Introducing The TV Thunderdome

I generally don’t comment upon ad campaigns for television shows, since I’m into reviewing shows, not promos. A skillful promo can be made for a crappy show, and the reverse is also true. (That first FOX promo for “Enlisted” was so bad it probably killed the show before it even aired.) Talking about a promo that originally aired over two months ago for programs that have since ended their respective seasons might seem odd at best and downright lazy at worst, but allow me this late exception all the same.

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State of the Writing Union

About every six months or so I go into a spiral in which I wonder things like WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, not in terms of my overall life per se but the writing part of it specifically. It’s one of my more charming qualities, and I’m sure those of you that have been reading me for a long time take private bets on what week I’ll deploy one of these bad boys. Luckily, this iteration isn’t nearly as mopey as past ones, at least I hope.

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Old School: I Wanna Boof

“Old School” is a series of old posts that I wrote when I first started writing online over a decade ago. Most have been lost except for my own copies, as I’ve had trouble archiving my material online. Very few of them have anything to do about TV. Most of them have a lot to do about me.

Originally published August 19, 2003

So today I wanna talk about “The Boof”. Read More »

Monday Morning Critic: Penny’s Anatomy

Welcome back to another installment of the Monday Morning Critic. In this space each week, I’ll be looking at the week that was in addition to the week ahead in television. The format will shift each week, as the world of TV will dictate the form and content of each piece.

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Monday Morning Critic: Goodbye to “Justified”

Welcome back to another installment of the Monday Morning Critic. In this space each week, I’ll be looking at the week that was in addition to the week ahead in television. The format will shift each week, as the world of TV will dictate the form and content of each piece.

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Monday Morning Critic: Two FX comedies

Welcome back to another installment of the Monday Morning Critic. In this space each week, I’ll be looking at the week that was in addition to the week ahead in television. The format will shift each week, as the world of TV will dictate the form and content of each piece.

In this week’s installment: reviews of FX’s “The Comedians” and “Louie.”
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“Cougar Town” Review: “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”

I’m drinking a glass of wine as I write this, which feels appropriate. (It’s white wine, however. Don’t tell Ellie.) I haven’t written about “Cougar Town” since its fourth season, the last I covered extensively. I’ve enjoyed the last three seasons in fits and spurts, while also recognizing that comedies are hard to keep fresh over the long haul, especially with the original guiding voices moving on to do other projects. But it’s a show I’ve always treasured since season one, and it could hit certain sweet spots that few other shows in the current TV landscape even attempted. It was sweet, it was sophomoric, it was swooningly romantic, it was swimming with contradictory impulses.

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Monday Morning Critic: Ten things I think that I think

Welcome back to another installment of the Monday Morning Critic. In this space each week, I’ll be looking at the week that was in addition to the week ahead in television. The format will shift each week, as the world of TV will dictate the form and content of each piece.

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5 Questions And 500 Words: “Galavant”

Welcome to another installment of “5 Questions and 500 Words,” my approach to reviewing the crazy amount of shows that will be unspooling/returning over the course of the next few weeks. Given the glut of shows, and the glut of reviews that will be published for these shows, I’m keeping things short and sweet. This is for your convenience and my sanity.

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“Sleepy Hollow” Review: “Heartless” and season two as a whole

Last year, I put “Sleepy Hollow” on my year-end Best Of 2013 list.  And I stand by it. (Mostly because such arbitrary lists are snapshots in time and therefore immune to retroactive analysis, but still!) It was a bonkers show in the best way, owning up to its own silliness but also giving us two central characters in Ichabod Crane/Abbie Mills with such charm and chemistry that they sold the entire endeavor. A combination of monster-of-the-week procedural, alternate history hypotheses, and a disarming amount of humor, “Sleepy Hollow” was the best surprise of last year’s crop of shows.

The show aired its final season one episodes soon after that list went up, and then went silent for nearly ten months. The thirteen-episode inaugural season put the pedal to the narrative medal, and while that’s a commendable choice, it’s not one that necessarily guarantees actual success. But all the pieces fell into place, especially with its final reveal that John Noble’s sin-eater was in fact the son of Ichabod and Ichabod’s purgatory-inhabiting wife Katrina. It made no sense, but it gave the show another much-needed dose of emotional realism. Rather than make this apocalyptic tale about the end of the world, this choice made “Sleepy Hollow” a tale about a fractured family trying to put the pieces back together under enormously strained circumstances. Perfect. All the elements were there for the show to take The Leap in season two.

So why has season two been such a slog?

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