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by Matt Paproth

22 Apr 2010


So, there’s a show on ABC… I’m sure you’ve never heard of it… but it will be airing its final five episodes during the next month, and I figured that at least someone on the web should be writing about it.

In all seriousness, the prospect of writing about Lost is a daunting one, as so many people out there on other websites clearly devote more of their time and energy to this show than I ever possibly would be willing to. I love reading the Lost threads, though, because they are filled with that mixture of devotion, passion, and at times full-on craziness that exemplifies what I love about sci-fi and its fans. However you personally feel about Lost as a series – and, for what it’s worth, I think it is one of the most fascinating, enjoyable, compelling texts ever to grace my TV screen – you must admire its audacity. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have woven this impossibly dense mythos that they are now unwinding before our eyes… and it doesn’t suck.

by Robert Moore

19 Apr 2010


Over the course of the past decade there have been few shows that I have consistently enjoyed more than Smallville. As a student of television, I watch a large number of shows, including most of those that are considered the best in the medium. Objectively I have never ranked Smallville among the dozen or so best shows on TV, but I nonetheless retain an affection for this show that transcends its aesthetic achievements. What is more, I sometimes find myself looking forward to the next episode of Smallville more than the next episode of more acclaimed shows like Breaking Bad or Big Love.

Certainly there is little on Smallville to justify ranking it among the elite shows on TV. The writing is inconsistent and occasionally downright awful, though it must also be conceded that there are times when it is unexpectedly and delightfully memorable. The acting is not going to win many awards. While Tom Welling—given his uncanny resemblance to anyone’s expectations of what Clark Kent should look like—is absolutely perfect for the lead role, he will never be nominated for an Emmy or Golden Globe. While the revolving cast (only Welling and Alison Mack, who plays Chloe, remain from Season One) is adequate to the task at hand, the show is not going to win any awards for ensemble acting.

by Matt Paproth

14 Apr 2010


Am I the only person who watches HGTV? My wife has dragged me into the world of HGTV very begrudgingly, and it is only after about a year of mostly scowling acceptance that I am prepared to, very sheepishly, admit that I am actually starting to enjoy it.

If you are not watching this channel, I would encourage you to at least check it out. It is filled with a variety of shows for viewers with various interests: homeowners will find shows advising them on how to improve their resale value, how to work on their landscape, or how to fix problems that arise; prospective buyers will find shows about people trying to decide what they value as they look for their first home; even renters will find shows about how to spruce up their rentals.

by Maysa Hattab

13 Apr 2010


The dark things behind the veil communicate via the idiot box. For confirmation, ditch the shrieking ghost hunters and mediums, with their silly trailer campaigns splashed across TV schedules. Look no further than flat-share-horror Being Human. The first series sprung from something like the set up for a bad joke: a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost commune in a house somewhere in Bristol, first broadcast on niche, youth oriented channel BBC Three.

Where the first series saw each of the characters struggling to find their place in a world which can’t or won’t acknowledge them, the second finds them fighting to protect it. Gentle, geeky werewolf George (Russell Tovey, The History Boys,Dr. Who) continues as the beating heart of Being Human, as he struggles with the repercussions of a brutal murder he committed while transformed.

Charismatic vampire Mitchell (Aiden Turner, Desperate Romantics) finds himself adrift having controlled his cravings for blood, and vanquished, for the moment at least, the vampire hordes intent on taking over the world, led by Herrick (the excellent Jason Watkins). The apparent villain of this series is both more and less overt – craggy faced scientist Kemp, first seen as a psychiatrist at the end of series one (Donald Sumpter). He’s a trench-coat wearing, Van Helsing type monster hunter working with a shadowy figure whose identity and motives remain shrouded. By contrast, Herrick’s softly-spoken, inclusive middle-manager brand of villainy is one of the most interesting facets of the first series, reinforcing the intriguing idea of unimaginable terrors hidden in the mundane.

by Terry Sawyer

12 Mar 2010


I like to think of insanity as the best way to put your finger to the cultural breeze. Crazies tend to latch onto predominant themes in the ether tacking on justifications for some insane stuff they would have done anyway. Consequently, we now have people gunning down guards or flying planes into the IRS in order to cement their anti-government bona fides. Because nothing fights the power like murdering secretaries. When I saw Lindsay Lohan outing her clutter to Niecy Nash, I realized that hoarding had arrived. It’s this year’s molestation, for stars who want to resuscitate their careers by setting themselves up as national empathy objects. Despite the celubante hangers on, Hoarders is another triumph for A&E’s “in the mouth of madness” lineup, which includes dysfunction staples like Intervention and Dog the Bounty Hunter.

The psychology of Hoarders makes for such compelling TV because it’s a disordered behavior with an infinitely complex web of origins. Some people hoard in post traumatic response, like some kind of compulsive gathering of synechdoche, every piece of junk is in some way the person they lost. Some hoarders collect in anticipation of all the activities and hobbies they will begin just as soon as they stop hoarding, like cokeheads who talk about all the things they’re gonna do, unless of course, they just end up doing more coke. Of course, there are also the Saint Hoarders who clutch the shopping binges because they are going to be gifts or donated to charity and people who insist that they’re grandchildren will be able to rake in cash by liquidating the junk when they die. Like any good rationalization, these excuses are diversions designed to prevent the afflicted from touching their open-sored compulsions. These might be shit piles, but they’re just one garage sale away from becoming junior’s tuition.

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