit Phoenix, makes a cameo and presents Jimmy with a bouquet of white flowers. What happens next is out of some good pulp fiction.
There are scenes, of course, that leave less to the imagination. In order for this all to work well, to get that Tarantino kick, everything needs to excel: the production, the writing, and the acting. And it does work well. Keep in mind, Tarantino can elicit a ton of sexual energy simply by focusing on an arched heel or the wiggle of toes. On “Femme Fatales,” the girls bare much more. It puts them in a vulnerable spot. “The White Flower” handles that loss of mystery well once the negligee slips off. Cynthia, we soon find to be the more earthy of the two girls and exerts a certain vibe. Barbara is the reserved and mysterious one. She’s the one who knows how to put a man in his place before ever removing any clothing. It all builds up to some satisfying tension.
While “Femme Fatales” will never be mistaken for “The Twilight Zone,” it does have a shot at rising to the level of “Tales from the Crypt.”
“Femme Fatales” made a big impression last year at San Diego Comic-Con with appearances during the con and a panel discussion. You will find a SDCC panel discussion from 2011 included in this collection. You can view an in-depth and lively interview with one of the great talents on the show, writer and producer Steve Kriozere, here. It is with TTN-HD’s Katie Uhlmann, part of her series of interviews, “Katie Chats.”
Keep up with “Femme Fatales” at the Cinemax website here. And you can purchase “Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season” here.