Television Show Review: Nathan for You: Season 4

Nathan for You Season 4

Nathan for You: Season 4 created by Nathan Fielder and Michael Koman (Comedy Central, Abso Lutely Productions, Blow Out Productions) Starring Nathan Fielder. The Dreams of a Lonely Man A lonely man shoulders the burdens of what is lost. A spare apartment, notable more for the material possessions it lacks rather than the collection of goods signifying a life experienced. This man, adorned in off-the-rack clothes, emits a simmering desperation, a need for connection. 78 years old, the man represents a life on the verge of completion rather than the unfulfilled dreams of youth. And those dreams echo the dreams of generations after him. They mirror the dreams of those who came before him. This man wanted to see his… Read More →

Television Show Review: Stranger Things 2

Stranger Things 2

Stranger Things: Season 2 created by the Duffer Brothers (Netflix, 21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre) Starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Joe Keery, Noah Schnaap, Joe Chrest, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, Sean Astin, and Paul Reiser. Social Commentary One tried and true social cue, at least in my playbook is the “What-are-you-watching” question. I️ pull such a question when I️ want to know more about someone new. Or, I️ even ask the question in deeply held relationships because I️ want some good recommendations for what to watch next. Recently, during a current-viewing-habits discussion, Ozark came up. As I️ often mention at during Ozark discussions, I️ reference… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Deuce: Season 1

The Deuce Season 1

The Deuce: Season 1 created by David Simon and George Pelecanos (HBO, Blown Deadline Productions) Starring James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Gary Carr, Dominique Fishback, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Margarita Levieva, Emily Meade, Method Man, Daniel Sauli, Kayla Foster, Don Harvey, Chris Bauer, Chris Coy, Natalie Paul, Michael Rispoli, Anwan Glover, and David Krumholtz. Red, White, and Blue Hot dogs. Hamburgers. Football. Country. Bourbon. Basketball. Levi’s. Budweiser. American as apple pie. When I think about the brand persona of the good ‘ol Red, White, and Blue, these are a few of its favorite things. Yet beneath these cosmetic representations of civic pride, there’s a deeper concept in the American ethos. The entrepreneurial spirit. A natural end to the “bring-me-your-poor” narrative,… Read More →

Television Show Review: BoJack Horseman: Season 4

BoJack Horesman Season 4

BoJack Horseman: Season 4 created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg (Netflix, Tornante Company, ShadowMachine) Starring Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, and Paul F. Tompkins. Onward to Positive Psychology Have you ever noticed the perspective of self-talk? While a subjective observation, it seems self-talk slides into second person. “You’re not good enough.” “Look what you did this time.” “You’re never going to make it.” As a teenager, my limited training in positive sports psychology argued for a surgical denunciation of this “other.” Often if I used the “I” pronoun and told myself I would succeed or have a good day, I would tend to have a better day. Some Christian traditions suggest the “other” as a demonic accusation of sorts,… Read More →

Television Show Review: Preacher: Season 2

Preacher Season 2

Preacher: Season 2 created by Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen (AMC, Short Drive Entertainment, Point Grey Pictures, Original Film) Starring Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga, Ian Colletti, Graham McTavish, Pip Torrens, Noah Taylor, Julie Ann Emery, Tom Brooke, and Ronald Guttman. *Spoilers for Previous Seasons* Beauty and Meaning Style and substance = nirvana. You need them both for perfection. Thinking about plotting, it seems so easy to see how writers picture an ending and organize story toward that end. Problematically, if someone isn’t involved in the main storyline, acting contracts and financial arrangements demand involvement. So, key characters enter side quests to keep them busy and more importantly for the actor, on the screen. Only until the… Read More →

Television Show Review: Game of Thrones: Season 7

Game of Thrones Season 7

Game of Thrones: Season 7 created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO, Television 360, Grok! Studio) Starring Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Iain Glen, Alfie Allen, John Bradley, Aidan Gillen, Conleth Hill, Gwendoline Christie, Liam Cunningham, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Jerome Flynn, Nathalie Emmanuel, Rory McCann, Carice van Houten, Kristofer Hivju, and Jacob Anderson. Narrative Rules Collectively, the human condition adapts and upholds the cultural lens of narrative rules. Much like a toddler listening to parents for months on end, picking up and parsing new words every day during the gradual transformation to understanding, so too does the consumer of pop culture begin to comprehend the structure and formatting of story…. Read More →

Television Show Review: Fortitude: Season 2

Fortitude Season 2

Fortitude: Season 2 created by Simon Donald (Fifty Fathoms Products, Sky Atlantic, Tiger Aspect Productions) Starring Richard Dormer, Björn Haraldsson, Sofie Gråbøl, Sienna Guillory, Mia Jexen, Luke Treadaway, Alexandra Moen, Darren Boyd, Ramon Tikaram, Ken Stott, Edvin Endre, Michelle Fairley, Dennis Quaid, Robert Sheehan, and Parminder Nagra. Best Let the Mystery Be The Christmas present, gloriously wrapped and glistening, takes on the weight of anticipation for Christmas morning. A rectangle, decorated in shiny green and maroon hues, holds a gesture of love. Someone in your family thought about you, considered your needs, remembered a passing reference to an item desired. With painstaking detail and multiple attempts at wrapping the thing, the gift transcends an object; it means relationship, love, and… Read More →

Television Show Review: House of Cards: Season 5

House of Cards Season 5

House of Cards: Season 5 created by Beau Willimon (Media Rights Capital, Panic Pictures, Trigger Street Productions, Netflix) Starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Derek Cecil, Paul Sparks, Jayne Atkinson, Boris McGiver, Neve Campbell, Joel Kinnaman, Dominique McElligott, Damian Young, Campbell Scott, and Patricia Clarkson. A Witty Header Discussing Our Current Events Well. Our political climate is something. Given my age, my awareness of political administrations runs three deep. Of course, the more recent the administration, the more I’m aware of political strategy, messaging, and foundational beliefs. So, for purposes of this review, let’s set aside Mr. Clinton. Defining an Administration The juxtaposition between Bush and Obama illustrates stark contrast. Bush operates through the next-door-neighbor brand. Setting aside conversations… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 1

The Handmaid's Tale Season 1

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 1 created by Bruce Miller (Hulu, MGM Television) Starring Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Max Minghella, Amanda Brugel, Joseph Fiennes, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, Ann Dowd, Samira Wiley, Tattiawna Jones, and Alexis Bledel. Facial Expression: A Necessary Component of Verbal Communication Most people can read the temperature of a room without hearing a word. Words have meaning, of course; it’s literally their definition. But, words often don’t communicate the entire picture. In my consulting work, we begin our projects with a series of interviews. This primary research expands on organizational story. We want to hear people talk about their work using their own words, ideas, and stories. Yet, at the same time, we want to see what’s… Read More →

Television Show Review: Silicon Valley: Season 4

Silicon Valley Season 4

Silicon Valley: Season 4 created by John Altschuler, Mike Judge, and Dave Krinsky (3 Arts Entertainment, Altschuler Krinsky Works, Judgemental Films, Inc.) Starring Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Amanda Crew, Zach Woods, Matt Ross, Suzanne Cryer, and Stephen Tobolowsky. One Step Forward. Two Steps Backward. Season 4 of Silicon Valley offers more of the same. If you like the template of one step forward, two steps backward, this show has enough humor to satisfy you. It makes me chuckle. That’s good enough for me.