Television Review: House of Cards: Season 1

House of Cards: Season 1 developed and produced by Beau Willimon (Media Rights Capital, Panic Pictures, Trigger Street Productions, Netflix) Starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Kate Mara, and Corey Stoll. Welcome to the Future of Television I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complained about cable. For me, an avid sports fan and a connoisseur of shows with more depth than network television can offer, I would probably only pay for sports channels and AMC if I had a choice. But I don’t. It’s either all or nothing, and at this point I go for all just to get something. But what if television could be an entirely different endeavor? What if you could pay for what… Read More →

Television Show Review: 30 Rock: Season 7

30 Rock: Season 7 created by Tina Fey (Broadway Video, Little Stranger, NBC Studios) Starring Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Jack McBrayer. The Next Home Improvement I can’t help but consider Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants, while thinking about Season 7 of 30 Rock. In her memoir, Fey admits the goal of her critically acclaimed NBC series was not to become an indie hit—or critically acclaimed for that matter. Instead, Fey hoped for the next Home Improvement, a ratings smash that was funny, but first and foremost, a money maker viewed by the canaille. By its standards, 30 Rock failed. It never reached the highest ratings pantheon, constantly losing to the flavor-of-the-month from CBS. But to assess… Read More →

Television Show Review: Girls: Season 1

Girls: Season 1 created by Lena Dunham (Apatow Productions) Starring Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, and Zosia Mamet. A Millennial Decade for a Millennial Generation Life in the 2nd millennial decade has not been easy for the millennial generation. Twenty-somethings are stuck somewhere between adolescence and adulthood. Some relish in these circumstances, life—as in, job opportunities and serious relationships—is out of reach, so these people decide to remain childish. Others react in the opposite direction; the lack of opportunity offers many frustrations and life is in a standstill. Given these circumstances, HBO’s series, Girls, feels current and trendy with a humorous take on what the millennial generation encounters in this day and age. The Economics of an Unemployed Generation… Read More →

Television Show Review: Homeland: Season 1

Homeland: Season 1 developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Broadcasting) Starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, David Harewood, Diego Klattenhoff, Jackson Pace, Morgan Saylor, and Mandy Patinkin. The Conundrum of a Pilot When writers draft a pilot episode, they face an unenviable task. Their episode must sell the potential of a long-running and profitable television series. Network executives need a good sense of story, a robust understanding of character, and a solid grasp of the narrative potential. A pilot, to a certain extent, is a pitch. It gained enough traction to slide into production, but it has yet to gain full-scale adoption. For this reason, writers often feel compelled to dive… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead: Season 3

The Walking Dead: Season 3 created by Frank Darabont (American Movie Classics, Circle of Confusion, Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Scott Wilson. Setting Standards Since its initial airing in 2010, I’ve held The Walking Dead to a higher standard than most television shows.  For starters, the series airs on AMC, a network branded as a place for high quality acting and writing. With such sterling dramas such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead airs among the best shows on television. Second, the genre is groundbreaking. We’ve all seen our fair share of post-apocalyptic zombie films. But the nature of a… Read More →

Television Show Review: Boardwalk Empire: Season 2

Boardwalk Empire: Season Two created by Terence Winter (Home Box Office, Leverage Management, Closest to the Hole Productions) Starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, and Kelly Macdonald. Real People Do you ever feel like characters in television series lack depth? On one side, they exist as a funnel for catch phrases and pithy one-liners. On the other side, characters represent philosophical systems. Their mannerisms and dialogue feel stunted, unusual, and unreal. Why is it so difficult to write real people? Boardwalk Empire seems to do it well. The Power Play of Atlantic City Season Two begins with James “Jimmy” Darmody (Michael Pitt) conspiring with his father, the Commodore (Dabney Coleman), and Elias “Eli” Thompson (Shea Whigham) to remove Enoch “Nucky” Thompson… Read More →

Television Show Review: Doctor Who: Series 7

The Critical Importance of Relationship In my latest contribution to Fieldnotes Magazine, I explore the latest series of Doctor Who. Series 7, which began in September 2012 and will run through Spring 2013 highlights the increasing tension between The Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companions, Amy Pond (Karen Gilian) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill). In my article, I link this tension to the importance of relationship and the theological principle of being made in the image of God. “One principle becomes clear: The Doctor is alone—and his solitude has influenced his judgment. There’s much to learn much from this atrabilious narrative. Relationship is crucial to a leader’s decision making process (even if that leader is a Time Lord).” So meander over to Fieldnotes Magazine… Read More →

Television Show Review: Revolution

Revolution: Season 1 created by Eric Kripke Starring Billy Burke Tracy Spiridakos David Lyons and Graham Rogers Lights Out The new dystopian craze set forth by none other than The Hunger Games has made a new television show emerge, that I’m happy to say shows promise. The NBC television drama, Revolution depicts a world much like ours—one completely dependent on electricity. The only difference is that due to a small group of rebels, the electricity has gone out, and no one really knows why. The world is ruled by fear, and more specifically by a militia who has stockpiled supplies. Revolution’s concept is truly intriguing and fascinating. A massive milita is run by a despot who, in addition to being a less than merciless leader,… Read More →

Television Show Review: Eureka: Season 4.0

Eureka: Season 4.0 created by Andrew Cosby and Jaime Paglia (NBC Universal Television, Universal Cable Productions)  Starring Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Erica Cerra Eureka Reprised For those unfamiliar with the Syfy television series Eureka, the show documents the adventures of a former United States marshall in the not-so-quiet town of Eureka, located somewhere near Portland, Oregon. The television show lasted a total of five seasons, just now ending in the year 2012.  However, I didn’t want to merely review the last season, as the final season is inextricably tied with its predecessors, Seasons 4.0 and 4.5. The town of Eureka houses a top secret government facility in which the greatest scientific minds America has to offer reside and work.  Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) is the town’s sheriff and former United… Read More →

Television Show Review: Breaking Bad: Season 5

An Announcement I am pleased to announce that I’ll be contributing reviews occasionally for Fieldnotes Magazine, a recently launched publication providing practical wisdom for emerging leaders. A Review My first review highlights the first half of Breaking Bad: Season 5. Midway through the fifth season of Breaking Bad, a watershed moment occurs—one with familiar but important resonance for those who would lead any enterprise. Anti-hero Walter White (Bryan Cranston) sits upon a newly-established throne as the kingpin of the New Mexico methamphetamine business—merely a year removed from learning of his terminal cancer and devising an illicit plan to earn money for his family upon his passing. So check out my review and give Fieldnotes a follow, it’s an excellent source of content!