Should You Try It: Capote vs The Swans

The latest installment of Feud finds Tom Hollander as the famous writer Truman Capote
FX's "Feud: Capote VS. The Swans" New York Premiere After Party
FX's "Feud: Capote VS. The Swans" New York Premiere After Party / Dimitrios Kambouris/GettyImages

Welcome to February. It may be the heart of winter, but there are still plenty of new options dropping on the small screen. But with all the content that’s available in this era of shows, movies, and streaming options, it can be daunting to know what’s worth your watch time. Don’t worry, this series is here to help. Today, I’m looking at the long-awaited second installment of Ryan Murphy’s anthology series, Feud.

Series: Feud: Capote vs The Swans

Where to Find It: The first two episodes are streaming on Hulu. New episodes air Wednesdays on FX and stream the following day on Hulu.

What’s It About: Murphy created a series of anthology shows for FX over the years. Feud first appeared in the Spring of 2017. It’s been nearly seven years since that first installment aired, but now the series is back with another original story. This one spans decades and focuses on Truman Capote (Tom Hollander) and his relationship with several women in high society in New York.

We bounce around a lot on the timeline in this series. We see how Capote met and befriended Babe Paley (Naomi Watts), who was a powerful piece of New York society along with her producer husband William Paley (Treat Williams). Fast-forward, and Capote is part of a friend group that includes Paley, Nancy “Slim” Keith (Diane Lane), C.Z. Guest (Chloe Sevigny), Lee Radizwill (Calista Flockhart), and Joanne Carson (Molly Ringwald). It used to include Ann Woodward (Demi Moore), but their falling out over his telling of her story has caused ripples.

Capote is struggling for inspiration, in need of money and drinking heavily. His friend, Jack Dunphy (Joe Mantello), convinces him that the best fodder for his next book is the sordid lives of his high society friends. When he uses that as inspiration—thinly veiled with fake names—it causes a stir and creates a rift that threatens to remove him from his high society friend circles.

You Should Try It If: You’re a fan of the anthology series, like stories about Truman Capote, enjoy period dramas, or just like a good scandal.

One Man’s Opinion of Feud: Capote vs The Swans

I remember the first installment of Feud, which focused on the professional and personal rivalry between Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) and Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon). That installment featured a more direct input from Murphy, who wrote the script and directed in the series. This second installment was adapted by Jon Robin Baitz, based on the novel by Laurence Learner, and Gus Van Sant directed the first two episodes, which released last week.

There’s a big and impressive cast here. The ladies at the heart of the story do a nice job, while Watts is the main focus of the first two episodes. I also thought Hollander did a nice job capturing the eccentric mannerisms, style, and voice of Capote. The period look and the production values are also quite high.

But with installments of this and other of these anthology series, your mileage may vary based on how you feel about the story. A soap operatic tale of in-fighting in high society isn’t particularly my cup of tea. While the first two episodes featured some interesting moments, there wasn’t enough of a hook for me to be taken with the overall arc of the narrative to stick with an eight-episode season. But if this kind of scandalous drama is right in your wheelhouse, you’ll be pleased to see another edition of Feud available on the small screen!

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