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41 Shows Reviewed in 140 Characters or Less

By on Dec 23, 2009 in Inanities | 1 comment

Note: The following post first appeared as an article by the same name in The Climax, Hampshire College’s newspaper. Also, some of these micro-reviews may exceed 140 characters—my bad! I am a student of television. Writing television scripts is my Division III [a senior project, in Hampshire speak]. So I have no shame in the fact that I watch all of the shows below religiously. I study the craft, folks. That’s a lie—I am ashamed of some of them, but I’m feeling forthright in my fourth-year-ness. Anyway, I only assumed that I couldn’t review all my shows for The Climax before I graduate. And then it occurred to me: I could review each in 140 characters or less. (Arbitrary number, I swear.) 24 Some seasons fire on all cylinders, and some make you want to shoot yourself in the kneecap. But I’m still a fan of the Bauer Power Hour. 30 Rock Is Tina Fey God? Even if not, this show is in...

The Prime Times: Vai Com Deus Edition

By on Nov 19, 2009 in In Brief | 0 comments

Here are the latest news items from the idiot-box world: Lost finally has a return date—the final season will premiere with a two-hour installment on Tuesday, February 2, at 9/8c on ABC. Chuck‘s return date was also announced today. The action-comedy will return with two episodes on Sunday, January 10, and then another one the following night as it settles into its normal timeslot of Mondays at 8/7c. The show was on the brink of cancellation this past spring until fans rallied to show their support. NBC gave the show another vote of confidence a few weeks ago when it upped its order from 13 episodes to 19. ABC has released some neat-o promo images for V showing the Visitors’ motherships hovering above the world’s metropolitan centers. One is shown above, and you can view the rest at io9. Just as I was wondering where Smallville actor Sam Jones, III has been all this...

Doll Roll Call

By on Sep 16, 2009 in Inanities | 1 comment

With actors like Mariska Hargitay and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, the primetime landscape is not for want of unusual names. But no show has more on its payroll than Dollhouse, as anyone who has studied the opening titles can attest. Eliza Dushku, Tamhoh Penikett, Dichen Lachman, Fran Kranz, etc. If it weren’t for dear Olivia Williams and her ordinary name, I would have thought that having a distinctive name was a prerequisite for being cast! No sooner did I think to point this out on my blog than I saw a video in which the cast members talk about the same peculiarity of their show. (And thank God, because otherwise I would have never known how to pronounce the name Enver Gjokaj.) Check it out...

Dostoyevsky Novels and the Dream Era

By on Aug 26, 2009 in In Production | 0 comments

The A.V. Club recently posted an in-depth interview with comedian/actor Patton Oswalt, the voice of the rat in Ratatouille and the star of upcoming drama Big Fan (and, incidentally, a man whose first name is my middle!). His insights into comedy, acting, and fatherhood are all astute and articulate (if a tad profane). But the parts I want to share with you are those in which he expounds upon the state of television, in light of his guest-starring roles on shows like Dollhouse and Caprica. When asked whether he’d commit to being a series regular for a television show (an undertaking few movie stars are willing to make), he replied: Oh yeah. What’s really odd now—trust me, I love doing movies, but right now, television is the way Hollywood was in the late ’60s and early ’70s. The dream era I would have loved to have been part of in Hollywood then is happening right now, but it’s...

An Elegy for the Remote-Free

By on Aug 1, 2009 in Tinseltown | 0 comments

The following post was originally published on my old blog on April 1, 2009. One of my favorite practices this season was Fox’s “remote-free TV” model, in which the networks aired fewer commercials during each episode of Fringe and Dollhouse—while charging advertisers more for the exclusivity—in an effort to keep viewers watching live, instead of recording the shows and fast-forwarding through the commercials. I liked it because, as a result, each episode’s running time was 49 or 50 minutes, instead of just 42 or 43 minutes. Unfortunately, the experiment had its share of setbacks, according to this article at Airlock Alpha. Even though viewers paid more attention to the ads, many companies were reluctant to shell out the extra bucks. Also, each episode was more expensive to produce—and the extra minutes of each episode would be cut if the show was ever to air on...