Category Archives: Theories

Plot versus story, redux

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When it comes to TV, plot is not important. That thought rang out while watching the fourth episode of this season of “Orange Is The New Black” the other night. (Yes, I’m “behind,” or whatever that means in the days of bingewatching. Whatever.) Very little has […]

The Heart Over The Head

Part of why I stopped writing so many episodic recaps was functional: The pace at which I was writing them outstripped my desire to keep doing them. But part of it was also due to that fact that I couldn’t do the type of writing I always wanted to do, because so much of that […]

The difference between joy and relief in the modern TV landscape

Savoring is the new binging. Well, it would be if I were Emperor Of Pop Culture. But since that position doesn’t exist, and since I probably wouldn’t have the savvy or martial forces to capture such a title, bingewatching is the predominant way many people currently consume television. It’s a little strange to step back […]

All Art Was Not Made For You

It’s 2015, yet we still need to disabuse some of the notion that not all art is made for them. I’m writing in this in the wake of James Poniewozik’s excellent piece today about the “Not For Me” moment in television viewing. He says a lot of things I wish I had said first, but […]

Dear Internet: Forgive Damon Lindelof, and Forgive Yourselves

The title really says it all. To be clear up front: I’m talking to those that forced Lindelof to leave Twitter, those that bitterly complained about “Lost” with every tweet he delivered, those that nearly four and a half years after the series finale can’t take that episode’s sole mantra and simply let go. You. […]

The “Community” Renewal, or, Introduction To Starting Over

The renewal of “Community” means everything. And the renewal of “Community” means nothing. Both statements are polar opposites of one another, yet utterly true at the same time. Instead of a cat inside Schrödinger’s box, Dan Harmon is under there, probably thinking, “Holy shit, I actually have to do this now, don’t I?” Both are […]

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 […]