Aquarius’ premiered on Thursday, May 28th and two days after the premiere the powers that be at NBC decided to go the Netflix way and release all 13 episodes at once. Whether that was a great move or not is yet to be seen but it beats watching 10 seasons of a show just so we could see someone we already knew could fly, fly! Yes, I am looking at you ‘Smallville’. I’m still not over it! Needless to say all the binge watchers across the world thank them. The show stars David Duchovny (X-files and Californication).I spent the better half of my Sunday afternoon and Monday morning watching all 13 episodes.  #IRegretNothing.

Reader discretion is advised, SPOILERS ahead!

Let’s Talk about Charles Manson

While critics are hung up on whether NBC cast a Charlie Manson that was too handsome and whether Gethin Anthony plays the role a bit limply, I am intrigued by ‘Aquarius‘’ Manson. Although the show is inspired by the story of Charles Manson the first 13 episodes do not cover the Manson murders. In these 13 episodes, Charlie is just a hippie with a commune trying to make a name for himself in the music industry and as we find out in the second hour of the premiere a bisexual who used to be a pimp for some very influential people. He is also a manipulative psychopath who is blackmailing said influential people. Nothing spells out blackmail like murder. However, the most shocking part of the two hour premiere was the parking lot scene between Charlie (Gethin Anthony) and Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne) where we discover that Ken’s daughter Emma was not chosen at random to be part of the Manson commune.

That becomes quite clear when Charlie forcefully removes Ken’s pants and tries to gay rape him??!! Letting us know that Ken and Charlie have a sordid history. That little secret could ruin Ken and any chance he has at a political career which is why he does very little to save his daughter once he discovers Manson has her but rather gives in to Manson’s demands for money and begs him not to ‘out’ him.

Father of the year people!! Although that scene was shocking, in the 11 episodes that followed there was nothing quite as dodgy as the rape scene that involved his mother. I just about cringed when Charlie told Roy (Dan Meunier) to make sure all his biker boys got some too. That scene left a bad taste in my mouth. I mean, sure she’s been a s*** mum your whole life but come on!!

Chauvinism and Racism it’s the American way

Just like Mad men, chauvinism is rife in this series. All Chamain Tully (Claire Holt), a uniformed police officer at the Hollywood precinct, does is get her male superiors’ coffee all day. It’s bad enough that all the male officers completely forget she went through basic training like all of them, it gets worse when Chamain Tully (Claire Holt) being the only survivor of a cafe shoot out is blamed for the deaths of her fellow male police officers just because she is a woman. Without mincing his words one male police officer tells her that she is just a pretty little thing in a police uniform and that she should have died at the shootout. I am paraphrasing but jeez! Way to kill a dream. I mean she just wants to be a detective! Give the girl a break!

It’s set in the 60’s and there wasn’t that much female empowerment so really what do you expect? And let’s not even talk about racism!! The black struggle is brought to light in this series through Bunchy (Gaius Charles) who is the leader of the Black Panthers, their struggle is not going well but even in real life did it ever? In a cringe worthy moment one of the beat cops, Officer Tolson (Drew Powell) helps remind the viewer just what era the show is set in when he calls the black panthers demonstrating outside a crime scene ‘Monkeys’. It makes you appreciate Dr Martin Luther King even more.

It’s a 60’s cop show

It is not easy to create a good sixties show, the work and detail that goes into creating a set alone is enormous. ‘Mad men’ is just one show that got it right and ‘Aquarius’ has done well enough to be believable. With the show focusing on David Duchovny (Sam Hodiak) and although inspired by Manson, ‘Aquarius’ isn’t really about Manson. The creators use a lot of popular History to create an atmosphere that makes each episode compelling.  In essence, it’s just a cop show with chauvinist and racist jokes that you might laugh at and with enough drama and criminal cases to make you come back for more.

Ok, I’ll admit it some of those jokes are funny.


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James Maina is the editor of What To Watch. Passionate about the creative world of film and media, James loves to create magazines, video games, websites and android apps in his spare time, but he is most passionate about one thing: Movies on the big screen. Email your feedback to