Television Show Review: Fargo: Season 3

Fargo Season 3

Fargo: Season 3 created by Noah Hawley (FX, MGM Television) Starring Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, David Thewlis, Michael Stuhlbarg, Goran Bogdan, Shea Whigham, Andy Yu, Ray Wise, and Olivia Sandoval. The Problem of Success Success often creates new problems. The lottery winner quickly encounters a relational shift with family and friends. When money enters the equation, relationships transform from intrinsic to instrumental quickly. Success in television also causes problematic tension. Does the show lean on the elements that launched it into the stratosphere? Or, does the show use its acclaim to expand its creativity? Season 3 of Fargo, aims for the latter. The Fargo Template In truth, Fargo holds an air-tight template. As an homage to the… Read More →

Television Show Review: Master of None: Season 2

Master of None Season 2

Master of None: Season 2 created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang (3 Arts Entertainment, Universal Television, Netflix, Alan Yang Pictures) Starring Aziz Ansari, Eric Wareheim, Lena Waithe, Kelvin Yu, Alessandra Mastronardi, Shoukath Ansari, Bobby Cannavale, and Fatima Ansari. Transcending Form Art seemingly seeks a state of barrierlessness. The best art often works to transcend its form. A basic melody becomes a harmony. A hero to anti-hero. A cave drawing to Impressionism. While we cling to elements of the familiar—atonal music is a bridge too far to cross and a story needs a beginning, middle, and an end—familiarity breeds contempt. Given the orbit of boringness linked to familiarity, the pushing of art may likely link closely to the desire to… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Leftovers: Season 3

The Leftovers Season 3

The Leftovers: Season 3 created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta (HBO, Film 44, Warner Bros. Television) Starring Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Kevin Carrol, Jovan Adepo, and Scott Glenn. Yin and Yang The most beautiful aspects of life aren’t necessarily the ones that lead to the most happiness. I’ve always been struck by the symbiotic relationship between elements, to the point where the definition of one exists only as the opposite of another. The classic yin to the yang. Light has meaning only in comparison to darkness. Darkness is an absence of light. The qualities of goodness glean meaning in contrast to elements of evil. And so it is with happiness. We cherish happiness because we… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Americans: Season 5

The Americans Season 5

The Americans: Season 5 created by Joseph Weisberg (FX, Amblin Television, DreamWorks Television) Starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich, Costa Ronin, Brandon J. Dirden, Frank Langella, Kelly AuCoin, and Margo Martindale. The Whole World Is Talking ‘Bout Russia Quick. Open a tab in your browser and navigate to your preferred news source. For those in the present—can’t say how long this site will last—the headlines of your online periodical will meet one of two criteria. The mainstream and liberal sources likely have an article about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. The conservative sites? They are likely talking about the deep state and conspiracies spun around Russia to discredit Trump. The common denominator? Russia. Given this… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Keepers

The Keepers

The Keepers created by Ryan White (Netflix, Film 45, Tripod Media) Starring Gemma Hoskins, Abbie Schaub, Jean Hargadon Wehner, and Teresa Lancaster. Obedience The experiments of Stanley Milgram will go down in history. The mid-century social scientist struck a nerve in society with his groundbreaking study titled, “Obedience.” The study placed its subjects in a stressful situation. The subject received instruction stating he would act as a “teacher.” Milgram walked a “student” to a separate room where the “student” gets hooked to a shock generator. Unbeknownst to the “teacher,” the “student” is an actor and won’t be getting shocked. As the “teacher” returns to the original room, Milgram places the him at an impressive looking instrument that looks like a… Read More →

Television Show Review: Girls: Season 6

Girls Season 6

Girls: Season 6 created by Lena Dunham (HBO, Apatow Productions) Starring Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Adam Driver, Zosia Mamet, Alex Karpovsky, Andrew Rannells, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach. A Voice of a Generation It’s probably Girls’ own fault, but it sure has received backlash over the years. Search the series on Twitter and you’ll likely find numerous opinions on the subject. Perhaps people feel threatened by the confident form of feminism from its creator, Lena Dunham. Maybe people find the lack of diversity concerning. Some may argue about the backdrop, New York City, and the relative affluence of the cast push people away. And for some, the perception of Millennials, entitlement, and the overarching assumption behind the title to suggest… Read More →

Television Show Review: Crashing: Season 1

Crashing Season 1

Crashing: Season 1 created by Pete Holmes (HBO, Apatow Productions) Starring Pete Holmes, Lauren Lapkus, Artie Lange, and George Basil. The World Probably Doesn’t Need Another Autobiographical Show about a White Guy, But I Need this Show I know. I know. The autobiographical comedy based on a comedians’ point of view possesses no critical addition to the cultural milieu. Much like the rise of anti-hero drama in the 2000s, the autobiographical comedy has many reference points, chief of which emerges in the acclaimed series Louie highlighting the life of Louis C.K. And yet, Crashing, the vehicle for Pete Holmes’ rise into the comedy world resonates with my life to a point where I am glad it airs, despite its well-tread… Read More →

Television Show Review: Legion: Season 1

Legion Season 1

Legion: Season 1 created by Noah Hawley (20th Century Fox Television, 26 Keys Production, Bad Hat Harry Productions) Starring Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Irwin, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Katie Aselton, Jean Smart, Mackenzie Gray, and Jemaine Clement. Unreliable Narrator We are inherently unreliable. Our memories paint impressionistically over our past, providing general concepts without the detail. I often think of my memories and how they tend to trigger in conjunction with senses. A specific smell, sound, or taste can transport me to the past. But that’s about it. Recalling the past fails when minute detail becomes a requirement. I don’t remember who wore what, what time of day it was, other interested parties sitting on the periphery… Read More →

Television Show Review: Santa Clarita Diet: Season 1

Santa Clarita Diet Season 1

Santa Clarita Diet: Season 1 created by Victor Fresco (Garfield Grove Productions, KatCo, Olybomb Productions) Starring Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skyler Gisondo, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Richard T. Jones, and Ricardo Chavira. Better Off Dead My favorite comedy series lasted one year. Then, the powers that be took it to the woodshed; they dismantled the parts and sold them for scrap. Some suits in Hollywood didn’t even give it a shot. Where most critically acclaimed comedies require time for audiences to gain footing with the particular concept, the long-game can pay off. Seinfeld anyone? Alas, Better Off Ted had no such benefactor, no such benefit of the doubt. And so, the zany workplace comedy got recycled, thrown into the… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Young Pope: Season 1

The Young Pope

The Young Pope: Season 1 created by Paolo Sorrentino (Wildside, Haut et Court, Mediapro) Starring Jude Law, Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando, Javier Cámara, Scott Shepherd, Cécile De France, Ludivine Sagnier, and James Cromwell. Let’s Go to the Vatican! I have yet to traverse the globe. My wife and I want to travel; we plan to do so once the kids are out of the house. When we go, I want to see history. I look forward to walking along cobblestone streets in places where people have strolled for centuries before me. When I think about Rome, the Coliseum emerges as a destination. But I might consider the Vatican to be the highest target. The amount of history, the art, the… Read More →