Archive by Author

I’ve been bad about updating this regularly, so in the meantime, if you’re looking for my latest stuff, here’s where it can be found (click the publication name for my author pages):

Scripted TV Reviews (Bates Motel, Hannibal, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, etc) at Collider

Unscripted / Reality / Documentary TV Reviews at Hollywood Reporter 

Guntucky: TV Review


CMT’s “Guntucky” series, celebrating family and firearms, suffers from an uncomfortable and unavoidable association with the tragedies at Sandy Hook, in Boston and in West, Texas.

CMT’s Guntucky was originally meant to air in January of this year, but was unsurprisingly postponed after the Sandy Hook tragedy. In the week before its new premiere date, tragedy struck again: this time not guns, but bombs at the Boston Marathon, followed by a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, more violence in Boston and bomb threats around the country. Guntucky trades in both guns and explosives, but the problem with its presentation is not in the story of a family owned Kentucky gun range, nor in the hillybilly entertainment, but some of the more insidious implications. “America is the greatest country in the world,” an Argentinean man says after the range allows him to blow up his boat on their property, “because you can pretty much do whatever you want.” … READ MORE

HANNIBAL Episode Recap: “Potage”


I can’t remember the last time I’ve so emphatically recommended a network drama.  Hannibal, a mere three episodes in, is already heads and shoulders above, say, The Following, not just because of its writing and acting, but its style.  Few people can put a visual stamp on things like Bryan Fuller, and while Hannibal and Will inhabit their own distinct spaces and looks, it’s the loathsome Freddie Lounds who really embodies that slightly cartoony / candy-colored world that Fuller built in Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies.  In Hannibal it’s more muted, but the time-lapsed establishing shots and vivid staging (the chat in the hospital’s greenhouse, or in the bright fall leaves behind the Hobbs’ house) still keep things from looking like a rote procedural.  So does the advent of Abigail Hobbs.  Hit the jump for why you should never threaten someone who thinks about murder all day (like kittens) … READ MORE

THE AMERICANS Episode Recap: “Covert War”


The Americans has its flaws, but the one thing it gets really right — and that it dedicated almost all of “Covert War” to — is its bleak deconstruction of marriage.  The Americans has always been dour, and it’s not a show I ever get excited about watching.  But once I’m in the show’s world, I’m interested to see how things play out.  “Covert War,” though, highlighted some of the best things about The Americans, and in the process, made everyone feel like crap.  Hit the jump for why “I only have fear … and you.” … READ MORE

BATES MOTEL Recap: “Ocean View”


I have to admit, I was having my doubts about Bates Motel, but “Ocean View” really turned things around.  The town’s tangled web of fear and intimidation is starting to have its trickled-down repercussions for our main characters, and is setting up some interesting twists.  One of the biggest questions was answered, too: can we believe what Norman sees?  After the hallucination about his mother that lead him to Shelby’s hose, it’s been confusing whether what Norman sees is real or not.  But in “Ocean View” it seems that, thanks to some corroboration from other characters, unless otherwise notified, Norman’s experiences are real.  Which, in one case, is fairly terrifying. Hit the jump for why you should always ask yourself, “if I had an Asian sex slave, where would I keep her?” … READ MORE

DEFIANCE Preview; New Syfy Series Is Also a $100 Million Joint Gaming Venture


There have been many attempts to marry the TV and gaming worlds with interactive features that encourage viewers to immerse fully in a fantasy universe.  Most don’t take.  But the Syfy channel and game developer Trion Worlds are betting big — like a reported $100 million big — that their collaboration of science fiction TV show and first person shooter MMO will turn out to be a hit.

Defiance is set a mere 33 years in the future, where humans now live side by side with a number of alien races.  The world looks exceptionally different than it does now, with alien technology augmenting our science, and something called the “Pale Wars” destroying much of the planet.  St. Louis, it turns out, is one of the only refuges of civilization left, but those within its gated walls still have plenty to fear.  Hit the jump for more on this new series, and whether it’s worth a watch. … READ MORE

Call Me Crazy: A Five Film: TV Review


Lifetime’s star-studded but emotionally exhausting short-film collection about mental illness is a mixed bag.

In 2011, Lifetime debuted Five, which, through five short films, chronicled moments in the lives of women with breast cancer. The cable network collected recognizable names and faces on both sides of the camera for the project, with mixed results. In his reviewTHR‘s David Knowles called it “a heavy-handed therapy session,” and while there certainly are moments where that feels true in Five‘s follow-up,Call Me Crazy (this time about mental illness), its earnestness should not be dismissed. … READ MORE

MAD MEN Recap: “Collaborators”


Has everyone recovered from the Mad Men premiere?  So many mixed emotions this week about that double-dose first episode this season — some great moments, but a dark way to open the new season.  This week though, “Collaborators” settled back down into the show we maybe expect it to be.  We actually spent some time in the Sterling Cooper Draper (Pryce?) offices, and were treated therein to a Reverse Don effect.  There was still plenty of Don staring off into the past and into keyholes (Jon Hammdirected this episode and did an admirable job) and lots of questions about the future, but we also got a healthy dose of office politics and another comparison of Pete’s life versus Don’s.  Hit the jump for why “if you come within 50 feet of this house and so much as open your fly to urinate, I will destroy you.” … READ MORE

GAME OF THRONES Recap: “Walk of Punishment”


By the light of R’hllor, what a fantastic hour of television — this is Game of Thrones at its best.  So many scenes this week were quietly indicative of character.  We didn’t need to rely on sexposition or chatter to get at the heart of things: a simple dragging of a chair spoke volumes.  Even though the show jumped around again this week and visited almost everyone (giving some, like Jon and Stannis, only a few moments of time), it still felt laid-back, accessible, and not frantic in its pacing.  Time spent at Riverrun and King’s Landing and even in the woods with Brienne and Jaime was slow and thoughtful, and did a lot in the way of character building.  Hit the jump for why horse-part crop circles are all the rage north of the Wall. … READ MORE

DA VINCI’S DEMONS Preview; David S. Goyer Puts A Modern Spin On An Old Master


Something about Da Vinci’s Demons, a new 8-part Starz miniseries, felt very familiar as I was watching its first two episodes.  The handsome, fit young man, the flowing blouse (chest always exposed), the leather “tunic” that really just looks like a regular modern leather jacket, a portrait of a genius as a young, lusty rogue — yes, I’ve got it: it’s Shakespeare In Love!  Tom Riley, as Leonardo da Vinci, is particularly reminiscent of Joseph Fiennes in his portrayal of a young and lusty William Shakespeare, and it’s neither a wholly good or wholly bad thing.  Hit the jump for my preview of this upcoming drama (which is worth a watch) and why, as it says, “history is a lie.” … READ MORE