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Music

Counterbalance 25: Television - 'Marquee Moon'

Television’s 1977 masterpiece Marquee Moon is the 25th Greatest Album of All Time, but is it too “too too” to put a finger on? Counterbalance sees it all backward.

Recent
Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Film

Be Kind. Please Rewind: An Ode to the VCR

Like Netflix, the VCR diluted and transformed the film itself.

Sports

Sense and Sensibility at the World Cup

I've sworn, after learning about the latest kleptocrat billionaire to buy a club, or scrambling from the clash between hooligans and riot police, or hearing a homophobic chant rise up from the stands, I would give up on the game. Anyone with sense would.

Television

'Black Mirror' Season 5 Should Be Its Last

It makes perfect sense that 2019 — the last year of the decade — should also be the last year for one of the 2010s' best shows. To continue would be a disservice to viewers.

Television

Never Ending Endings in 'The Avengers: Endgame' and 'Game of Thrones'

In both The Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones, the key conflicts are not between good and evil, as one might think, but between the beginnings and endings of their stories.

Books

Quinlan Miller's 'Camp TV' Could Use Some Levity

Under the aegis of fluidity, Quinlan Miller advances a trans-conscious viewpoint in Camp TV that happily takes a pick-ax to more basic gender studies approaches to pop media.

Books

The One About the One About 'Friends'

Kelsey Miller's I'll Be There for You, on the production and cultural legacy of Friends, is a must-read for fans and anyone interested in understanding TV culture over the past 20 years.

Film

A Stranger Thing: Shannon Purser on 'Sierra Burgess Is a Loser'

Shannon Purser discusses her debut role in film, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, catfishing, and the unrealistic expectations imposed on today's youth.

Hans Rollman
Books

Chris Stamey's Homage to the New York Music Scene of the '70s

A Spy In The House of Loud works best on quiet stages, taking singular trips down clearly paved roads with definite endings.

Television

Sound and Silence in FX's 'The Americans'

Quiet on the set! Nathan Barr's Emmy-nominated theme song -- and his at times chilling soundtrack for this tale of Russian spies in America during the Cold War -- is now available on CD.

Books

'Homey Don't Play That': A Tale of Emmy-winning Black Comedy Sitcom 'In Living Color'

Comedy is a cruelly subjective art form, and not much of it survives outside of its time frame.

Film

Morgan Neville on the "Radical Kindness" of 'Mr. Rogers Neighborhood'

Eschewing nostalgia, filmmaker Neville of Won't You Be My Neighbor is far more interested in Fred Rogers' ideas than his biography.

Television

Outrageousness Takes a Holiday in 'Archer S8: Dreamland'

This may be a clever homage to classic hard-boiled detective fiction from the '40s, but Archer in Dreamland is not the wild man we've come to love/hate.

Television

Puritans with Machine Guns in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

The first season of this icily horrific series is a crash course in the possibilities of a uniquely American 'It Could Happen Here' patriarchal Christian fascism.

Television

Going Back to Things Unknown with 'The Outer Limits'

The Outer Limits is a mix of science fiction, nightmares, and surrealism -- the very things that make life worth living even though they scare the bejeebers out of us.

Film

True/False Film Fest: 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?'

Director Morgan Neville cuts straight to the heart of matters with this moving biography of Fred Rogers.

Film

True/False Film Fest: 'Our New President'

The next film from Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer director Maxim Pozdorovkin treats us to Russian propaganda about the United States.

Books

'The Prisoner' Has Superbly Outlived Its Original Context

Rogue filmmaker Alex Cox ties The Prisoner's island mentality and palpable "cupcake fascism" to current political events, including Brexit, in I Am Not a Number.

Television

'Curb Your Enthusiasm' S9 Couldn't Find Its Rhythm

Curb Your Enthusiasm's well-established characters are reacting to their former selves, rather than inhabiting or reinventing themselves. Thus, it loses the rhythms and inflections that once made the show so consistently, diabolically funny.

Music

The Light and Dark​ Music in ' Mr. Robot': A Conversation with Mac Quayle

Emmy-winning Composer Mac Quayle is one of the best in the TV soundtrack business. His mastery of synthesized instrumentation is perfectly suited to Mr. Robot's theme.

Interviews

New York Minute, Hollywood Moment: An Interview with Actor David Labiosa

"In 1980, I was a Hispanic in a lead role on television. It was a big deal." The veteran of the acting business for 40 years relates a wealth of memories working in the Hollywood industry.

Reviews

'Television: A Biography' Showcases How TV Is an Insanely Mutative Beast

David Thomson's lucrative and exhaustive biography of television reminds us that the continuously morphing state of TV matches our increasingly digitally-enhanced society.

Television

The Fourth Season of 'Inside Amy Schumer' Turns Inward at a Cost

As Trainwreck and Inside Amy Schumer's third season demonstrated, Schumer’s comedy's most potent when it explores the stakes of what it skewers.

Katie Dyson
Books

Unbuttoning America: A Biography of Peyton Place

With its frank discussions of poverty, sexuality, class and ethnic discrimination, and small-town hypocrisy, Peyton Place was more than a tawdry potboiler.

Ardis Cameron
Television

Every Generation Gets the 'Daredevil' It Deserves

Marvel's Daredevil is a reminder that our pop culture, even that which is rooted in the pulp tradition, can be vivid, vital, and powerful.

Television

Can Television Be a Solution to Hollywood's Diversity Problem?

We are living in the second Golden Age of Television, and not just because the writing is so good: TV is where we can tune in for real diversity.

Books

Wife Swaps and Pawn Shops: 'The Triumph of Reality TV'

There’s no shortage of good research to be conducted on modern television, nor can it truly be said that what Leigh Edwards has accomplished isn’t good research.

Reviews

'Wilfred': Bone-Dry Humor in a Warm and Wicked Cartoon Universe

The Aussie Wilfred fleshes out its sitcom universe with impressive worldbuilding and genuine heart amongst the weed smoke and scatological humor.

Film

Stone Me, What a Life: Tony Hancock's Lasting Impact on Comedy

Tony Hancock played an Every Man with the lovable charm and the infuriating selfishness of a know-nothing know-it-all. Like his character, most of us want what we don't have and the rest of the world, we believe, is responsible for our dissatisfaction.

Film

Truth is Fiction: The Work of Haskell Wexler, Part 2, 'Medium Cool'

Medium Cool is the ultimate amalgamation of reality and illusion. Fictional characters live in real situations; real characters exist in fictional situations.

Music

On Making that Holiday Music List and Checking It Twice

It's that time of the year, again. Music fans are making their lists of what they hope to find wrapped in pretty paper at Christmas, and music publications are making their lists of what should be on those lists. Now, I have something to say about lists.

Books

The World's Favourite Parlour Game: The Quite Interesting Brilliance of 'QI'

We rarely equate television game shows with admirable life philosophies, but the BBC's QI with host Stephen Fry pulls it off by making us think as well as laugh.

Television

'Campus' Series Premiere

The new series from the makers of Green Wing feels like comedy by the numbers.

Television

Wonders of the Universe: Music to Watch Stars By

The key to the success of pop-star turned physicist Professor Brian Cox's shows is in their titles: Wonder. Each episode is replete with stunning nature photography shot in some of the grandest locations on Earth.

Television

"It Will Change the Genre Forever": An Interview with "The Walking Dead's" Jeryl Prescott

"It seemed like an odd marriage: Frank Darabont and AMC ... and zombies." Jeryl Prescott talks about how her Southern roots prepared her for this story of zombie apocalypse in the South.

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