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Sunday, January 11 2009

Back to Basics - The 30 Best TV Shows of 2008

The Year in TV was a lot like the US economy: struggling until summer and then tanking under the hope of a 2009 comeback. Still, our staff found 30 solid reasons to be cheerful come entertainment investment time.


Wednesday, October 15 2008

Cinema Qua Non - Indispensable DVDs: Part 3

Day Three - The final ten, a cross-culture collection teeming with big ideas, larger than life visions, and perhaps the greatest documentary on rugby you've probably never heard of.


Thursday, October 2 2008

The Olbermann Effect

Keith Olbermann has transformed news into entertainment. Countdown viewers no longer expect the facts; they expect to laugh and to think. Thank goodness.


Thursday, September 25 2008

The Detective & His Reflections: The Shield: Sixth Season

The nihilistic, morally blurred world of The Shield reflects the inner workings of its characters.


Thursday, August 28 2008

The Invaders: Cold War Central with the Vietnam Blues

The aliens carry silver dollars with lights which function both as cell phones and as gadgets that can make anyone drop dead from an instantly diagnosable "brain hemorrhage".


Sunday, August 24 2008

Women and ‘The Wire’

Why the most intelligent show on TV, a compelling exploration of the circumstances and institutional pressures that make people who they are, gets an "F" in Gender Studies.


Tuesday, August 5 2008

Mad Men, Sad Men

The increasing prevalence and sophistication of advertising, the popularization of psychotherapy, and an emerging political consciousness in the American middle class all come to the fore in this excellent television series.


Sunday, August 3 2008

DHARMA’s Bent Reality: The Video Game Sensibility of Lost

Perhaps the most complete and fascinating assimilation of video game-type content into a different medium at a deep and thorough level occurs within the narrative world of the popular television show Lost.


Tuesday, July 22 2008

Pop Culture: Finding Meaning and Purpose in the Neighborhood

Whether intentionally spiritual or not, popular culture and its products serve many of the same drives of religion: making meaning and forging the bonds of community.


Monday, June 30 2008

“Swiper, No Swiping!”: The Demonology of Dora the Explorer

With his moral ambiguity, ritualistic expulsions, and trickster ways, Dora the Explorer's Swiper is an archetypal image of the diabolical fox-spirit in the history of religions -- which might be an unacknowledged lesson for children.


Sunday, June 22 2008

20 Questions: Alan Cumming

Stage, TV and film actor, model, Tony Award-winner and new Masterpiece Mystery! host Alan Cumming speaks with PopMatters 20 Questions about Dionysus, the prudency of using prophylactics, and Leon, the singing Chihuahua.


Monday, April 14 2008

Twilight of the Leading Ladies?

As cancellations force more alpha female characters off the air, the question arises: Are we seeing television audiences and studios turn away from strong women as leads?


Wednesday, April 9 2008

Lest You Be Judged

Watching these courtroom dramas had me wondering why people choose to bicker over their disagreements on television, particularly in front of judges whose impartiality is questionable.


Thursday, March 13 2008

The Truth You Say?: The End of ‘The Wire’

Finding ourselves at the end of The Wire we might ask: what was the point of these sometimes hopeful but often tragic stories? What purpose did they serve?


Thursday, February 28 2008

Extra Ordinary: Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s Mad Prophets

Despite its talking hamburgers, mechanical rabbits and the like, Adult Swim's Aqua Teen Hunger Force is less surreal than hyperreal.


Sunday, November 25 2007

The Ghost Whisperer’s Television Whisperer

Reasons to watch Jennifer Love Hewitt in 'Ghost Whisperer', ways to detect rounded characters on a flat screen, and why I should be called 'Television Whisperer'.


Sunday, November 18 2007

Coming Up Clausen: An Interview with The Simpsons Composer

Alf Clausen explains the workings behind the music of The Simpsons, and shows how he fits right in.


Sunday, October 28 2007

Not Just a Fluke: How Darin Morgan Saved The X-Files

After playing the “Fluke Man”, Darin Morgan reluctantly agreed to write for The X-Files. His four episodes turned a struggling show around with humor and a deep concern with the pain of loneliness in a strange and incomprehensible world.


Tuesday, October 2 2007

Big Brother USA, Season Eight: The Most Dangerous Game

For Eight Seasons, Big Brother USA has brought numerous twists to reality TV. Here is a twist Big Brother might not have seen coming.


Friday, September 21 2007

Ken Burns’ Arithmetic of War: ‘The War’ Premieres Tonight

To its credit, The War considers the terrible effects of difference. But even as it argues that representations can make differences, it also exemplifies how limited vision can reinforce them.


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