Television Show Review: Hannibal: Season 1

Hannibal: Season 1 created by Bryan Fuller (Dino De Laurentiis Company, Living Dead Guy Productions, Gaumont International Television) Starring Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Laurence Fishburne. *Minimal Spoilage Within, But Be Cautious Nonetheless* Hannibal The Cannibal The character of Hannibal has been one of my favorite “bad guys” for quite some time. From The Silence of the Lambs, to Hannibal, to Red Dragon I’ve enjoyed the exploits of Hannibal “the Cannibal.” So, when NBC announced its plan to launch a prequel to the book and movie franchise entitled Hannibal, I was pleased to say the least. Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) was once in the field as an FBI agent. We, however, meet him at FBI headquarters as a lecturer on homicides. It’s evident that there’s something we don’t know… Read More →

Television Show Review: Mad Men: Season 6

Mad Men: Season 6

Mad Men: Season 6 created by Matthew Weiner (Lionsgate Television, Weiner Bros., American Movie Classics) Starring Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, and Kiernan Shipka. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Truth and Untruth What is the economic value of a lie? Generally, we ought not to lie. The effectiveness of a lie demands a world which does not lie. If everyone skirted the truth, lying wouldn’t work. In other words, lying is philosophically inconsistent. More practically, deceitfulness is painful for the inflicted parties involved. It takes advantage of others and leaves them in a place of vulnerability. And yet… lying has its benefits every once and awhile. What if lying saves a life? What… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Office: Season 9

The Office Season 9

The Office: Season 9 created by Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Greg Daniels (Reveille Productions, NBC Universal Television, Deedle-Dee Productions) Starring John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Rainn Wilson. Warning: Spoilers ahead for earlier seasons. What has the film crew been doing all these years? Considering its premise—a documentary crew filming an office to depict work-life in America—why would a crew film its subjects for 9 years? Given their intentions, surely no more than a year of footage would suffice? Early in the concluding season of The Office, the viewer discovers the reason for sticking with these employees for so long. The crew remains—and truthfully, we watch—because we all want to know what becomes of Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead: Season 3 Part 2

The Walking Dead Season 3

The Walking Dead: Season 3, Part 2 created by Frank Darabont (American Movie Classics, Circle of Confusion, Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Scott Wilson. Warning: Spoilers ahead for earlier seasons. Memento Mori Recently, the AV Club published a piece on how The Walking Dead succeeds at making death a character. Todd Van Der Werff offered sound reasoning for the artistic concept of the memento mori, the subtly inserted reminder to viewers that someday they might die. For me, this article offered the framework for understanding why I remain so invested in this series. I’ve mentioned it before in reviews of previous seasons, and… Read More →

Television Show Review: Girls: Season 2

Girls Season 2

Girls: Season 2 created by Lena Dunham (Apatow Productions) Starring Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, and Zosia Mamet. Spoilers for Season 1 apply. Halcyon Days Are you ok with change? For many, change is the devil. We all wish for halcyon days, a verdant time where everything exists in a perfected state. When a life altering circumstance occurs, we often long for the days of yore, for a period when things were less stressful or easier. With the second season of Girls, I am beginning to see changes—ones I’m not certain are good for the show. I don’t think I’m ok with change. Girls and Their Boys Season 2 begins shortly after the concluding events of Season 1. Hannah… Read More →

Television Review: House of Cards: Season 1

House of Cards: Season 1 developed and produced by Beau Willimon (Media Rights Capital, Panic Pictures, Trigger Street Productions, Netflix) Starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Kate Mara, and Corey Stoll. Welcome to the Future of Television I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complained about cable. For me, an avid sports fan and a connoisseur of shows with more depth than network television can offer, I would probably only pay for sports channels and AMC if I had a choice. But I don’t. It’s either all or nothing, and at this point I go for all just to get something. But what if television could be an entirely different endeavor? What if you could pay for what… Read More →

Television Show Review: 30 Rock: Season 7

30 Rock: Season 7 created by Tina Fey (Broadway Video, Little Stranger, NBC Studios) Starring Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Jack McBrayer. The Next Home Improvement I can’t help but consider Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants, while thinking about Season 7 of 30 Rock. In her memoir, Fey admits the goal of her critically acclaimed NBC series was not to become an indie hit—or critically acclaimed for that matter. Instead, Fey hoped for the next Home Improvement, a ratings smash that was funny, but first and foremost, a money maker viewed by the canaille. By its standards, 30 Rock failed. It never reached the highest ratings pantheon, constantly losing to the flavor-of-the-month from CBS. But to assess… Read More →

Television Show Review: Girls: Season 1

Girls: Season 1 created by Lena Dunham (Apatow Productions) Starring Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, and Zosia Mamet. A Millennial Decade for a Millennial Generation Life in the 2nd millennial decade has not been easy for the millennial generation. Twenty-somethings are stuck somewhere between adolescence and adulthood. Some relish in these circumstances, life—as in, job opportunities and serious relationships—is out of reach, so these people decide to remain childish. Others react in the opposite direction; the lack of opportunity offers many frustrations and life is in a standstill. Given these circumstances, HBO’s series, Girls, feels current and trendy with a humorous take on what the millennial generation encounters in this day and age. The Economics of an Unemployed Generation… Read More →

Television Show Review: Homeland: Season 1

Homeland: Season 1 developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Broadcasting) Starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, David Harewood, Diego Klattenhoff, Jackson Pace, Morgan Saylor, and Mandy Patinkin. The Conundrum of a Pilot When writers draft a pilot episode, they face an unenviable task. Their episode must sell the potential of a long-running and profitable television series. Network executives need a good sense of story, a robust understanding of character, and a solid grasp of the narrative potential. A pilot, to a certain extent, is a pitch. It gained enough traction to slide into production, but it has yet to gain full-scale adoption. For this reason, writers often feel compelled to dive… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead: Season 3

The Walking Dead: Season 3 created by Frank Darabont (American Movie Classics, Circle of Confusion, Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Scott Wilson. Setting Standards Since its initial airing in 2010, I’ve held The Walking Dead to a higher standard than most television shows.  For starters, the series airs on AMC, a network branded as a place for high quality acting and writing. With such sterling dramas such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead airs among the best shows on television. Second, the genre is groundbreaking. We’ve all seen our fair share of post-apocalyptic zombie films. But the nature of a… Read More →