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 →

Television Show Review: Vinyl: Season 1

Vinyl Season 1

Vinyl: Season 1 created by Rich Cohen, Mick Jagger, and Martin Scorsese (Paramount Television, Sikelia Productions, Jagged Films) Starring Bobby Cannavale, Paul Ben-Victor, P. J. Byrne, Max Casella, Ato Essandoh, James Jagger, J. C. MacKenzie, Jack Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Juno Temple, and Ray Ramano. Design Failure In my line of work, we like to discuss the weight of organizational identity. In particular, the visual mark of a company cannot carry the entire strategic sensibility of the business. If a logo represents every last detail of the organization, it will crumble under the pressure. The design will fail. For this reason, I think of logos when I consider the effectiveness of HBO’s Vinyl. At its core, Vinyl depicts the shifting music… Read More →

Television Show Review: House of Cards: Season 4

House of Cards Season 4

House of Cards: Season 4 created by Beau Willimon (Media Rights Capital, Panic Pictures, Trigger Street Productions, Netflix) Starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Nathan Darrow, Mahersala Ali, Molly Parker, Jayne Atkinson, and Elizabeth Marvel. All Hail the Death of Political Drama Political drama is dead. We have killed it. Over the previous three seasons of House of Cards, the Achilles’ heel of an addictive show emerged in its suspension of disbelief. The viewer can only go so far before the murder, betrayal, and political scheming becomes absurd. And yet, our current political climate suggests we aren’t going far enough to push the absurdity of our political drama. Granted, none of our current Presidential runners go to the depths… Read More →

Television Show Review: American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson

American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson

American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson created by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (20th Century Fox Productions, Ryan Murphy Productions, Color Force) Starring Sterling K. Brown, Kenneth Choi, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Christian Clemenson, Bruce Greenwood, Nathan Lane, Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer, John Travolta, and Courtney B. Vance. But a Quarter We are but a quarter into 2016 and I would suggest the current cultural milieu continues to ask questions about the meaning of justice and diversity in our modern age. Perhaps in part to the demagogues running for president, society asks questions about non-white perspectives on the world. What does life mean for those without privilege? Culture wants this question answered. Ta-Nehisi Coates publishes a critically acclaimed… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead: Season 6

The Walking Dead Season 6

The Walking Dead: Season 6 created by Frank Darabont (AMC, Circle of Confusion, Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Emily Kinney, Danai Gurira, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Chad L. Coleman. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Execution You can have the greatest ideas in the world but if you can’t execute, what’s the point? Millions of businesses start with a great idea. The ones that last are the ones that follow through on it. The dreamers need a balanced team capable of filling in the details of the plan. The Walking Dead has always suffered from this fateful issue. Season after season, the writers attempt to balance violence and action with the… Read More →

Television Show Review: Fortitude: Season 1

Fortitude Season 1

Fortitude: Season 1 created by Simon Donald (Fifty Fathoms Productions, Sky Atlantic, Tiger Aspect Productions) Starring Sofie Gråbøl, Mia Jexen, Luke Treadaway, Richard Dormer, Verónica Echegui, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Nicholas Pinnock, Elizabeth Dormer-Philips, Darren Boyd, Sienna Guillory, Johnny Harris, Jessica Raine, Michael Gambon, Jessica Gunning, Stanley Tucci, and Darwin Brokenrbo. In Search of Isolation I’m often caught in two minds. One side of me wants to live at the heart of it all. City life means an unending conveyor belt of restaurants, concerts, and can’t-miss events. Every block offers a new city park and the concentration of human habitat allows for many friendships and communities to prosper. But, on the other hand, there’s a draw toward solitude. The bustle of… Read More →

Television Show Review: Master of None: Season 1

Master of None Season 1

Master of None: Season 1 created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang (3 Arts Entertainment, Netflix, Universal Television) Starring Aziz Ansari, Noël Wells, Lena Waithe, Eric Wareheim, Kelvin Yu, and Todd Barry. Literary Comedy Upon hearing the question, “What is it about?” how often are you able to give a concise summary of a show? The plot, more often than not, drives such a discussion. The chemistry teacher turns to cooking meth. A handful of families wage war against each other to take hold of the iron throne. Comedy, though, tends to abstain from plot-heavy storytelling. Some shows tell stories in long narrative arcs, but many also use a handful of situations to generate comedy. These sitcoms remove character complexity,… Read More →