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Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014
House of Cards might be gearing up for its third season, but the very first episode of the series is the most telling indication of how Netflix is helping television break new ground.

Among the first of Nexflix’s now hefty portfolio of original series, House of Cards has a lot that sets it apart from the traditional TV shows that we’re used to watching. Produced and distributed uniquely for online viewers, the series seems to relish in the freedom Netflix has provided it just as much as its fans savor the cold, calculating evil that is Frank Underwood. While many are eagerly looking forward to the release of the third season, I’ve also been looking back on the very first episode, trying to parse through what made this show feel so unique from the very start.


Unlike the vast majority of television programs, House of Cards never had a pilot phase, and consequentially has no “pilot” in the usual sense of the term. Pilot episodes are typically a means of proving a concept’s viability before the network makes a long-term commitment, but Netflix signed on for 26 episodes before a single scene was filmed. Chapter One is therefore precisely that: the first installment of a much longer narrative, and hardly a self-contained story.


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Friday, Sep 19, 2014
by Romi N. Andrews
PopMatters shines a spotlight on some funny and not-so-funny shows that have failed.

The format of the situational comedy—“sitcom”, as it is most frequently called—was conceived in the post-World War II era. Some dismiss it as sub-par compared to other TV genres, while many argue it’s an art form worthy of respect. But love them or despise them, sitcoms have the power to influence the way we think and to even promote awareness for social issues like gay rights (Will & Grace), alcoholism, and even teen pregnancy (Mom)


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Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014
Unfortunately, some shows seem destined for cancellation right away, regardless of critical acclaim or the support of small, fanatical groups of fans.

The premature cancellation of great TV shows is, sadly, nothing new, as shows like My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, and Firefly can attest. Yet it continues to happen, season after season. Low ratings, high concepts, and plain old bad timing are just a few reasons why some shows never get a chance to grow past one season.


Unfortunately, some shows seem destined for cancellation right away, regardless of critical acclaim or the support of small, fanatical groups of fans. Below are seven shows that not only were cancelled too soon, but may have also been overlooked as excellent one-season wonders.


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Monday, Sep 9, 2013
As the controversial season of the CBS reality show concludes for the season, it's time to reflect on what we've learned about TV... and ourselves.

Now that the most recent season of CBS’s annual Big Brother summer reality show is over and the “winner” will soon been declared, it might be good to look back at the arch of the season and process it, now that the reality dust has settled.


Despite the fact that some interesting new twists in the game occurred this year—the incorporation of the “MVP” and MVP nomination and, finally, the rising up of some truly decent female pairings and alliances—Big Brother 2013 will no doubt go down in history as the season of the racists.


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Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013
Sometimes TV is so bad it's not even "bad" in a good way! And sometimes it's memorable for all the wrong reasons.

As my mother would be happy to tell you, as a kid and young adult I watched way too much TV. I’ve seen the good, the great and the guilty pleasures. And I’ve also seen the very, very bad. Some TV is so corny and so bad that you just kind of love it in spite of yourself and itself. The Brady Bunch Variety Hour falls into this category. And some TV is more bad by reputation than in actual experience; My Mother the Car is infamous for its very strange premise but, in actuality, wasn’t any more strange nor funny nor unfunny than many other shows on the air at that time.


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