Latest Blog Posts

by Anthony Merino

23 Jul 2015

Sometimes your worst self is your best self.
—Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn)

One of the most disconcerting plot twists in a recent film was in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2006 movie Babel. One plotline revolved around the character Amelia, played by Adriana Barraza. She was to have the day off for her son’s wedding in Mexico, but her employers had to extend their vacation leaving her in charge of the two children. She could not find anyone to watch them for her, so she decides to take them with her to Mexico. The first three-quarters of the story is a quite endearing story of the children being exposed to a different culture. Unfortunately, she then decides to engage in consensual sex with one of the wedding guests. This transgression against the great puritanical code of American movies cannot go unpunished. The story line ends with her penniless—abandoned in the desert in a torn and dirty dress. What seemed so strange was the entire movie was cast like an essay on the innate humanity of all cultures. This kind of misogyny is very incongruous with the theme of the movie. As True Detective continues to unfold, the same puritanical subtext emerges under the layers of lacquered cynicism.

by Anthony Merino

19 Jun 2015

TV critic David Bianculli once stated, “It is easy, and not at all inaccurate, to divide dramatic series television into two eras: Before Hill Street Blues 1981-1987… and after.” He credits the NBC crime drama with two revolutionary innovations that would become the genre norm (although both had been staples of daytime soap operas for years). The first was to replace the single lead with an ensemble cast. The second is that it replaced the standard episodic plot line, where each episode told a single self-contained story, to a narrative arc that would go over an entire season. However, Bianculli leaves out perhaps Hill Street Blues’ greatest contribution to American television.

by Evan Sawdey

13 Apr 2015

Netflix really put their chips on the table by releasing Daredevil the same weekend as the Season Five premiere of Game of Thrones, and in the eternal war of watercooler-ready cultural capital, the only reason they’d be so bold is because they feel that they had something special on their hands ... and they do indeed.

Landing at a curious time in the television landscape where DC Comics is starting to pick up good will with their character-driven efforts Arrow and The Flash (although the less said about Gotham the better) and Marvel’s own Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is starting to pay off after finally breaking through the predictable “monster of the week format” part way through its first season, Daredevil is cut from a different bullet-resistant cloth altogether. Starring Boardwalk Empire‘s Charlie Cox as blind lawyer Matt Murdock, the show follows Murdock and his friend Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson of Mighty Ducks fame) as they start up their own law firm in Hell’s Kitchen, although Murdock, whose other senses have been trained to near-superhuman levels, goes out at night and seeks vigilante justice all his own, often fighting back the forces of ruthless business magnate Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) in a struggle for the heart of the city. (Note, this character is best known as the Kingpin, but in one of the show’s several well-thought-out decisions, he is never referred to as such.)

This may sound very by-the-numbers (and, to neophytes, remarkably Batman-esque), but the show carries off the premise remarkable style. Created by The Cabin in the Woods helmer Drew Goddard with Steven S. DeKnight serving as showrunner (both alums from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel), let us now break down the three absolutely extraordinary ways that Daredevil managed to become not just the hands-down best superhero drama on TV, but also one of the best new overall dramas this season.

by Miles Layman

22 Jul 2014

The business of television is ever changing in the dog days of summer. Producers will jockey with network execs for renewal, showrunners will settle into the fateful writer’s room to shape their show’s future, and Jack Bauer is now opting to save England from annihilation—but still somehow doing it with only a flip phone and concealed pistol at his disposal.

by Cary O'Dell

25 Oct 2013

Since giving birth to her son in 2011, actress January Jones has been the subject of a very popular guessing game. I don’t know if it’s going on in whispers in Hollywood, but it flares up from time to time in the tabloids and exists constantly on various snarky, Hollywood-related websites.

It has to do with the paternity of her child. Jones is the biological mother of her offspring but has never revealed the identity of the father. This, of course, has lead to a wild degree of speculation with potential guesses ranging from the possible to the completely outrageous. 

The paternity of her child, of course, isn’t anyone’s business but her and her son’s but such high principals is not going to end this ad hoc, slightly unseemly, parlor game of guess the sperm donor.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article