Many TV shows – and many people – are rooted in one place. Some rarely leave the living room.
Not Kimani Ray Smith … or “Two Sentence Horror Stories” (show here), the odd little show (8 and 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays on CW, then streaming the next day on www.cwtv.com) he directs for.
Smith had a childhood he describes as “from the desert to the Arctic tundra.” That may make him ideal for a show that covers a broad range.
That’s partly because it’s an anthology. “You can tell more stories that way,” Smith said. From “Twilight Zone” to “Black Mirror,” anthologies seem ideal for a supernatural mindset.
And it’s partly because “Two Sentence” seems determined to be the most diverse TV show ever.
The season opens (Jan. 12) with an episode (shown here) set in a high school detention room, with a young cast that’s primarily Black and White. It closes ((8:30 p.m. Feb. 16) with a story that takes place on a cowboy film set; that one stars Joel Oulette, the Cree actor who also stars in CW’s “Trickster,” at 9 p.m. Tuesdays. “He does a fantastic job,” Smith said. “And he’s only 18.”
Both episodes are directed by Smith, who seems to fit – complete with a Black father and a mother whose roots include White and American Indian. “My mother was a hippie nomad,” he says.
Smith, 48, was born in Toledo, Ohio, and was 5 when his father died. His mother’s nomadic life took him from Michigan to Arizona to Canada.
That’s a country that seems ideal for actors. It has a relatively small populatiion and lots of film work – some on American projects (including “Two Second Horror Stories”) and some Canadian.
Smith has done lots of work as a stunt man, a stunt coordinator and an actor. Now, as a director, he’s been pleased by the talent available
“There are some great acting teachers up here,” he said. And young actors keep breaking through. “They get so much work in small roles …. Over time, a lot of them grow up in the industry.”
Indeed, the season’s second “Horror Stories” episode has a beautifully nuanced performance by young James Goldman. He plays a transsexual student, colliding with a perverse janitor – played by Janet Kidder, the niece of Margo Kidder.
(That one airs at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 12, then is scheduled to rerun at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 9.)
Just as the casts vary sharply, so do the episodes. Smith’s opener was almost entirely confined to the detention room; “you’re in a room, maybe 25-by-30 feet and moving constantly.” The closing episode was filmed on a cowboy set. “Everywhere you turn the camera, there’s something there.”
Both are odd and emotional. And neither is limited to someone’s living room.