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 →

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 →