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by Kate Dries

2 Mar 2011


Parenthood, a decent show from NBC that has been generating medium-high heat this season, doesn’t hesitate to confront the mundane. Most problems, especially those involving family, are not exciting, sweeping affairs, but involve small fights that escalate because people just see things differently; Parenthood specializes in said fights.

The show, which PopMatters’ Daynah Burnett originally reviewed to low marks, has become markably better this season. The characters have developed into a relatively healthy family grappling with its fair share of normal and less than normal issues; Aspergers, unemployment and adultery are just some of them. But by far the most interesting hurdle in this second season for the Braverman family is addiction; most specifically, alcoholism.

by Kate Dries

11 Feb 2011


Five episodes in, the new NBC comedy Perfect Couples is still endearing. Sure, episode one was technically a pre-pilot, an attempt to gain committed viewers during the slow holiday season with a preview. But the show is officially in full swing now; it had its official premiere during NBC’s take back comedy block. In fact, it’s safe to say that Perfect Couples has been poised to become the modern day Friends, arguably one of the most popular sitcoms to ever air.

NBC’s “Must See TV” dominated Thursday nights. Launched right before the fall television season of 1993, it ended up being such a popular phrase that the network used it for all comedy programming, even that which was moved away from Thursday nights. The attempt to maintain a comedy block during Thursday’s prime-time television, however, remained the same. In 2006, NBC changed their slogan to “Comedy Night Done Right” to play off of the increasing popularity of shows in the vein of 30 Rock, The Office, and Parks and Recreation. In more recent years, they’ve taken this concept further, extending it to “Comedy Night Done Right—All Night.” Some have argued that this new three-hour block of shows is far too much to handle in one sitting, but sandwiched right in the middle is the blast-from-the-past concept in a new format, Perfect Couples.

by Melissa Crawley

9 Feb 2011


Skins is a new scripted drama on MTV that focuses on a group of friends. They have sex and spend a lot of time trying to have sex. They take drugs and talk a lot about taking drugs. They don’t apologize for their behavior, suffer many consequences or think too deeply about what it all means. They’re also in high school.

The pilot episode of Skins, based on a UK show of the same name, was watched by 3.3 million viewers in the 12-34 age bracket. While its subject matter is nothing unique (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, among others, covered it more than two decades ago), what is new is that the actors playing the rebellious teenagers are actual teenagers, aged between 15 and 19. This fact, coupled with the show’s graphic tone, was enough for the Parents Television Council (PTC) to say that: “Skins may well be the most dangerous television show for children that we have ever seen.” It’s a bold and alarming statement that deserves a closer look.

by Melissa Crawley

26 Jan 2011


A new year means a new start and for many of us, resolutions. This year, I’ve decided that along with my usual resolve to break-up with sugar, others should resolve to do some things for me. This includes my mother, who should resolve to learn the difference between time zones when calling me and my dog, who should resolve to stop hopping up on the couch every time I leave the room.

Television can also do a few things for me. After all, I give it many hours of my week and it gives me—Animal Hoarding. So in the spirit of new beginnings, here are a few resolutions that television executives can make to improve my time spent with the small screen:

by Elizabeth Wiggins

18 Jan 2011


Since the first season, I’ve been indecisive about Glee; the writing is inconsistent, the episodes are uneven, and enjoying Glee always raises questions about whether or not the show is good or simply a shiny object.  But now, in the show’s second season, the cracks in Glee’s construction are becoming more apparent.  While season one tried to juggle the desires to be both a snarky critique of high school and a musical, season two has become about the set list, with obvious, underdeveloped vignettes disguised as plot to pad the hour.  Character development, consistency, and pushing boundaries seem to have been sidelined in some unnamed quest to become a candy-coated crowd pleaser that throws a mildly risqué wisecrack in the mix to remind us that it’s clever.

The weak moments related to the show’s infrastructure could probably be ignored if they didn’t emphasize what’s arguably the most troubling aspect of Glee: the struggle to figure out what to do with Will Scheuster’s character.  As the episodes increasingly focus on big performances and simple stories, the problem of developing the show’s central adult character has created a troubling, strange relationship between the students of New Directions and their advisor.

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'Hopscotch' is Anchored in Walter Matthau's Playful, Irascible Personality

// Short Ends and Leader

"With his novel, Hopscotch, Brian Garfield challenged himself to write a suspenseful spy tale in which nobody gets killed.

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