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by Henry Guyer

3 Jun 2010


The initial success and, subsequently, the over-saturation of the superhero genre has brought us two distinct schools of thought: that of a hyperbolic superficiality that revels in its camp comic-book world or an approach directed towards realism (as close to realistic as the supernatural can conceivably be). The former has had its share of utterly forgettable fiascos—Daredevil, Elektra, The Fantastic Four—films and franchises that will continue to be made because, the sad fact is, money talks above all else. But it has also had its tongue-in-cheek successes in the likes of Iron Man and Spider-Man. They can work when they don’t take themselves too seriously and play their cards just right.

The latter category, however, has explored the human aspect in the genre, from man’s ability for good to its many flaws. This is the path explored by The Watchmen, The Dark Knight, and, to a much lighter extent, NBC’s Heroes, a show that tried to tread both paths or was confused to which group it belonged. With the show’s descent into disappointment and, finally, cancellation, there is now room for a new show to take over the superhero mantle on television, maybe one that can prove to be a little bit more brave.

I’m not talking about No Ordinary Family, the forthcoming ABC show that looks to fill this niche next fall. Instead I’m turning my attention towards the other side of the pond for the latest (and brilliant) addition to the canon—Britain’s The Misfits.

by Steve Leftridge

27 May 2010


Lee Dewyze won.  It’s the biggest shocker in the music industry since Willie Nelson cut his hair.  At least that’s the line in media outlets after Wednesday night’s finale although Lee’s victory can’t be much of a surprise to Idol addicts, who know that the momentum was clearly in his corner heading into Tuesday night’s rumble verses Crystal Bowersox.  Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson, in separate interviews, had both predicted that Lee would win, and it didn’t much matter that Lee was clearly outsung by Crystal on the final competition show.

For when it comes down to it, Idol has more to do with the fickle and shallow waves of crap-taste loyalty that permeates the American viewing public than anything else.  After all, if we had any sense, we’d be watching those past seasons of The Wire we’ve been meaning to get to instead.  Simon, in his cold-as-ice farewell comments, dismissed speculation over who’d fill his judge’s seat next year by saying that the American people are the real judge and that they’d done a fantastic job throughout the series.  Which is horseshit, of course, as a glance at the past winners and losers, many of them on display on Tuesday, would indicate.

by Jessy Krupa

26 May 2010


NBC’s Parenthood ended its first season tonight with a lot of resolutions and pleasantness, but it didn’t leave you wondering about the road ahead. Perhaps this episode was designed to also serve as a series finale if need be, but we now know that it will be back this fall.

In the show’s first few moments, Haddie gave herself a makeover. She cut her newly dyed black hair and put on a darker shade of lipstick. While her parents were overly shocked by this, they were surprisingly unconcerned about her skipping chemistry class. Max, however, stated that, “It looks like a panther, like a vampire from Twilight, I like it!” (Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of him in this episode.) I noticed how Haddie’s new look was similar to Amber’s style, and sure enough, she later admitted to her mother that was part of the reason why she did it.

Kristina then admitted that she thought it looked “cute”, but up until then, she was very irritable throughout the episode. She still held a grudge against Sarah, treating her coldly when she asked if Adam could help Drew train for baseball tryouts.

by Crispin Kott

24 May 2010


Like millions of other television junkies, I bought the hype; I was reeled in by the ruthlessly compelling commercials and well-placed print ads, and on September 22, 2004, I tuned in for the premiere episode of Lost.

Lost, with its water-cooler plot-twists and world’s sexiest flight manifest quickly became a pop culture phenomenon, burning up internet chat rooms (when they were still around), blogs (they’re still around, right?) and even the print media (which at least the time of this writing is still around.)

I remember saying to myself as the pilot unfolded, “I think I’m hooked.” It happened right around the time the plane crashed, as terrifyingly visceral a scene as I’ve ever seen on the small screen, in spite of my already knowing it was coming. I wondered what would become of the survivors, how they’d turn coconuts into wine, how they’d get along or not get along. I wondered who might take of their shirt first.

by Steve Leftridge

19 May 2010


For all of the heat American Idol has taken for this ninth season—“Worst season ever!” “Worst contestants ever!” “Ellen flopped!” “Paula 4ever!”—now that the show has boiled down to the top three, even the haters have to admit that we have the makings for a hot final. Yes, viewership is down this year, which doesn’t bode well for next season, but an expected Crystal vs. Lee showdown ought to make for some entertaining television by any of Idol’s past standards. Take the last time we had a Battle of the Sexes in the finale, when Blake Lewis lost to Jordin Sparks back in Season 6. (I’m still pissed that Melinda Doolittle didn’t win that year.)  Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox are certainly easily as strong as that pairing and have careers ahead of them more worth paying attention to. Plus, they both continue to get stronger each week.

This scenario is, of course, assuming that voters axe Casey James this week. It definitely seems that everyone wants him gone, including the judges, who saddled him with John Mayer’s tender but lifeless ballad “Daughters” as the judges’ pick. James’s version of the song was serviceable, but was hampered by the same stilted performance style that has held him back all season, which might even be more pronounced now that he’s leaning so consciously away from his bleat. Casey’s comportment at the microphone finds an unlikely combination of nervous panic and wooden aloofness, and his offhand reading of Eric Hutchinson’s “OK, It’s Alright with Me”, his own choice Tuesday night, was a typically dull Casey moment. The final line, “I’m already gone”, was the evening’s most appropriate lyric. Casey could surprise, but it looks like he’s heading home, and that’s Cool.

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