Show casts brighter ‘GLOW’ in 2nd season

Assorted ramblings from the world of entertainment:

• High-concept television shows, at least the ones that don’t become classics, tend to start out strong and fade away.

It’s as if the creators never thought about how to sustain the idea beyond the first season.

Netflix’s “GLOW” turns out to be a pleasant exception.

I watched the first season with my daughters because it looked interesting, even though I’d grown out of whatever interest I had in professional wrestling before the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (the wrestling franchise that very loosely inspired the Netflix show) debuted in 1986. I enjoyed the first season, but it was slight. A couple of times, I considered telling my daughters, “You can go ahead and finish this one without me,” and if each episode had been an hour instead of 30 minutes long, I probably would have bailed.

Season two we blazed through in two days the first weekend it returned.

The second season managed to maintain the humor of the first year while deepening the relationships among the characters and making it feel more timely.

Season two clearly is colored by the #MeToo movement and other current events. Alison Brie’s Ruth Wilder gets called to a meeting with television executive at at a hotel bungalow, where he expects her to show him a few wrestling moves and much more. And the reaction to her assault doesn’t break along the gender lines one would respect. There also are some more subtle nods to the movement as well (Annabella Sciorra, one of the primary accusers of Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein, turns up for three episodes).

The creators find a way to address these topics and others in ways that feel fresh and true to the mid-’80s setting of the show. They’ve managed to make it more serious and funnier than the first year.

The comedic peak comes in episode 8, a recreation of the wrestling series, complete with full matches, the elaborate back story about Ruth’s Russian wrestling baddie kidnapping the daughter of patriotic wrestler Liberty Belle (Betty Gilpin), sponsor commercials and promo spots for other series on the television station.

The only problem with burning through 10 episodes in two days is we’ll have to wait a year for another batch.

• The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland will host its first Rock & Recovery event from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Ricky Byrd, a former member of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and a Rock Hall inductee, will play music and talk about his struggles with addiction. He will be joined by singer Michael Des Barres (Power Station, Detective), drummer Liberty DeVitto (longtime member of Billy Joel’s band) and bass player Paul III (who’s worked with such artists as Tiny Turner and Pink).

The event also will include a couple of local connections. “(In)Dependent: A Heroin Story,” a play about addiction cowritten by Howland native Emelia Sherin, will be staged at 2 p.m. by Akron’s Millennial Theatre Project, and Youngstown’s The Labra Brothers will perform at 3 p.m.

Admission to the Rock & Recovery events are free (regular admission fees apply if visitors also want to tour the Rock Hall’s exhibits).

• Open now at the Rock Hall is an exhibition exploring the connection between rock music and pinball. Beyond the obvious tie-in with The Who’s “Tommy” and “Pinball Wizard,” many rock acts have been immortalized by the arcade game, including Elton John, Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Guns N’ Roses, Elvis Presley, Metallica, KISS and AC/DC.

Free pinball play is available for the exhibit’s opening weekend through Sunday. After that visitors will need tokens to play the machines, which will be on display through spring 2019.

• The Mister Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” still isn’t playing anywhere in Trumbull or Mahoning counties, despite playing on nearly 900 screens nationwide.

However, those who want to catch the film that’s finished in the top 10 at the box office the last three weeks can see it now at Shenango Valley Cinemas in Hermitage, Pa.

Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at agray@tribtoday.com

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