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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.

by Melissa Crawley

16 Dec 2010


In 2010, television brought us cops in Hawaii, bikers in California, British investigators and a different kind of situation at the Jersey shore. The shows on this year’s list however, gave us more than a few intriguing characters. They questioned our concept of family, tested our tolerance for violence and challenged our traditional notions of good and evil. One just gave us a weekly glimpse of paradise which is always a good thing.  Here are the Top 10 Television Shows of 2010:

by Nathan Pensky

9 Dec 2010


One of the great strengths of television as a storytelling device is its episodic, yet indefinitely framed sense of time. Television’s season format allows for longer-form storytelling, longer still for stories that span the length of an entire series, while individual episodes allow for more focused moments. The viewer experiences narrative time both in measurements of years and the present moment.
 
This effect of story experienced both in the long and the short term is evident especially in shows that do not slavishly follow a timeline, but instead shake things up through flashback or dream sequence, as in Twin Peaks and The Sopranos, or in allowing longer periods to suspend between picking back up at the beginning of a season, as with Battlestar Gallactica and Mad Men. One of the most inventive uses of the return from “summer break” at the beginning of a season was the addition of Dawn in the Season 5 premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The sudden appearance of the Dawn character was instantly disorienting, but also interestingly significant of television’s standard practice of haphazardly inserting previously unknown characters into established narrative worlds.

by Melissa Crawley

9 Nov 2010


Gok Wan knows good body shapers and isn’t afraid to share. As the host of the UK version of How to Look Good Naked, Wan uses both fashion consultations and mini therapy sessions to teach women how to love what nature gave them. The series, which recently finished its sixth season on Channel 4, is a makeover show but wants to be a life-changing therapy session. This identity crisis reflects reality television’s love affair with therapeutic discourse, but does a disservice to why this show really works. It’s not Wan’s body image counseling that makes his guest feel great at the end of the hour. Rather, it’s his role as best friend.

by Joseph Fisher

2 Nov 2010


Since roughly the midpoint of its first season, Glee has been a train wreck. Which means that despite the show’s endless onslaught of WTF moments—like when Rachel and her estranged mother bond, love glue gunning all over the place, during a bizarre take on Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”—I have not been able to tear my eyes from it.

For a while, I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly why the derailment happened. Mostly, my concerns have been about Glee’s slow transformation from a smart send-up of the High School Musical films (and teen dramas more generally) into a heavy-handed, humorless public service announcement. I held off on passing judgment on that transformation because the show did, once upon a time, seem innovative in its attempts to explore topics like physical disability, queerness, and interracial teen relationships. Excepting the wheelchair stunt double kerfuffle, Glee’s writers exposed those issues with equal amounts of satire and sincerity.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Players Lose Control in ‘Tales from the Borderlands’

// Moving Pixels

"This is an interactive story in which players don’t craft the characters, we just control them.

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