ByJase Peeples, writer at
Jase Peeples

The new series Shut Eye isn’t simply another Hollywood adventure into the supernatural side of Los Angeles, it’s a slice of LA noir with a magical twist.

The story of a fortunetelling con man whose life changes when he gains real psychic abilities is a show that joins the rich tradition of quirky crime movies and TV shows that have helped define a beloved entertainment genre.

Take a peek at the series in the video below.

The Golden Age

From femme fatales to doomed anti-heroes, Hollywood’s film noir golden age is filled with colorful characters and movies that set the stage for what would become known as one of the great American cinema genres.

Though its roots reach well into the 1910s, the genre began to gain some serious traction with now-classic films such as The Maltese Falcon (1941) – the story of a private detective who finds himself competing with other adventurers to obtain a jewel-encrusted falcon statuette – and continued with some of the most highly-regarded films of all time such as Out of the Past, and Sunset Boulevard.

Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon
Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon

A Genre Grows Up

By the 1970s film noir had evolved. Considered neo-noir by many film historians and fans, movies of this era were consciously aware of the genre in ways the films that preceded them were not and the city of Los Angeles became fertile ground for such stories.

Mysteries like Chinatown (1974) not only captured the attention of audiences around the world with its rousing story and impressive star power in the form of actors such as Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, they also garnered critical acclaim.

At the 47th Academy Awards, Chinatown (check out the trailer below) was nominated for eleven Oscars and though it would only win one for Best Screenplay, it would go on to earn the distinction of the second best mystery film of all time (after Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo) according to the American Film Institute.

Along with movies like The Long Goodbye (1973), The French Connection (1971), and Taxi Driver (1976) Chinatown redefined the noir genre and paved the way for dozens of stylish crime dramas that would follow decades later including Mulholland Drive (2001) and L.A. Confidential (1997).

The Future And Beyond

'Shut Eye' - Hulu
'Shut Eye' - Hulu

Other films like Blade Runner (1982) borrowed from those that came before to expand the story-telling tradition into new territory, while movies like The Big Lebowski (1998), Pulp Fiction (1994) and Drive (2011) haven’t simply redefined the boundaries of neo-nior, they’ve helped to make the LA-based quirky crime drama a sub-genre of its own.

It’s a tradition that continues with Hulu’s Shut Eye, which brings the spirit of the stylish LA mystery to the supernatural realm of entertainment.

The first 10-episode season (now streaming) feels both fresh and familiar, tipping its fedora to the films that have come before with plenty of visual nods to the greats of the genre while taking viewers on a new fantastic journey through the gritty underground of con artistry.

So whether you're a fan of film noir, or simply looking for the next great quirky crime drama, it doesn't take a psychic to see a binge session is in your near future.

What is your favorite LA-based quirky crime film or TV show?


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