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Television

HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.

Recent
Television

Why I Did Not Watch 'Hamilton' on Disney+

Just as Disney's Frozen appeared to deliver a message of 21st century girl power, Hamilton hypnotizes audiences with its rhyming hymn to American exceptionalism.

Television

How HBO Max's Ballroom Dance Show 'Legendary' Became Compelling TV in 2020

Not many knew what to make of HBO Max's initial reality competition Legendary when it first premiered, but the high tensions that ended Season 1, Episode 5 escalated the vogue-tastic and defiantly queer celebration of ballroom culture into the must-watch event of the year.

Television

Fleabag's Hot Priest and Love as Longing

In season two of Fleabag, The Priest's inaccessibility turns him into a sort of god, powerful enough for Fleabag to suddenly find herself spending hours in church with no religious motivation.

Television

Power Struggle in Beauty Pageants: On 'Mrs. America' and 'Miss Americana'

Television min-series Mrs. America and Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana make vivid how beauty pageants are more multi-dimensional than many assume, offering a platform to some (attractive) women to pursue higher education, politics, and more.

Hilary Levey Friedman
Television

Don't Let Roseanne Barr Ruin Roseanne's Legacy

Watching the Roseanne family's hopes and dreams dashed over nine seasons made the show highly relatable then -- and now.

Television

To Watch a Predator: The Difficult Handling of 'RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 12'

While RuPaul's Drag Race remains a celebration of campy queer culture, Season 12 premiered as serious allegations against a contestant were quickly confirmed, forcing the producers to recut the episodes to diminish the influence of a now-known predator. Did the gambit work?

Television

Where's the Strong Woman in Netflix's Adaptation of 'Good Hunting'?

Contrary to the intention of Ken Liu's short story, "Good Hunting", Netflix presents a superficial arc of female empowerment, then allows animation and the role of male characters to undercut that message.

Television

What We Want vs. What We Need: How 'Twin Peaks: The Return' Resists Nostalgia

David Lynch and Mark Frost's seminal Twin Peaks is rich with insight as to how both people and works of fiction can age gracefully.

Television

Is 'The Alienist' a Critique of Capitalism or a Pro-Neoliberal Narrative?

Author Caleb Carr's The Alienist explores the 19th century psychiatric debate between free will and determinism. TNT's nearly identical adaptation of the novel, however, comes up with a completely different conclusion.

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.

Books

Nazism Repackaged? A Closer Look at the "Fascist Subtext" of 'Attack on Titan'

Many fantasy writers have incorporated the visual footprint of the Third Reich into their fictional worlds. Few, however, have done so as extensively as the creator of Attack on Titan, who revisited this terrible chapter of history not to find inspiration for a fearsome antagonist, but to excavate the divisive ideas that lay buried there.

Television

It Does Happen Here in HBO's 'The Plot Against America'

The organic growth of everyday American fascism and the understanding that pogroms are not a uniquely European phenomenon is rendered in stark and terrifying detail in David Simon's adaptation of Philip Roth's alternate historical novel, The Plot Against America.

Television

Sarah Watson's 'The Bold Type' As a Critique of Postfeminism

Television show The Bold Type goes against the postfeminist notion that feminists have conquered the patriarchy, let alone their own differences.

Television

You'll Never Make It Alone: On Groups in 'The Good Place'

What happens when you put an Arizona dirtbag, a human turtleneck, a narcissistic monster, and the dumbest person you've ever met in the same room? They become good people, sure, but more importantly, they become a group.

Television

In Nickelodeon's 'Rocko's Modern Life', Corporations Steal Our Souls to Enchant Their Commodities

In a society of things, social responsibility requires a recognition of the influence of commodities upon our most foundational spiritual experiences. Nickelodeon's animated series, Rocko's Modern Life, puts it simply.

Television

In HBO's 'Watchmen', the Devil Doesn’t Disappear

Damon Lindelof's over-plotted, over-anxious, daring, genre-hopping offshoot of Alan Moore's alternate-history graphic novel, Watchmen, is less a show about hunting down the bad guys than it is about the twisted turns and stubborn legacies of racist trauma in America -- and the resistance to atoning for it.

Television

Jane Goldman's 'Game of Thrones' Prequel Will Be Better Than the Original

As Empress of the Fantasists, if you will, Jane Goldman's prequel to Game of Thrones promises to be far less straightforward, way messier, and much more fun -- even without the dragons.

Television

'Designated Survivor' S3: How Do We Deal with Neo-Fascists, Anyway?

Designated Survivor Season Three effectively criticizes the Trump administration and poses complex questions in our time of the rise of the extreme right.

Television

Quit Dreaming: Quasi-Feminism in Nike's Women's Soccer "Dream Further" Ad

Women with economic privilege are positioned to celebrate Nike's "Dream Further" ad as progress while ignoring their complicity in the exploitation of other women.

Television

The Willful Child in HBO's 'My Brilliant Friend'

HBO's My Brilliant Friend feels almost radical for its raw and un-romanticized depiction of female friendship and resistance in all its emotional complexities.

Television

Shaun Evans, aka DS Endeavour Morse, on the Economy of the Gesture in Storytelling

When Shaun Evans was recruited to play young Morse, he had been acting for over ten years, yet it's Endeavour that's likely his magnum opus. In this interview, he discusses the defining work that not only allowed his acting talent to blossom but also nurtured his natural storytelling ability.

Television

Netflix's 'Bonding' Is Worth Getting Tied Up With

With Bonding, Netflix offers up a sweet and salty treat that explores what we must otherwise suppress within ourselves.

Television

The Catharsis of the Void in Anime Horror, 'Vampire Princess Miyu'

Within the 26 hard-to-find episodes of Vampire Princess Miyu, there are murders, suicide, and even murder-suicides. There really is something for everyone. So why did it fail?

Television

The Many Grace Notes in 'Grace and Frankie', Season 5

While Grace and Frankie is as fun as ever, season 5 suggests a sadder path for a show that has often pushed its sadness to the periphery.

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How Amazon's 'Homecoming: S1' Reveals Toxic White Womanhood

Homecoming provides us with a much-needed perspective on how a white woman like Heidi Bergman appears at first to be so well-meaning, even antithetical to the "Becky" meme, yet ultimately upholds white supremacy with a friendly smile, which is perhaps even more dangerous and insidious than America's "Beckys".

Television

What Is It About 'You'?

Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble's You (Netflix) is a gripping, grueling plunge into the dangers of modern dating and the accommodation our culture makes for men of a certain privilege.

Television

Vaporwave, Cartooned

Adult Swim's short film "Too Many Cooks" and Cartoon Network's Rick and Morty are distinctive examples of the Vaporwave Sensibility expressed in narrative-visual form.

Television

Mirroring Humans through Westworld’s Othered Artificial Intelligence

In the fantasy world of AI-populated Westworld, unchecked humankind regresses into violence toward the "Other" -- just as we do in the chaotic real world. Is that the essence of human nature, to always reject its' self as seen in the visage of the Other?

Television

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Optimism in 'Eight Hours Don't Make a Day' Isn't Cock-eyed, It's Beady-eyed

The series of small and large triumphs snatched from the teeth of social inertia leaves one elated at human potential. Eight Hours Don't Make a Day is Fassbinder's version of a "feel-good" film.

Television

HBO's 'Camping' Doesn’t Know What It Wants to Be

Camping is halfway through its first season. Are Girls, Lena Dunham or Jennifer Garner superfans the only ones still watching?

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Not (Just) a Laughing Matter: Nuanced Representations of Depression in Three Netflix Sitcoms

One Day at a Time, Bojack Horseman, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt each offer insight and understanding into mental illness quite unlike television shows we've seen before.

Television

The Chemistry of Cluelessness in Michael Schur's Sitcoms

Stupid people have a home in Michael Schur's smart comedies.

Television

'Troy: Fall of a City' Was Overlooked for the Wrong Reasons

Troy: Fall of a City tries to attack our racial prejudice but reveals more about our Classical ignorance.

Television

Make Thebes Great Again? The Ancient, Twisted Roots of 'American Horror Story: Cult'

In a parallel to Euripides' The Bacchae, American Horror Story: Cult hammers home that not giving in to fear will not save you.

Television

'Narcos' and the Trap of Tropicalism

How the Netflix original series Narcos “otherizes" Colombia and Latin American through its single-story focus.

Linnete Manrique
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