By Dan Barrett.
The television anthology series was once a staple of US television. Shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, and Night Visions are among the best remembered. As the TV industry evolved, they failed to work on broadcast TV and soon found a home on cable television. Here they were able to embrace niche audiences who didn’t mind their TV being a little more eccentric. Tales From The Crypt and Liquid Television are two very fondly remembered examples.
Cable TV anthologies also saw the emergence of an anthology genre not previously possible: the erotic, soft-core anthology. Shows like Red Show Diaries, and The Hunger were watched by devoted viewers seeking their mix of murder, mystery, and boobs. It has been a while since we saw soft-core erotica anthologies produced for cable (who have since adopted a premium-television model), but Cinemax has come to the rescue for this genre with the debut of Femme Fatales.
Cinemax, a movie-driven cable network, is oft-referred to as Skinemax due to the abundance of soft-core erotic films that air on the channel late at night. Femme Fatales is a perfect fit for this network, with the series airing Friday nights at 11pm. Each episode finds women needing to “find extraordinary ways of coping with their problems, channeling their survival instincts and bringing out their inner guile. The show is inspired by and styled in the tradition of pulp stories, film noir and graphic novels, and takes place in contemporary settings”.
Episode 1 opens with the story Behind Locked Doors. A popular young actress is jailed for accidently killing some pedestrians whilst she is sending a tweet on her phone. The actress is then forced into prison where she becomes the target of a tough inmate known for making many her bitches, attracts the attention of a male guard, forms a bond with her cellmate, and makes an enemy with a tough female guard. What follows is a series of women in prison shower scenes, and late night in-cell trysts with fellow inmates and the male guard.
“Oz” this is not. With an excess of boobs, bare behinds, and the occasional full-frontal lady shot, this is a show that thrives on over-the-top melodrama mixed in with a lot of not-quite entirely graphic titillation. Femme Fatales is also unexpectedly very self-aware. It features two great D grade celebrity cameos at the beginning with Adam Goldberg and Richard Kind and can be surprisingly funny.
Femme Fatales is high quality soft core erotica trash. It’s ridiculous, saucy, and terrible in every great way. I can’t believe I’m giving this a positive review!