Day 17 - Your favorite miniseries
I actually cheated a bit to go back and see what qualified for Emmys miniseries categories. However, though I was just looking at nominated (at least for a costume) miniseries, I still think this is my favorite of all time. Angels in America was a Broadway play written by Tony Kushner, with an all-star cast that I still see popping up in new movies. Set during the mid-1980s, reflecting the political and medical crises surrounding AIDS, there are a few stories that interview. One follows real life attorney and conservative politico Roy Cohn (Al Pacino) who is living in the aftermath of the McCarthy hearings he assisted with, and prosecuted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg as spies which led to their execution. A homosexual himself, and diagnosed with AIDS in 1984, he participated in clinical trials of AZT. We see him dealing with the guilt of his former actions, including living a closested gay life. Pacino plays him so well - strong and butch when dealing with real people, but wimpy and fragile when confronted by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg (he's in the hospital hallucinating) played brilliantly by Meryl Streep.
Another main storyline is Joe (Patrick Wilson) and Harper Pitt (Mary-Louise Parker) dealing with their marriage. Joe is also an attorney working with Roy Cohn and a closeted gay man, and meets a guy in Central Park and has sex. This guy, Louis (Ben Shankmen) is escaping his lover, Prior (Justin Kirk in his best performance ever) who has just told him he has AIDS. The story around Prior is my favorite, particularly when supporting actor Jeffrey Wright is on as a nurse and friend of Prior's but also Roy Cohn's nurse. Wright is not closeted at all, and does a great job trying to help everyone deal with their illnesses as well as the closeted Cohn deal with his past misdeeds. The climax occurs when Emma Thompson appears as an angel giving Prior a transformation in attitude. All of the actors give terrific performances, but I love Wright and Streep the best. They get to be the characters who point out the truth. Thompson is pretty terrific as the angel too. The acting and writing made this a Golden Globe and Emmy winning mini-series (six episodes, but I've seen it on 2 DVDs). I love it and can't wait to watch it again.