Television Show Review: Homeland: Season 4

Homeland Season 4

Homeland: Season 4 developed by Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon (Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Broadcasting) Starring Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, Tracy Letts, Maury Sterling, F. Murray Abraham, Nazanin Boniadi, Laila Robins, and Mark Moses. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Representing Our Culture Psyche Sometimes, the success of a show emerges from its relationship with culture. 24 represents such an example. Launched shortly after 9/11, the show quickly gained acclaim and cultural status as an hour each week where America could collectively let off steam and kill some bad guys. The show earned a die-hard following with a take-no-prisoners philosophy and carried actual stakes with many beloved characters meeting the reaper. In the broader cultural milieu,… Read More →

Television Show Review: Homeland: Season 3

Homeland Season 3

Homeland: Season 3 developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Broadcasting) Starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Morgan Saylor, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, F. Murray Abraham, and Tracy Letts. *Spoiler alert for previous seasons in effect* Utilitarianism Noted in the ethics world, utilitarianism is a system devoted to the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people. It means if 99 people earn 5 “utils”—the metric for happiness created by the system’s founder, Jeremy Bentham—and 3 people receive -3 utils, then the action is valid and worth pursuing. The system is pretty popular. It seeps into everyday language—like when someone rationalizes an action because it limits harm, or the consequences… Read More →

Television Show Review: Homeland: Season 2

Homeland Season 2

Homeland: Season 2 developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet Broadcasting) Starring Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Jackson Pace, Morgan Saylor, Mandy Patinkin, David Harewood, Diego Klattenhoff, Rupert Friend. *Spoiler Alert for Season 1 in effect* The Writers’ Conundrum I don’t envy television writers. In a serialized format, and hopefully over the course of many years, writers must pen consistent characters while simultaneously breaking barriers to keep the viewer interested. Just as the public grew weary of Creed’s act after 3 identical albums, so too will shows lose eyeballs if there isn’t a continual push for shocking developments in overarching narratives. Often times, this phenomenon carries the label, “jumping the shark.” But… Read More →

Book Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid Where Pen Meets Paper

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid (Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 2007. 191 pp) Mohsin Hamid is the author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, given several awards, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema. His essays and short stories have appeared in publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, the New Yorker, Granta, and the New York Review of Books. He was born in 1971 in Lahore, where he has spent about half his life, and he attended Princeton and Harvard. Among the other places he has lived are London,… Read More →

Film Review: Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal (Annapurna Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Alliance Films, R, 157 minutes) Starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, and Chris Pratt. The Plateau Have you ever experienced that plateau? The moment after a long-awaited goal is accomplished. You feel relief. Excitement. Even joy as you look back on the hard work it took for you to achieve this step in life. Sometimes during these moments, the next step seems ever the more daunting. Sometimes, an accomplishment equals disappointment because it means there’s no more work, no more opportunity within the specific sphere of focus. Interestingly, Zero Dark Thirty uses the manhunt of Osama bin Laden to represent themes of dedication… 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 →