“Enlisted” Review: “Alive Day”

I have this theory about “Enlisted” and why no one watched it through its brief run on FOX. It has nothing to do with the terrible time slot and the out-of-order airings. It has everything to do with the show more than occasionally presenting things most people don’t want to admit exists. It’s not just the fact that the United States has countless men and women in harm’s away all around the world while we have the luxury of bitching about the lack of cellphone service in elevators. It’s also the fact that most of us live haunted by fears of inadequacy, guilt, and the sneaking suspicious everyone else has figured things out while we wallow in unsure silence. And perhaps, just perhaps, that’s too much for most to take.

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Even if you don’t watch “Enlisted”, you’re not ready for it to be over

You’re going to miss “Enlisted” when it’s gone.

Make no mistake: I’m not talking to those that will tune in to the season one finale this Sunday. I’m talking to those that will stumble across this at some point in the near future on some streaming service by accident, decide to take a chance because hey, you’ve watched everything else, and then scream four hours later after consuming all thirteen episodes to no one in particular, “WHY DID NO ONE EVER TELL ME ABOUT THIS SHOW?”

That’s who I’m talking to right now. Not those that have already read everything I’ve written about the show.  Those in the future who are really mad there’s no more Hill brothers, no more Perez, no more Cody, no more Rear D. You.

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“24: Live Another Day” Review: “Day 9: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.”

One of the more interesting Twitter trends lately is the tendency for those who have the privilege of seeing episodes early to warn people to watch certain episodes live as they originally air. It’s a double-edged sword: It helps ensure that people in this DVR culture watch particular episodes in as real-time as possible to prevent possible spoilers, but it also all but says, “SHIT’S GETTING REAL BY WHICH WE MEAN SOMEONE’S GOING TO DIE”. It need not always mean that, but game-changing events can be diluted by any pre-delivered information, even in coded form. We can argue (and many have) about the true nature of “spoilers” and how they can affect the enjoyment of a certain show. But these tweets can certainly not be ignored, no matter what the individual tolerance for any insight before the airing of an episode may be.

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“Enlisted” Review: “Army Men”

Let’s review “Army Men” by looking at two faces. Read More »

Dispatches From The ATX Television Festival, Volume One: A high level look at the week that was

It’s less than 24 hours after returning from Austin, Texas for the third annual ATX Television Festival. And while I’m still dead tired from the experience, I wanted to write up a few thoughts about it while memories are still fresh. I’ll have a lot more content coming from this festival in the upcoming days and weeks, especially in relation to the panels I moderated, but I wanted to get some quick Q&A in while the proverbial iron was hot.
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Bill Lawrence on “Undateable,” rewarding fans, and the future of televised content

Even for an usually brutal winter, it’s a damn cold night in Boston as Bill Lawrence and the core cast of the upcoming NBC comedy “Undateable” roll into Boston this past March. Already unbearably cold for local denizens, the temperature seems to stun the Los Angeles natives that embarked on a multi-city comedy tour in order to promote a show that at the time didn’t even have an official premiere date. Not only does Lawrence serve as producer on the show, but he also is serving as emcee for the evening’s event on this, the second night of the tour. It’s also Lawrence’s second time on stage in nearly twenty years.

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The Only Guide To The ATX Television Festival That You’ll Need, Except For All The Other Ones

With the ATX Television Festival about two weeks away, I thought I’d offer up some thoughts as to what one might expect should one find oneself in Austin for the fest. Man, that’s a lot of hypotheticals already. We’re off to a bad start here.

Nonetheless, I figured I’d offer up some thoughts for those who are going for the first time or are thinking about ways to vary past experiences. Let’s break this down, FAQ style.

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Review: The Americans, “Echo”

(Note: my podcast about tonight’s final with Mo Ryan can be found here.)

Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” didn’t come out until 1989, the last year in the decade depicted in FX’s “The Americans.” But as the show’s second stellar season drew to a close, you could see all the major players reaching out and trying to touch faith. But all of those attempts fell crushingly short, as whatever source of strength that governed their actions throughout the season either proved inadequate or proved non-existent. False idolatry need not occur in the realm of pure religion, after all. It can happen when it comes to patriotism, love, or the sense that any one person is in full control of his/her destiny.

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Getting to “yes”: Redefining “big” stakes in modern television

The best and worst thing about having years of thoughts about television easily searchable online is that anyone can point to two statements that seemingly contradict one another and exclaim, “Aha! Hypocrite! Turn in your critic’s badge at the door and henceforth be gone from Al Gore’s interwebs!” Which is, of course, silly. There’s no such thing as a critic’s badge. There IS a critic’s pin, which is fashioned in the shape of a monocle, but that’s something else altogether.

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Why shows that break your heart are the most important ones to watch

If you watch enough TV, then it will inevitably break your heart. Maybe a show you love will kill off a character, or maybe it will go completely off the rails and lose any of the charm you once found in it. Or, as in the potential case of a show like “Enlisted,” not enough people will love the same thing you do, forcing the business side of the industry to step in and take that show prematurely off the air. All of this has happened before. All of this will happen again. And all of this is perfectly fine and healthy.

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