Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story made its debut during the midst of the post-Twilight craze of serialized-supernatural dramas (True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, etc.). The program was a startling in its change of tone to those who followed Murphy, fresh off the success of Glee at the time. The series was conceived as a highly-serialized anthology that would essentially reset its setting, cast, and focus each season.
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In case you somehow missed it, Jon Stewart has announced that sometime in 2015, he will leave The Daily Show, the trademark faux-news comedy program he commandeered from Craig Kilborn and transformed into a cultural powerhouse whose format is often imitated but truly, never bettered. “Did I die?” Stewart asked on the 11 February broadcast the day after his announcement, stunned at the outpouring of sadness on social media regarding his decision. Indeed, reading tale after tale of writers and young Americans who became politically active or went out and pursued degrees because of what Stewart has done is nothing short of incredible.
Filling in the same timeslot as Stephen Colbert is no easy task, although Larry Wilmore, an accomplished TV veteran who gained notoriety in recent years as The Daily Show‘s “Senior Black Correspondent”, doesn’t seem like he’s nervous one bit. Although it was obvious from the onset that Wilmore was more interested in using the Daily Show‘s format for his building blocks instead of the more personality-driven Colbert Report, it seems that there would be no way for him to shake off the undue scrutiny of creating a new show of this kind.
This has proven to be the case, since Wilmore cannot avoid the shadow cast by John Oliver’s monstrous success with HBO’s Last Week Tonight, which expanded Stewart’s trademark “desk monologue” format out into probing, long-form discussions that never once talked down to their audience, using humor and research to educate and inform while never going as far as to cross the partisan divide. From this, it’s easy to see that Stewart’s acolytes have adapted his formula to fit their own needs. Up to this point, all of them were succeeding.
In recent years, the Grammys have prided themselves on offering unique performances, to the point that the original purpose of the ceremony, to hand out awards, often gets lost in the midst. Only nine awards were presented during the three and a half hour long live broadcast, and winners often found themselves cued off of the stage by ominous music. But amongst the 23 live performances there were plenty of debuts, unlikely duets, special guests, and even a few surprises.
Aimed at giving the caped crusader the Smallville-esque treatment, the Gotham series follows Jim Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) early days in the Gotham Police Department as he investigates the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Despite a promising pilot episode, the first season of Gotham quickly fell off track in terms of quality—not to mention far short of the potential its source material bestows. It’s never been outright terrible, but the series’ habit of repeating its critical storytelling missteps is wearing out the patience and enthusiasm of many viewers. What’s more, the pattern bears a frustrating similarity to the growing pains that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. went through in its first season.