Television Show Review: Altered Carbon: Season 1

Altered Carbon Season 1

Altered Carbon: Season 1 created by Laeta Kalogridis (Netflix, Mythology Entertainment, Skydance Television) Starring Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy, Martha Higareda, Chris Conner, Dichen Lachman, Ato Essandoh, Kristin Lehman, Trieu Tran, Hiro Kanagawa, and Waleed Zuaiter. Let’s Begin Some Thought Experiments Every thought experiment in philosophy begins with a hypothetical. What if we all exist as brains in a vat? What if orange doesn’t exist? What if we never die? Fun, right? If we were brains in a vat, might life feel exactly the same, if images still project scene by scene on our consciousness? How can we know for sure? Better yet, would it even matter? Some philosophers suggest if we have no epistemological foundation for denying it, how could… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Good Place: Season 2

The Good Place Season 2

The Good Place: Season 2 created by Michael Schur (NBC, Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment, Universal Television) Starring Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Caden, Manny Jacinto, Marc Evan Jackson, and Ted Danson. Do We Owe Each Other? What do we owe each other? Day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. Our actions emerge in the context of relationships to others. Our decisions determine our relational orbits. The choices of a parent influence the expectations of life for the child. The management style of the boss alters the psyche of the employee. So, what do we owe each other when our decisions influence each other so greatly? Well, any movement forward, with even an ounce of empathy,… Read More →

Television Show Review: Mosaic

Mosaic

Mosaic: Limited Series created by Steven Soderbergh (HBO) Starring Sharon Stone, Devin Ratray, Garrett Hedlund, Frederick Weller, James Ransone, Jennifer Ferrin, Zandy Hartig, Jeremy Bobb, Paul Reubens, Maya Kazan, and Beau Bridges. Puzzling Were I to posit a guess about why people cling to the murder mystery genre, I would begin my thesis with a statement about the unifying human desire to complete a puzzle. While some might not have the patience for the 1,000-piece behemoth, everyone finds satisfaction in connecting one piece to another and contributing to the bigger picture. And who doesn’t like the feeling when the last piece situates in its God-given home? The murder mystery exemplifies our fixation on assembling the puzzle. It visualizes each piece… Read More →

Television Show Review: Big Little Lies: Season 1

Big Little Lies Season 1

Big Little Lies: Season 1 created by David E. Kelley (HBO, Blossom Films, David E. Kelley Productions, Pacific Standard) Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, James Tupper, Iain Armitage, and Ivy George. For Such a Time as This Our society faces a much-needed reckoning. While many stray moments of light escape through the fissures and cracks, the moment for my genesis of understanding the shifting cultural view of harassment emerges with the release of the Ray Rice video. A star NFL running back, Rice faced some backlash when a domestic violence incident bubbled up during the nascent story cycles of the NFL offseason. As with many instances before this one, the… Read More →

Television Show Review: Black Mirror: Season 4

Black Mirror Season 4

Black Mirror: Season 4 created by Charlie Booker (Netflix, Zeppotron, Channel 4) Starring Jesse Plemons, Cristin Milioti, Jimmi Simpson, Rosemarie DeWitt, Brenna Harding, Andrea Riseborough, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Georgina Campbell, Joe Cole, Maxine Peake, Douglas Hodge, and Letitia Wright. Normative Questions of Technology Recently, comedian Kumail Nanjiani, Star of The Big Sick and Silicon Valley, launched a viral thread on Twitter. As an actor in a comedy focused on tech culture, Nanjiani has access to many tech startups in Silicon Valley. Usually, such a relationship represents a nice you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-your-back scenario. While Nanjiani researches the culture to better perform his role; these tech firms get to wow employees and bring in notable people to increase morale. But recently, Nanjiani’s relationship with… Read More →

Television Show Review: Mindhunter: Season 1

Mindhunter Season 1

Mindhunter: Season 1 created by Joe Penhall (Netflix, Denver and Delilah Productions, Panic Pictures) Starring Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Hannah Gross, Anna Torv, and Cameron Britton. Considering Firsts Who was the first person to make a sandwich? Why did he or she bother with creating all those layers and when did the realization dawn on here that she had discovered something monumental? Honestly, cheers to all the people who tried the poisonous combinations that lead us to our culinary masterpieces. It doesn’t happen often, but those eureka moments are special. You can send thoughts in orbit around your head as you try to arrange the puzzle pieces the right way. Time and time again the pieces don’t seem to fit;… Read More →

Television Show Review: Mr. Robot: Season 3

Mr Robot Season 3

Mr. Robot: Season 3 created by Sam Esmail (USA, Universal Cable Productions, Anonymous Content) Starring Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, Martin Wallström, Carly Chaikin, Michael Cristofer, Grace Gummer, Stephanie Corneliussen, BD Wong, Sunita Mani, Azhar Khan, and Omar Metwally. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* In the End You’re Just Fighting Yourself During a critical hour in a rehabilitated Season 3 of Mr. Robot, a weary protagonist runs down a hallway attempting to thwart a terrorist attack. In pursuit, the antagonist attempts to wrestle our hero to the ground in time for the attacks to commence. In any normal show, this scene unravels with standard tropes, dialogue, and fight-scene choreography. But given the psychological drama of Mr. Robot, protagonist and… Read More →

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 →