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 →

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: 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: 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: 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: The Leftovers: Season 2

The Leftovers Season 2

The Leftovers: Season 2 created by Damon Lindelof (Warner Bros. Television) Starring Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Regina King, Kevin Carroll, Jovan Adepo, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Carrie Coon. *SPOILER ALERT FOR PREVIOUS SEASONS* So That You Might Believe What are the parameters of your belief? In a post-modern society, many might not consider belief to be a warranted pursuit. But, in truth, we all believe something. For the rationalist and the naturalist, that faith might connect to scientific pursuits. For others, belief might correspond with a person—the savior of a certain group, or the benefactor of another. And many channel belief into an organized religion. But at its core, faith is required… Read More →

Television Show Review: Show Me a Hero

Show Me a Hero

Show Me a Hero written by David Simon and directed by Paul Haggis (Blown Deadline Productions, Pretty Pictures, Home Box Office) Starring Oscar Isaac, Carla Quevedo, Alfred Molina, Ilfenesh Hadera, Natalie Paul, Peter Riegert, Jon Bernthal, Winona Ryder, and Brianna Horne. Literary Quotes “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald The path of righteousness is a lonely road. The right side of history does not often equate with the populace. When a hero takes a stand, you better bet she’ll face opposition. It’s the nature of the beast. Even more interesting are the people whose leadership emerges in shades of gray. Taking a stand occurs as a matter of convenience, or as the best… Read More →

Television Show Review: True Detective: Season 2

True Detective Season 2

True Detective: Season 2 created by Nic Pizzolatto (Home Box Office, Anonymous Content) Starring Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Vince Vaughn. Do You Really Need to Clean Your Room? I’m watching a lot of children’s television these days. It’s awful and paradoxically not that bad. Children’s programming follows a clear set of rules. We need to teach the kids important lessons, lest television rots the brains of our most impressionable. In one episode, the protagonist preferred not to clean up after playtime. Picking up toys is a chore. We all want to play as much as we can. Am I right? Thus comes a social experiment. What if we didn’t tidy up? Unfortunately, our young hero lost everything… Read More →