Sugar in your noir? Mark Protosevich and Colin Farrell go all "L.A. Blanc" on the genre

Just started Sugar, with Colin Farrell, on the certainty that almost anything with Farrell will be worth watching. The first two episodes are very good. It’s Farrell as a private eye with a heart of gold, somehow trying to be kind to everyone while stuck in a hard-boiled / noir case, and with a secret backstory waiting to be revealed. Farrell may well be the best actor of his generation; he is never not believable in a role.

We dropped Sugar after struggling to get thru the first ep. The ‘Dream On’ old film/tv snippets that were dropped in were so distracting. And Farrell had an odd look to him. Not sure if he had some very minor surgery/botox or it was just strange makeup. But he always looked a little off. Not much and not bad really, but off.

We did pick up Franklin which we’ve enjoyed. It’s not brilliant, but it’s pretty enjoyable so far (3 eps in I think). I did have to look up one of the character’s history to make sure he was who I thought he was, but they straightened that out within an ep I think.

It’s pretty clear from the first three episodes that Something Strange is going on with Sugar and his associates. I have a guess what it is, but I’m keeping it to myself while hoping I’m wrong. Otherwise, I’m not put off by the old movie snippets at all, and I think his work so far is as good as it always is.

With each episode, I become more convinced that my crazy idea about Sugar (and his associates) will turn out to be right.

Agreed. Something is…off…about Sugar, his agent/handler and the whole gang of supposed linguistic prodigies they are associated with. I have seen various internet theories on everything from vampires to werewolves to aliens but I think it might be more mundane and that the Doctor is running some sort of clinical trial on patients with a mental disorder, possibly schizophrenia, and that the drug is meant to control or cure it while the meetings, observation books, etc. are meant to track patient progress. I think Sugar may have killed his own sister before coming into the trial, and that’s why his handler and the doc are afraid this case is not good for him. It would explain the weird hallucinations (flashbacks) too.

If you haven’t seen the latest episode, don’t read the spoiler.

Damn it, I was going to reply to this that they were probably aliens but thought it was too silly to post!

Should have trusted my instincts (although may be some other explanation). I did correctly call out Sauron after the first episode of LoTR, but that one was much more obvious.

Haven’t seen it, but that was my guess!

I saw it, and was a little disappointed honestly. I mean sure, aliens in my noir detective show set in L.A. is a novel twist, but it also seemed like the most likely one from the start, so I’d hoped it was a diversion and the reveal would be something even more crazy.

Just caught up on Sugar, and yeah that’s a bit disappointing, if it’s not a fake-out…? I was hoping that the various clues pointing that way were distractions - being on an ‘observational mission’, different physiology (weird alcohol processing, superhuman reactions), various comments about still having much to understand about human nature, etc etc.

But have we seen his hallucinations before? There was the time early on, bleeding in a shower, where there was something odd (reflection not matching reality), and following a woman who wasn’t there through a party. Maybe he’s just tripping something movie-related and that’s what we saw… hopefully?

I think we have seen Sugar hallucinate before. That’s a thought.

Re Sugar ep 7: not a hallucination, then? Ah well. Someone in Apple’s commissioning team must have a thing for sci-fi.

There is a lot of weird stuff about this show. Like the bad guy turning out to be a character or characters you’ve never even met, even at the eleventh hour.

Thinking of “Seriously, dudes…?”-quitting after having seen episode 6. I mean, I was expecting something like that, but not that.

Also, how good can the last two episodes be without Eric Lang? Oops, I mean Eric Lange. Do y’all know how hard it can be to be a fan of both boardgames and character actors?

This might be one of the worst twists I’ve ever seen. How this wasn’t scoffed at by some junior reader and dumped on the Pass pile of scripts is surprising.

There is an element to the reveal that I flat-out admire. One of the main themes of classic noir is that of betrayal, and from the very beginning the show has set up the expectation of it being one particular style and then when it gets to the end almost completely jumps tracks, betraying not any particular character but the audience itself. Bravo!

I for one was completely snookered. I saw the oddities of character and just thought it was a different take on the “hard-boiled detective”. He was good in a fight, so clearly he had some kind of training, and the sly insinuations that he had been part of some agency at one point or other explained that away enough for me not to be bothered by it. He was odd. He had odd friends and acquaintances. It just made the character a little more intriguing without it turning into saccharine levels of “he just has a heart of gold”. But then that brutal fight, and I was stunned because I didn’t quite understand what I saw. Then, in the bathroom, he takes his drug, and started tripping… wait, what? It clicked, all the pieces fell more or less into place, and made a kind of sense. And the show did a… not quite a 180, maybe a 165…?

It was quite the rug-pull! I thought it was very well done.

If you think of the most recent episode as the pilot of a show where Amy Ryan tries to help a stranger hide in a hotel, and he turns out to be a mysterious and powerful alien spy, and then cut it into seven minute chunks of alternating dialog and action, it’s the perfect Quibi show.

Honestly, I’m enjoying the show, even if the twist is a bit hare-brained. I saw it coming from about episode 2 but kept thinking they wouldn’t go there. Then they did!

Anyway, I can watch Colin Farrell do almost anything.

Same. He is 100% of the draw for me. Well, maybe 98% of the draw with Amy Ryan and James Cromwell each pulling 1%.

My wife bailed on Sugar after the pilot. Her expression was pretty funny when I caught her up on the plot. She thinks Colin Farrell is kind of a toolbag though she did derive pleasure from his bad Chicago accent in Widows.


Not to detract from your observational prowess, but I feel this was intentional. They do set up that you think the “Le Cosmopolitan Polyglot Society” is going to be aliens or angels or something, so you spend the next four episodes thinking, “Well, it can’t be that, but it’ll be something like that…” and then it’s exactly that.

So I would embrace @conVurt’s intriguing – and well argued – betrayal point if I didn’t feel the show was tipping its hand early. The betrayal wasn’t that there’s this crazy twist, but that they set up the crazy twist and then opt for the least imaginative option several episodes later. Shapeshifting aliens. The Navi come to urf with cloaking devices. Skrulls. Marvel’s Civil War, all over again. Ugh. All those times Colin Farrell was staring at a pattern on the ceiling, I was thinking, “Okay, the shadows form a cross, I guess, so is he something divine…?”, but he was just casting his gaze skyward, presumable homeward. Well, I guess we get to find out what happens with Olivia, so I’m there for that, and I wouldn’t mind a sort of Starman’s Adventures series with Amy Ryan and Farrell, but as is, what a silly premise for a detective show.

So, it was all a set-up for a second season, in which – FINAL EP SPOILER! – John Sugar chases his newly revealed arch-nemesis around the world, with a mysterious cabal of humans in hot pursuit. Whatever, Mark Protosevich. Can someone remind me again why we needed a half dozen episodes of modern day detective noir to get us here?

Ha ha, I watched Sugar.