Category Archives: Theories

Who Moved My TV Character’s Cheese: Why we respond to strongly to vocational competency on television

Last night’s “Saturday Night Live” parody of “Scandal” was simultaneously funny and instructive. As a fan of both shows, I had reservations when the sketch started: recent “SNL” parodies of programs such as “The Walking Dead” and “Homeland” have missed core aspects of the show so badly that the mockery didn’t land at all. But […]

Why renewing “Parks And Recreation” may not be the best move for either NBC or the show itself

News broke today that NBC would be renewing “Parks And Recreation” for a seventh season. It’s a piece of news that’s somewhat surprising: “Parks” has never been high in the ratings, and it’s been perpetually on the chopping block. That has meant that Mike Schur and company have written what amounted to series finales at […]

Days of television past: When looking back prevents looking at the present

There’s a disclaimer you often see in advertising commercials for financial companies: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” It’s that firm’s way of telling potential investors that the returns touted aren’t necessarily indicative of how an investment strategy will perform henceforth. It’s a combination of legalese and practical advice: The market is inherently […]

Why the Nielsen Twitter ratings might harm more than help TV fans

As someone who has livetweeted his fair share of shows over the years, most of what follows might seem fairly hypocritical. And that’s fine. We’re going to talk about degrees rather than pure principle today, since I’m not calling for the abolition of the act. But it’s worth thinking about it in light of the […]

When talking about TV isn’t enough: A study about (and around) the “Breaking Bad” premiere

So let’s break down AMC’s Sunday night and only say eight actual words about “Breaking Bad.” Sound good? Good.
Let me state up front that I don’t watch preview trailers as a general rule. This comes from both personal and professional preference. I don’t like seeing a glimpse of what’s going to come as a fan. […]

“Doctor Who” has a new lead, but is in more desperate need of a new showrunner

News that Peter Capaldi is the Twelfth Doctor in “Doctor Who” will be the main headline that comes out of today’s live special to announce the newest Doctor. Overall, the special was the type of fluff reserved for basketball players announcing where they will next take their talents: Thirty seconds of news took up nearly […]

Why Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe leaving “Parks And Recreation” is an opportunity for the show

When word broke that Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe would be leaving “Parks and Recreation” after this upcoming season’s thirteenth episode, I had two reactions. The first was shock. The second was relief.
Now, let’s back up almost instantly here. That relief says nothing about Jones and Lowe, two talented performers that are pros at what […]

What TV critics can learn from Chris Hardwick

The announcement that Chris Hardwick will be hosting a new talk show on AMC called “Talking Bad” has opened up predictable cries of horror from those for whom Hardwick’s brand of “fanboy as corporate mouthpiece” shtick rubs them the wrong way. Hardwick has seemingly never met a show or a celebrity he didn’t absolutely love, […]

What “Sharknado” and “Scandal” teach us about the future of television

It’s been three days since SyFy first aired “Sharkado,” yet those seventy-two hours feel more like seventy-two days in terms of pop culture applicability. What was for a brief time the only thing one could tweet about has already turned into something of an artifact, with a combination of competing interests and newsworthy items filling […]

Television needs an antidote for anti-heroes

As a straight white male, I have to say that I’m increasingly disinterested in the problems of straight white males as the driving force of my televised entertainment.
A lot of this has crystalized for me over the past few weeks, but it’s been a long time coming. Copious words have been written in recent months […]