Television Show Review: Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects created by Marti Noxon (HBO, Crazyrose, Fourth Born, Blumhouse Television) Starring Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Eliza Scanlen, Chris Messina, Matt Craven, and Henry Czerny. Seeing My Parents in Me I often wonder how much of my parents are in me. Stated differently, when I react to certain stimuli, where do I end and where do my parents, grandparents, and beyond begin? Am I determined to repeat the same mistakes? Take the same paths? When I look at my kids, I can see certain tendencies and traits straight out of my playbook. Life almost feels like and endless loop at a photocopier, each reproduction a repetition of the one before it. I share more than a last name with… Read More →

Television Show Review: Westworld: Season 2

Westworld Season 2

Westworld: Season 2 created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (HBO, Bad Robot, Jerry Weintraub Productions, Kilter Films) Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Angela Sarafyan, Tessa Thompson, Luke Hemsworth, Simon Quarterman, Shannon Woodward, Talulah Riley, Rodrigo Santoro, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Ben Barnes, and Jimmi Simpson. It’s All Greek to Me When I was working on my undergraduate degree, I made the mistake of minoring in Greek. Scratch that. Having completed the degree, I don’t consider it a mistake. During my studies, however, it was definitely a mistake. Ancient Greek is a tricky subject. Unlike English where verb tense gives the reader context between past, present, and future—and the placement of the… Read More →

Television Show Review: Barry: Season 1

Barry Season 1

Barry: Season 1 created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader (HBO) Starring Bill Hader, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, Glenn Fleshler, Anthony Carrigan, Henry Winkler, and Paula Newsome. Hi-Ho It’s Off to Work We Go Hollywood’s depiction of work always seems off. People lounge around for breakfast, and then work all day. And they seem to like it. Newsflash: most people are not happy with their work and want some sort of outlet to channel frustrations and passions. Now, some people truly love what they do. And when that happens, they still must account for the stress of a competitive marketplace. Most people don’t relax on their weekdays. Somebody out there is working hard to steal that job, that client, that… Read More →

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 →