Television Show Review: Flint Town

Flint Town

Flint Town created by Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper, and Jessica Dimmock (Netflix, ZC/DC, Anonymous Content) It’s a Big World After All It can be so easy to label that which is different as other. The vagaries of life require our focus. Work, family, play. It can be easy to see the world only as large as the number of Facebook friends. But, we live in a big world. And the people in that world work and recreate. But they are also different, distant. So, by distance and by tradition these people become separate, not like us. A Window into the Life of Another Flint Town is a fascinating documentary because it shines a light on two subsets easy to define… Read More →

Television Show Review: Westworld: Season 2

Westworld Season 2

Westworld: Season 2 created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (HBO, Bad Robot, Jerry Weintraub Productions, Kilter Films) Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Angela Sarafyan, Tessa Thompson, Luke Hemsworth, Simon Quarterman, Shannon Woodward, Talulah Riley, Rodrigo Santoro, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Ben Barnes, and Jimmi Simpson. It’s All Greek to Me When I was working on my undergraduate degree, I made the mistake of minoring in Greek. Scratch that. Having completed the degree, I don’t consider it a mistake. During my studies, however, it was definitely a mistake. Ancient Greek is a tricky subject. Unlike English where verb tense gives the reader context between past, present, and future—and the placement of the… Read More →

Television Show Review: Evil Genius

Evil Genius

Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist created by Barbara Schroeder (Netflix, Duplass Brothers Productions) Starring Trey Borzillieri. On True Crime Formatting The success of true crime rests in creating doubt in the viewer’s mind. Typically, the format must follow two paths. One, is someone innocent and the system has failed them? Or second, a successful format outlines the abuse of power. Here, someone is clearly guilty, but wealth and status keep him or her from just desserts. Evil Genius operates as flawed yet still interesting programming between these two formats. The criminals in the story committed the crime. We don’t have any doubt there. Likewise, these people aren’t a part of a ruling class where… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Americans: Season 6

The Americans Season 6

The Americans: Season 6 created by Joseph Weisberg (FX Networks, Amblin Television, DreamWorks Television) Starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich, Costa Ronin, Lev Gorn, Brandon J. Dirden, and Margo Martindale. The Typical Script The anti-hero drama follows a tried-and-true script. Main character breaks bad, for certain clearly defined reasons. The viewer can sympathize with the anti-hero’s position. If written well, the anti-hero possesses rock-solid motivations and even though a viewer might cringe at the challenging elements of the character (you know, murder et al), the viewer roots for the anti-hero even if this person is “bad.” Given this script, the conclusion of such narrative must include just desserts. If the anti-hero doesn’t pay for his… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Terror: Season 1

The Terror Season 1

The Terror: Season 1 created by David Kajganich (EMJAG Productions, Entertainment 360, Scot Free Productions, AMC) Starring Jared Harris, Ciarán Hinds, Tobias Menzies, Paul Ready, Adam Nagaitis, Ian Hart, Christos Lawson, and Nive Nielsen. Structural Integrity Is structure enough to save us? As the adage goes, the times of chaos—the proverbial moment where things fall apart—these moments surface long-held, dormant instincts. We don’t know who we really are until we face these moments of bedlam. It seems true. We all can look back to those moments of high stress and remember certain people snapping, certain people withering, and others rising to the challenge. Taken as a given, we believe structure to be the antidote. If training can kick in during… Read More →

Television Show Review: Barry: Season 1

Barry Season 1

Barry: Season 1 created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader (HBO) Starring Bill Hader, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, Glenn Fleshler, Anthony Carrigan, Henry Winkler, and Paula Newsome. Hi-Ho It’s Off to Work We Go Hollywood’s depiction of work always seems off. People lounge around for breakfast, and then work all day. And they seem to like it. Newsflash: most people are not happy with their work and want some sort of outlet to channel frustrations and passions. Now, some people truly love what they do. And when that happens, they still must account for the stress of a competitive marketplace. Most people don’t relax on their weekdays. Somebody out there is working hard to steal that job, that client, that… Read More →

Television Show Review: Atlanta: Robbin’ Season

Atlanta Robbin Season

Atlanta: Robbin’ Season created by Donald Glover (FX Productions and MGM Entertainment) Starring Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield, and Zazie Beetz. This Is America The moment the bullet flies, the video transcends the normal drivel of moving images set to music. The sunny, joyful timbres of vocal runs and acoustic guitars shift into trap/industrial beats, good moods becoming a somber affair. Donald Glover’s “This is America” is a window into the stylistic preferences of Donald Glover and Hiro Murai, writing and directing many tones of Atlanta. The lived-experience is equal parts comedy and tragedy, just like “This Is America” is equal parts exaltation and dirge-like. Life isn’t ever just one thing, and Atlanta reinforces this concept in its… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Last Man on Earth: Season 4

The Last Man on Earth Season 4

The Last Man on Earth: Season 4 created by Will Forte (The Si Fi Company, Lord Miller, 20th Century Fox Television) Starring Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, January Jones, Mel Rodriguez, Cleopatra Coleman, and Mary Steenburgen. *Spoiler Alert* Let’s Begin Some Thought Experiments Do we really change? The passage of time seems to gives us new perspectives, to the point it seems like we’re different. But is that really a change? Or is it rather a better understanding of who we really are? So do we change and if so, how much? This question rests over what turns out to be the final episode of this oddball series. It also accurately examines the effectiveness and value of shifting storytelling. The Last… Read More →

Television Show Review: Santa Clarita Diet: Season 2

Santa Clarita Diet Season 2

Santa Clarita Diet: Season 2 created by Victor Fresco (Netflix, Garfield Grove Products, KatCo, Kapital Entertainment) Starring Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skyler Gisondo, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Richard T. Jones, Natalie Morales, Ramona Young, and Nathan Fillion. Functional Marriage When considering the decades of data sources from the annals of scripted television, it almost feels like the most difficult relationship to depict is a functioning marriage. For the most part, it seems as if the spousal relationship fits within one of two buckets. In one bucket, the relationship appears antagonistic. Indicative of the sitcom stereotype, husband and wife snipe at each other. The stasis of the genre requires the marriage to last the entire series, but the humor builds… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

American Crime Story The Assassination of Gianni Versace

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story created by Ryan Murphy (FX, Ryan Murphy Productions, Color Force) Starring Édgar Ramírez, Darren Criss, Ricky Martin, Penélope Cruz, Judith Light, Finn Wittrock, Joanna P. Adler, Jon Jon Briones, Mike Farrell, Cody Fern, and Max Greenfield. Do Not Kill I’m not planning on becoming a serial killer. Seriously, never. But I find the most recent anthologized story on the assassination of Gianni Versace to paint a quasi-sympathetic portrait of a killer. Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) was a terrible person, and the Memento-style reverse storytelling technique ensures you see the worst of Andrew first. But Andrew’s back story is somewhat tragic. A product of his circumstances, he can never quite feel like he… Read More →