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Monday, Jan 21, 2013
An episode that churns along well enough for the most part, and really marks a pivot-point in terms of the primary plot for the season.

This is not an episode of Season 3 that you will likely remember much of, particularly not with everything coming down the pike (oh, calm down, that’s not a spoiler). No, this is an episode that churns along well enough for the most part, and really marks a pivot-point in terms of the primary plot for the season.


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Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013
As the overarching narrative of the season, the question of "How will we keep Downton Abbey?" is working far better than the WWI did last season, probably because it allows Fellowes to focus on the minor characters in a way that the galvanizing narrative pull of the war did not.

It will be interesting to see how US audiences react to this season of Downton Abbey. The generally snarky tone of the internet and the slight downtick in UK ratings suggest that its moment of cultural dominance is waning; however, US ratings have never been higher, so it has mainstream momentum going for it. Also, every one of my friend’s moms is proudly announcing on Facebook that she “is finally checking out this Downton Abbey show” and “loves it!


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Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013
While many critics argue that Americans are fascinated by Downton Abbey because of its fundamental Britishness, in other words because of how fundamentally different its sensibilities are from our own, I feel quite the opposite.

I am one of those people who have seen all of Downton Abbey’s third season, including the much-ballyhooed Christmas special. Can I even use the phrase “Downton Abbey Christmas special” without putting in a spoiler alert? Now, before you throw yourself out of your chair or throw your phone out the window, you can relax. You’re safe here. You don’t need a spoiler alert for this, or for future columns from me throughout this season; in fact, you won’t even need to read them with your hand half-covering the lower part of your screen. Let me just assure you that you will enjoy the season. If you find out, or think you found out, what happens during it or in its final episode, you probably don’t know as much as you think you do. This is a clever, well-written season with plenty of surprises for you. I mean, also, #firstworldproblems, you know?


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Thursday, Dec 13, 2012
I hate procedurals, but I love Bones. The compelling characters keep the audience engaged despite the formulaic format, but some episodes fall flat.

Shows with the same formula every week tend to get boring, yet there are a few that somehow manage to keep the audience interested. An excellent example of this is The X-Files, a show that adapted this predictability of the procedural into stories that maintain mystery. However, I must admit that even I, with my deep love for The X-Files and my usual unending loyalty to shows, lost interest part-way into the seventh season and stopped watching entirely during the eighth. The reason? You can’t have The X-Files without Mulder and Scully.


This is something that all procedurals should take note of: it isn’t the new medical mystery or supernatural event or bizarre murder every week that keeps bringing us back, it’s the characters.


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Thursday, Dec 6, 2012
The backlash-to-the-backlash articles have followed suit, reminding readers that this is indeed a television show, one that has always been more interested in maintaining suspense and surprising viewers than in subtlety or in portraying the business of fighting terrorism with any degree of realism.

Well, I seem to be late to the party in weighing in on Homeland’s most recent jawdroppers, unleashed in the hilariously titled “Broken Hearts” episode. With the week nearly over and episode 2.11 days away from hitting our screens, I am compelled to take a minute and see where we are and how we got here.


The backlash has been fervent this week, responding to the improbable events surrounding (OK, seriously, SPOILERS) the death of the Vice President. Other backlash topics include the frenzied over-emoting of Damian Lewis as Nick Brody, the bad-season-of-24-style-terrorism of Abu Nazir, the sudden and ridiculous surveillance-fails of the government, and the Lifetime-movie behavior of Carrie Matheson. The backlash-to-the-backlash articles have followed suit, reminding readers that this is indeed a television show, one that has always been more interested in maintaining suspense and surprising viewers than in subtlety or in portraying the business of fighting terrorism with any degree of realism.


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