Television Show Review: Crashing: Season 2

Crashing Season 2

Crashing: Season 2 created by Pete Holmes (HBO, Apatow Productions) Starring Pete Holmes, Artie Lange, George Basil, Lauren Lapkus, and Jamie Lee. Christians of a Particular Background For Christians of a particular background, life as a twenty-something represents a reckoning. The belief system around which life operates through school and youth group begins to crack and fissure. The world changes. Simple and straightforward answers blend into a gray stew. What used to be obvious about the way things work—the way we ought to live—transitions as novel ideas and new people enter your life. These conflicts shoot Christians in a variety of directions, like a centrifugal force pummeling Christ followers with unbearable g-forces before they fly away. Some Christians bear down… 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: 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 →

Television Show Review: Game of Thrones: Season 7

Game of Thrones Season 7

Game of Thrones: Season 7 created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO, Television 360, Grok! Studio) Starring Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Iain Glen, Alfie Allen, John Bradley, Aidan Gillen, Conleth Hill, Gwendoline Christie, Liam Cunningham, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Jerome Flynn, Nathalie Emmanuel, Rory McCann, Carice van Houten, Kristofer Hivju, and Jacob Anderson. Narrative Rules Collectively, the human condition adapts and upholds the cultural lens of narrative rules. Much like a toddler listening to parents for months on end, picking up and parsing new words every day during the gradual transformation to understanding, so too does the consumer of pop culture begin to comprehend the structure and formatting of story…. Read More →

Television Show Review: Silicon Valley: Season 4

Silicon Valley Season 4

Silicon Valley: Season 4 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. One Step Forward. Two Steps Backward. Season 4 of Silicon Valley offers more of the same. If you like the template of one step forward, two steps backward, this show has enough humor to satisfy you. It makes me chuckle. That’s good enough for me.

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: 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: 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 →