By Phil  |  06-17-2018   Entertainment
Photo credit: CBS All Access

CBS All Access premiered the first episode of the Strange Angel series June 14. I must admit, I was a bit surprised to hear of a biopic series on the life of Jack Parsons for one of the "big 3" broadcasters. I have had a morbid interest in Jack Parsons for years. Parsons, a devotee of Aleister Crowley, the British mystic who founded the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) and the religion of Thelema which brought "the command of the new aeon, Do What Thou Wilt."

Parsons is a fascinating character, a pioneer in the history of rocket science as well as the head of an occultic order practicing sex magick. Not to mention the connection to pre-Dianetics L. Ron Hubbard. In short, it's a captivating tale itself. I haven't read Strange Angel, the book the series is based on, but highly recommend the Feral House book Sex and Rockets about Parsons.

Now for the series itself… well, if I were forced to offer a tl;dr, my two-word review of Strange Angel would be "Very CBS." The series seems custom made for prime time network television (though it technically was made specifically for CBS All Access). It is highly dramatized and heavy-handed to the point of being hamfisted. Maybe part of this is my fault for being familiar with the story myself. I nearly audibly groaned a few times seeing the obvious foreshadowing being rolled out. There are also some other points I took issue with. I'm guessing that if the first episode is any indication, it's one of those typical "based on a true story" adaptations where the truth of the story takes a backseat.

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That said, I am going to attempt to watch the series (until I can't make myself anymore) just to see if it gets any better, or worse… If you're completely new to the Jack Parsons story, it might be a fun way to dip your toe in the water. That said, you could do just as well to watch the short video I created for The Goldwater just a year ago touching on some of the same subjects related to Parsons, the occult and the attempt to "manifest aliens."

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