Television Show Review: The Good Place: Season 1

The Good Place - Season 1

The Good Place: Season 1 created by Michael Schur (Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment, Universal Television) Starring Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, and Manny Jacinto. Simmering Craters Since Lost, network television has left a simmering crater of paint-by-numbers drivel. I speak hyperbolically, but solid programming is few and far between on the networks. Even of the network shows we watch in my household, most have clear deficiencies stomached for the greater good of television consumption. Sadly, the best and most promising network shows are not long for this world. The further away from the surreal mysteries of Lost, the more promising series die after fledgling glimpses of promise. In fact, after too many burns, I’ve… Read More →

Television Show Review: Westworld: Season 1

westworld-season-1

Westworld: Season 1 created by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan (Home Box Office, Bad Robot, Jerry Weintraub Productions, Kilter Films) Starring Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Luke Hemsworth, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Angela Sarafyan, Jimmi Simpson, and Rodrigo Santoro. The Nature of Consciousness Philosophers like to have fun too. Even if most people believe the philosopher ponders obscure, high level concepts like epistemology or ontology, there’s never been a thought experiment a philosopher hasn’t loved. Typically, these illustrations emerge in the entry-level courses. What better way to capture the mind of a student than introductory mind puzzles? Can we prove our mind isn’t functioning in a basement-level vat of fluids? (Depends on your… Read More →

Television Show Review: Atlanta: Season 1

Atlanta Season 1

Atlanta: Season 1 created by Donald Glover (FX Productions) Starring Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, Keith Stanfield, and Zazie Beetz. #OscarsSoWhite Last year’s Oscar nominees commenced a necessary conversation around representation. Despite many worthy submissions from minority candidates, the prestige categories saw no nominees. For people in the old guard, the line of reasoning stays consistent: the best quality programming is nominated, regardless of color. If quality is quality, the cream rises to the top and representation will happen, providing the content merits consideration. And yet, the counter argument holds weight. I first encountered the idea from Vox critic Todd VanDerWerff. In essence, diversity is required to allow for the most interesting stories to be told. The old guard will… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Night Of

The Night Of

The Night Of created by Richard Price and Steven Zallian (BBC Worldwide Productions, HBO, Film Rites) Starring Riz Ahmed, Peyman Moaadi, Poorna Jagannathan, John Turturro, Jeannie Berlin, Paul Sparks, Amara Karan, Bill Camp, and Michael Kenneth Williams. Put the Kettle On Surprise! The systems around which you operate influence you. Example: I work with a British expatriate. My lexicon now skews toward sayings like “Put the kettle on” instead of “Boil water” and “Two weeks’ time” instead of “Two weeks from now.” It’s a small example but it goes to show how external influences alter who we are, how we act, and what we believe. When it comes to murder mysteries, most narrative arcs focus on the “whodunnit” aspect of… Read More →

Television Show Review: Stranger Things: Season 1

Stranger Things Season 1

Stranger Things: Season 1 created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre) Starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Noah Schnapp, and Cara Buono. With Age As a parent I’ve achieved equilibrium. I don’t mention this to suggest I have my life all lined up and perfectly balanced. Such a position is a work of sanctification for which I constantly strive. But, I do get to see the other side of the coin. As a dad, I see the world anew. When I was a child, I thought of childish things. I had a sense of play and curiosity. As a burgeoning young adult, I thought I… Read More →

Television Show Review: Preacher: Season 1

Preacher Season 1

Preacher: Season 1 created by Evan Goldberg, Sam Catlin, and Seth Rogen (AMC Studios, DC Entertainment) Starring Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga, Lucy Griffiths, W. Earl Brown, Derek Wilson, Ian Colletti, Tom Brooke, Anatol Yusef, Graham McTavish, and Jackie Earle Haley. Taking On the Razor It’s time to fight. I’m not much of a brawler, but Occam’s Razor needs a sucker punch. Hyperbolically speaking of course. While the razor represents an interesting device pointed toward simplicity whenever the opportunity presents itself, I’m increasingly convinced that life operates at an increased distance from this principle. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to use said razor in a scenario where two competing explanations of one phenomenon include a far simpler version. But… Read More →

Television Show Review: Silicon Valley: Season 3

Silicon Valley Season 3

Silicon Valley: Season 3 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. *SPOILER ALERT FOR PREVIOUS SEASONS* Business Got Problems While not every job requires similar levels of commitment, skill, and knowledge, I would venture a guess that any job with career-focus includes a high level of stress and multiple problems to solve. For every stride of progress, a new challenge emerges. A multi-national corporation wants to sell your product. On the one hand, hooray! That’s money, money, money. On the other hand, your company needs to scale,… Read More →

Television Show Review: Games of Thrones: Season 6

Game of Thrones Season 6

Game of Thrones: Season 6 created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO, Television 360, Grok!) Starring Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Iain Glen, John Bradley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Alfie Allen, Aidan Gillen, Conleth Hill, Jerome Flynn, Gwendoline Christie, Ian McElhinney, Stephen Dillane, Natalie Dormer, Carice van Houten, and Iwan Rheon. *SPOILER ALERT FOR PREVIOUS SEASONS* Lapping the Source Material We live in spectacular times. For the first time in the history of storytelling, an adapted story laps its source. When Game of Thrones began its reign at HBO, George R.R. Martin provided his showrunners with years of material. His Song of Ice and Fire began in the mid-nineties and the successive books, tomes… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Last Man on Earth: Season 2

The Last Man on Earth Season 2

The Last Man on Earth: Season 2 created by Will Forte (Si Fi Company, Lord Miller, 20th Century Fox Television) Starring Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, January Jones, Mel Rodriguez, Cleopatra Coleman, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Sudeikis, and Boris Kodjoe. *SPOILER ALERT FOR PREVIOUS SEASONS* Can the End of the World Last? The extermination of humanity shouldn’t be funny. Yet, Season 1 of The Last Man on Earth took a high-concept premise about a future dystopia in the wake of a global pandemic and weaves a humorous story about self-centeredness and the need for other people. While much of its success emerges from its premise, the longevity of the series was my lasting question mark. Is it even possible to tell a… Read More →