Television Show Review: Spy

Spy: Series One created by Simeon Goulden (Hat Trick Productions, 2011.) Starring Darren Boyd, Jude Wright, and Robert Lindsay. Same Old Story You’ve assuredly heard the story before. Man gets divorced, wife hates him, and son has the sarcastic and sardonic wit of a 45 year-old. He works a dead end job at a computer store, all the while unaware that he is a failure. Or, maybe you haven’t heard the story. Created by writer Simeon Goulden, Spy is a new brand of television. It was created explicitly to be aired on the BBC digital-only channel, Sky 1. The resulting Hulu release in America is the American response to the innovation. Silly Spy Spoof The basic premise of the television… Read More →

Television Show Review: Whites

Whites directed by David Kerr (British Broadcasting Corporation. 2010) Starring Alan Davies, Darren Boyd, and Katherine Parkinson. Celebrity Chefdom In a world where Gordon Ramsay rules, Anthony Bourdain sarcastically entertains, and celebrity chefdom somehow continues to rise, it was only a matter of time before a comedy in the culinary world would emerge to please the masses. I was thrilled to see Whites arrive. But, I was equally as disappointed to see it quickly vanish, cancelled after one season. Based in Reality Roland White (Alan Davies) had a seemingly promising career ahead of him. Alas, he is now a past-his-prime chef in a dead-end restaurant, at the White House Hotel. Roland is a gifted-but-lazy chef. The show’s writer, Matt King,… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Pitch

The Pitch directed by Philip Lott (Studio Lambert. Premiers Monday, April 30 on AMC.) Mad Men as Reality TV Even though I savor the subtle intricacies of character development in AMC’s Mad Men, I can understand how one could be drawn to the business of advertising depicted in the show. With storyboards and persuasive language, the employees of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce seek to persuade by creativity. With this aspect acting as the foundation of AMC’s most famous show, there is no wonder AMC developed The Pitch, a documentary-style reality television series highlighting two rival ad agencies competing for a client. Competition: The Core of Capitalism  In the sneak peak episode, ad agencies McKinney and WDCW fight over the next… Read More →

Television Show Review: Awake

 Awake created by Kyle Killen (Letter Eleven, Teakwood Lane Productions, 20th Century Fox Television. Airs Thursday night on NBC.) Starring Jason Isaacs, Laura Allen, and Dylan Minnette. Cogito Ergo Sum  René Descartes seemingly graces the annals of history exclusively for the quote, “I think; therefore I am.” The sentence is an answer on a high school history quiz; it is chiseled in the foundations of university philosophy departments. Unhooked from its preceding line of reasoning on the pursuit of epistemological truth, the sentence sounds painfully obvious. By positing that thinking is his conclusive proof of his existence, Descartes asserts that all other sensory experience might be false. As such, the all-too-familiar notion of a realistic dream offers questions. If a… Read More →

Television Show Review: Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire: Season One created by Terence Winter (Home Box Office, Leverage Management, Closest to the Hole Productions) Starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, and Kelly Macdonald. In Praise of the Anti-Hero  Not to say that the anti-hero is a recent development in storytelling, but it seems like the last ten years have seen a rise in the flawed protagonist. Whether Dexter Morgan in Dexter, Walter White in Breaking Bad, or Don Draper in Mad Men, many current shows extol depravity and require the viewer to root for the “bad guy”. Boardwalk Empire’s Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is another character to add to this list. Boardwalk Empire: Season One tells the tale of prohibition-era Atlantic City and the politician who… Read More →

Television Show Review: Dexter: Season 6

Dexter: Season 6 developed by James Manos, Jr. (Showtime Networks, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company) Starring Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Vélez, David Zayas, James Remar, and C.S. Lee. I Might Be an Anglophile Without intentionally positioning myself as an anglophile, I appreciate the reserve under which English television operates. No matter how massive the hit, English writers and producers understand that quality trumps quantity. As such, these television professionals would rather sacrifice paychecks than integrity. Not so in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Case in point, the best episodes of Showtime’s hit series, Dexter, exist in its rear-view mirror. With Season 6, the viewer continues on a plot development holding pattern. The setting remains the same—a… Read More →

Television Show Review: Once Upon a Time: Season 1

Once Upon a Time: Season 1 created by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (Kitsis/Horowitz, and ABC Studios, airs Saturday nights at 8/7c on ABC Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, and Lana Parrilla Why Fairy Tales All of a Sudden? Last week I reviewed the television program Grimm. Naturally, I thought it appropriate to review its ABC rival, Once Upon a Time. Both shows are incredibly alike in that they use common fairy tales as a point of reference. However, the two could not be any more different. The creation of both seems to coincide with fantasy, a niche market, achieving widespread popularity. Since an adaptation of Harry Potter and Twilight means paying lots of money for the rights to broadcasting… Read More →

Television Show Review: Grimm

Grimm: Season 1 created by Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, and Jim Kouf  (Universal Television, GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, and Open 4 Bisiness Productions, LLC, airs Friday nights at 9/8c on NBC) Starring David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz, and Reggie Lee The Grimm of Old Historically, the Brothers Grimm collected folklore and published these stories in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. With fairy tales acting as an oral tradition, the Grimm brothers met with people to write down their stories. Being an oral tradition, fairy tales obviously varied from town to town, and the stories from the Germanic origin were much darker. For instance, in the Grimm version of Cinderella, the evil step sisters chop off their… Read More →

Television Show Review: Breaking Bad: Seasons 1-3

Breaking Bad: Seasons 1-3 created by Vince Gilligan (High Bridge Productions, Gran Via Productions, and Sony Pictures Television) Starring Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and Aaron Paul. Dexter Morgan vs. Walter White As I watched the first three seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix, I couldn’t help but compare the series to Dexter, television’s other critically acclaimed series featuring a protagonist with dark secrets. Where Dexter Morgan is a serial killer vigilante, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is a down-on-his-luck chemistry teacher who utilizes his scientific expertise to cook methamphetamines. Although it may sound astonishing, I argue that Dexter functions as a more likeable character than Walt. In spite of its dark content, Dexter carries an air of levity. In between murders,… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: Season Two created by Frank Darabont; produced by Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Robert Kirkman, and Charles H. Eglee (Circle of Confusion and Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, and Chandler Riggs. A Premature Review Partly because I’m currently engaged in some lengthy books and need to post some content, I am reviewing the current season of The Walking Dead despite the fact that it is early in its second season. As I mentioned in my review of the show last year, I am not a fan of the zombie genre. Yet, the more I consider the subtext beneath these post-apocalyptic narratives, the more the genre… Read More →