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TV review: 'Minx' Season 2 addresses new issues with trademark style

Elizabeth Perkins (R) joins Ophelia Lovibond in Season 2 of "Minx." Photo courtesy of Starz
1 of 5 | Elizabeth Perkins (R) joins Ophelia Lovibond in Season 2 of "Minx." Photo courtesy of Starz

LOS ANGELES, July 17 (UPI) -- Minx Season 2, premiering Friday on Starz, expands the drama and social commentary of the '70s feminist erotica magazine. It continues to blend historical fiction with real-life monumental changes in a fun and poignant romp.

At the end of Season 1, publisher Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson) gave full control of Minx magazine to its creator, Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond). By 1973, Joyce is doing well and entertaining offers from all the major real-world publishers.

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Joyce dealing with corporate publishers could be a good story, but that's not where Minx Season 2 is going. In the season premiere, Doug presents a new opportunity, so they go back into business together.

Season 2 deals with the dilemmas that come with success. In Season 1, Doug was struggling just to get Minx on shelves and turn a profit, while Joyce was fighting to maintain her feminist vision in a magazine trading on naked pictures of men.

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What Season 1 excelled at was showing how noble ideals are more complicated in practice. Art versus commerce was another valid issue. How far can Minx magazine push the erotica to make its social message digestible to readers before it's compromising the message itself?

Just like Minx magazine slipped Joyce's political essays into a fun package, the Minx show continues to make these issues fun and energetic. They're not making fun of any historic movements, but finding the humor in them as they navigate success and the feminist movement of the '70s.

Now that Minx has a loyal readership, Joyce is forced to make different choices than she did as an upstart. Meanwhile, Doug is forced to compromise for a company at which he no longer pulls all the strings.

Staff members Tina (Idara Victor), Bambi (Jessica Lowe) and Richie (Oscar Montoya) assert themselves in new positions, too.

Joyce gets to meet feminist icons, some actual historical figures and some fictional creations of Minx. Joyce learns from both varieties.

For all her conviction, Joyce remains endearingly self-conscious, stumbling over her words and overcompensating. Her journey will be to stop seeking validation and approval, to just be what she believes. It makes her very relatable.

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Joyce has made up with her sister, Shelly (Lennon Parham), after airing her marital problems in a radio interview in Season 1. Shelly and her husband (Rich Somer) explore sexual experimentation in '70s fashion.

The half-hour format proved the right length for Season 1, as each episode makes a social point, deals with one aspect of the business and then moves on to the next. Season 2 maintains the pace with episodes that may center on one madcap event or one business decision.

Max's decision not to stream the second season of Minx is truly its loss. Starz will let this clever work continue and hopefully warrant a third season in its new home.

Fred Topel, who attended film school at Ithaca College, is a UPI entertainment writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001, and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012 and the Critics Choice Association since 2023. Read more of his work in Entertainment.

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