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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013
Total Divas is WWE's ode to its own misogyny, its glorification of its belief that women are peripheral to real narratives and that women don't deserve the same opportunities as men.

One of the only things tougher than explaining to people of unquestionable cultural taste (aka the creatively unambitious) that you’re a fan of professional wrestling is explaining that you’re a fan of women’s professional wrestling. Usually it’s possible to make a (simplified) case for the former – the spectacle, the physicality, the choreography, the history – that even the most rigidly dull defender of good taste can understand. Explaining an interest in the latter tends to be more problematic. Enjoying pro wrestling might be seen as an endearing quirk, but also being a fan of women’s pro wrestling, specifically, usually goes down as well as saying that you steal underwear from unattended clotheslines. The interest is invariably seen as – to use that wonderfully old-fashioned word – prurient.


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Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013
I've been saying it for years and tonight it held true: Introduce a DEA brother-in-law during season one and eventually you'll get a big boom. In "Blood Money", Dean Norris proves he's easily Bryan Cranston's acting equal.

SPOILER WARNING: This recap, as we’re sure you expect, contains spoilers if you haven’t seen the episode which aired Sunday. If you haven’t seen it, don’t read further—watch the episode and come back. No saying we didn’t warn you!


Give Vince Gilligan credit. Just as you think you’ve got his show and its characters figured out, that there’s nowhere they can go and still surprise you, he finds a few new ways to turn a screw and prove the rules of TV as we know it no longer apply. Forget waiting for multiple episodes of the final season to tick by before we get our confrontation between Walter and Hank. By the time we fade to black punches have been thrown, accusations made which cannot be taken back, and with cards laid upon the table there’s no turning back.


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Monday, Aug 5, 2013
The announcement, surprisingly, was not a left-turn that many were expecting. Some are raising hell over his place in the canon. You know what? It's going to be really, really hard to top Capaldi.

So now we know: Peter Capaldi is going to be in the TARDIS, cursing up a storm.


Or not (it is a family program afterall). Yet for a man who so elegantly delivered the phrase “fuckity-bye” as the deliriously profane Malcolm Tucker in In the Loop, Capaldi is a rather interesting, some would even argue bold choice to play the 12th Doctor.


Now, let it be known, there are people who are bemoaning two very specific points (already) about the announcement of Capaldi. For one, the producers could’ve been a lot bolder. Rumors have circles for years about there being a black Doctor. A female Doctor. Anything to offset the onslaught of increasingly-younger white men who always seem to be on the holding end of that sonic screwdriver. While there certainly is some legitimacy to that claim, Doctor Who is also going with a very strong “if it ain’t broke…” modus operandi here.


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Thursday, Aug 1, 2013
Amid the racist, homophobic and misogynistic hate speech on this season of Big Brother are some other ugly truths that also just won't go away

Bucking a growing academic trend, I am not one to see reality TV as a microcosm of American society. Mainly because, unlike reality TV, real life doesn’t come with hosts, commercial breaks, “physical challenges”, immunity idols and other reality show staples. But the current season of CBS’s Big Brother (and many of its prior seasons as well) has me re-thinking some of my stance.


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Thursday, Jul 18, 2013
Even while it mostly stands pat, Emmy’s surprise acknowledgment of Netflix original programming heralds mainstream success for a new broadcasting model.

It still remains to be seen whether 2013 will prove to be a true watershed in television history, like 1999/2000 (the debuts of The Sopranos and Survivor), but if this year’s Emmy nominations are any indication, then the future of TV is well upon us, and Netflix is leading the way.


Amidst the expected roll call of usual suspects in the drama categories you will find House of Cards, the political thriller shepherded by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright (both of whom received acting nominations). The significance, of course, is not that a prestige production is getting recognition, but who is producing it, and where (or, rather, how) it’s being broadcast. Netflix entrée into the TV game is now, as of this moment, a big deal—and the real deal. It’s not really a question of number of nominations (though the tally is respectable, nine for House of Cards, and a few more for the revival of Arrested Development) – it’s just the fact of being nominated at all. And neither is it a question of the other big TV numbers, ratings, since the Netflix model throws the outdated modes and metrics out the window (mostly by ignoring them, or at least being very cagey).


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