Sissy Spacek, J.K. Simmons at the top of their respective games in 'Night Sky' - Albuquerque Journal

Sissy Spacek, J.K. Simmons at the top of their respective games in ‘Night Sky’

From left, J.K. Simmons as Franklin York and Sissy Spacek as Irene York in “Night Sky.” (Chuck Hode/Amazon Studios)

The most amazing phenomena in the supernatural sci-fi streaming series “Night Sky” is the chemistry between Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons as a retired married couple who are so comfortable together, it’s as if they’re extensions of each other. When Spacek’s Irene urges Simmons’ Franklin to get out of the house and go to the local pub, and he protests that he falls asleep after one beer these days; when Frank expresses concern over Irene’s lack of appetite and decreased mobility, and she tells him to stop fussing over her – we nod in recognition and empathy. It’s just pure bliss to watch two of our finest actors as they create a fully formed, three-dimensional, utterly believable long-term marriage dynamic.

At times it takes all of Spacek’s and Simmons’ superpowers to keep us invested in the more fantastic aspects of this Prime Video drama from Holden Miller and Daniel C. Connolly, which has some resemblance to another recent Amazon series, “Outer Range,” in that both stories are set on rural properties containing a mysterious, seemingly otherworldly portal. Over the course of eight episodes, Season One of “Night Sky” has a tendency to meander and to get bogged down in the occasionally murky details while serving up one cliffhanger after another – but we remain involved mainly because of the opportunity to enjoy Spacek and Simmons at the top of their respective games.

Time for the deep dive. Franklin is a retired woodworker and Irene is a former schoolteacher, and they’re living out their days in their comfortable country home in the fictional small town of Farnsworth, Illinois. (“Night Sky” was filmed in Woodstock, Frankfort, Wauconda and Island Lake, as well as the Cinespace Film Studios in Chicago. The production values are first-rate; this a great showcase for small-town Illinois.) Franklin is one of those grouchy but goodhearted old guys who was most likely a grouchy but goodhearted young guy (and we see the nascent moments of their union in flashbacks), whereas Irene is kind and patient and has reached a place of inner peace, even as she’s finding it difficult to get around without a wheelchair and there are pressing concerns about her health.

On many a night after dinner, Irene tells her husband she’d like to see the stars. They make their way out to the tool shed, down the stairs and through an underground tunnel, and pull back a heavy door – revealing a room with two chairs, a table and a giant glass window offering dazzling, awe-inspiring views of … well, it appears to be another planet. Not sure if that increases the real estate value or not, but it’s been Irene’s and Franklin’s secret for years, and they’d like to keep it that way.

That proves impossible after a mysterious stranger named Jude (Chai Hansen) seems to materialize out of nowhere and winds up on the floor of the underground chamber, looking the worse for wear. Irene’s maternal instincts kick in, and she nurses Jude back to health, while Franklin doesn’t trust this stranger and wants him gone ASAP. (The psychological underpinnings are heavy, given Irene and Franklin lost their beloved son Michael when he was about Jude’s age.)

We meet a plethora of supporting players, including Denise (Kiah McKirnan), the college-age and devoted granddaughter of Irene and Franklin; Byron (Adam Bartley), the comic-relief nosy next-door neighbor who annoys the daylights out of Franklin, and Hannah (Sonya Walger), who runs a B&B and seems kinda strange, and it takes a while before her true motives are revealed.

Meanwhile, an Argentinian llama farmer named Stella (Julieta Zylberberg) and her teenage daughter Toni (Rocio Hernandez) are connected to the story in a way that will eventually land them in the same room with Irene and Franklin – and a mysterious and menacing gunman (Piotr Adamczyk), who is either the protector of some great secret society connected to that mysterious underground chamber, or a hired killer. Or both. Or neither. It’s complicated.

The common complaint about many a limited series these days is that it might have worked better with fewer episodes, or perhaps as a feature-length film. It’s a common complaint because it’s a VALID complaint, and “Night Sky” is an Amazon Prime Example. Season One ends with more questions than answers, resulting in mixed feelings of frustration and anticipation. They could have wrapped this story up in half the time, but we’ll keep coming back as long as Irene and Franklin are involved.

Home » Entertainment » Sissy Spacek, J.K. Simmons at the top of their respective games in ‘Night Sky’


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
'Chocolate: The Exhibition' brings the history of the bean ...
Entertainment
After its run in Albuquerque, the ... After its run in Albuquerque, the exhibit will begin to travel the state, with its first stop in Hobbs at the Western Heritage Museum.
2
Zu Hot Pot brings the interactive dining experience back ...
Dining Reviews
Hot pot cooking traces its roots ... Hot pot cooking traces its roots back a thousand years to Mongolia, where horseman reputedly used their helmets as pots for cooking meat in ...
3
Safe House Distilling Co. unveils canned vodka cocktail with ...
Blogs
The canned line has extended to ... The canned line has extended to its Green Chile Bloody Mary, as well as its collaborations with the Albuquerque Isotopes that include its Teller ...
4
'Tosca,' 'Flying Dutchman' to open 2023 season
Arts
It's the opera's 66th festival season It's the opera's 66th festival season
5
World War II epic 'Wolf Hound' now available on-demand
Blogs
'Wolf Hound' features action sequences using ... 'Wolf Hound' features action sequences using vintage aircraft.
6
What’s happening in ABQ June 24-30: Zoo Music, New ...
Coming This Week
With July around the corner, let's ... With July around the corner, let's see if the rain keeps up this summer
7
Relationship dramedy 'For The Love of Jason' returns for ...
Entertainment
The new season explores Jason's (Trell ... The new season explores Jason's (Trell Woodberry) journey facing the obstacles of becoming an entrepreneur and building a co-parenting relationship with Carmen (K
8
Inaugural Albuquerque Contemporary Dance Festival will run June 30-July ...
Dance
The event will include dance performances, ... The event will include dance performances, classes and film.
9
Street photographer brings Downtown Albuquerque into focus
Arts
516 Arts to host 'Nathaniel Tetsuro ... 516 Arts to host 'Nathaniel Tetsuro Paolinelli: Downtown' through Sept. 3.
10
Basilaris Trio to play at Thirsty Eye Brewing on ...
Entertainment
The band took its name from ... The band took its name from the plant, which is a cactus. They describe their music being beautiful with an edge.