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Wednesday, 28 of October of 2020

Category » Rant

Why Falling Skies is better than The Walking Dead

Obviously, plenty of spoilers for both shows follow.

Post-apocalyptic survival has always been a great source of entertainment and storytelling and no two shows have garnered more buzz in the last year than AMC’s The Walking Dead and TNT’s Falling Skies. While the two programs give us very different looks at a very similar overall idea (scrounging for survival), the differences between the shows indicate one is clearly superior to the other.


For starters, the shows treat action in very different ways. The Walking Dead is actually pretty boring when it comes to this point. For its six episode first season there is not a lot going on in terms of excitement. Is there peril? Sure, but there is not nearly enough ass-kicking, head-exploding action one would expect from the genre. Some will make the argument that AMC has made a “classy” zombie show. They weren’t looking to be all gore and scares, you know, things inherent of the genre. Yeah they kill a zombie every now and then and yeah there was that terrible (CG wise, not plot wise. Well…plot wise too) explosion in the finale, but I needed more! With Falling Skies, we get action left and right. Between the aliens (who we actually get to see. Take that, V!) and the mechs and the ships and the outlaw group there is plenty of stuff to shoot at, hide from and blow up.  The show is incredibly action-packed. When you’re fighting for survival it’s nice to see some actual fighting. And they did it in one-third the amount of episodes. Read more »

The Killing – “Missing”

Rosie who? I no longer care. But I still love "The Killing."

Man, I loved this episode.

With her son missing, Sarah and her partner Holder scour the town in search for him.  I loved the tense interplay between Sarah and Holder, the palpable fear on Sarah’s face as she faces the same horror as the Larsens, the sense that both these detectives are so damaged but trying so hard to return to “normal” relations with their respective families. During her 10 hour search for her missing son, Sarah must face not only fear of loss but also her inadequacies as a parent. Best moment? When Holder compares Sarah to an orphaned cat who has never been taught to hide her own feces.

Heres the rub.  Do you know what was the primary trouble with this episode? It wasn’t an episode of The Killing.

Read more »

Nick and Noel Talk about Chuck (Probably) Being Renewed

So rumors are circulating that Chuck will be picked up for a fifth season of 13 episodes (and, knowing NBC, it will then get a surprise back order to fill the hole left by Wonder Woman). Like with House, we discuss what we think they show could do in this (yet another) miracle season, why only G4 would want this show for syndication, and that it’s probably time to do away with the Buy More. For real this time.

Noel: WHY. Why, Nicholas? Why.

Nick: I can’t explain it.

Noel: I mean…What happens if NBC needs to fill 11 more weeks? AGAIN? You may kill youself.

Nick: Which they almost assuredly will. I mean, Wonder Woman is part of their development program.

Read more »

Matt and Nick Talk about House Being Renewed

Watch the whole thing, please.

In case you missed it, House, MD was finally renewed after some minor squabbling and some folks taking some pay cuts. Here to discuss what that means for us, the audience, are Matt and Nick

Matt: SO. Finally. Season 8.

Nick: The only thing really surprising is how long it took to get there.
It’s not like they were going to cancel House. Even if Donal Logue was on it.

(Which, I think is in the TV rulebooks that, if Donal Logue makes an appearance, the show has to be cancelled)

Matt: So what would happen if he were to be on a show with Summer Glau?

Nick: That episode would never make it to air.

Although there would be leaked photos of Summer Glau.

Matt: Mmmm. I’m okay with this.

Nick: And if that episode was written by Tim Minnear, well, that would have to be burned.

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America’s Best Dance Crew – Week 4: Katy Perry Challenge

Bet this is a show you never thought you’d see on this site. It’s kind of hard to “review” a dance competition like this because it is so heavily reliant on being able to actually see the dances. And I know close to zero terminology for dance moves and such. So this is going to be more of a rant, but a rant containing events that occurred in the episode. So it counts. It’s a rant and a recap of sorts. A rantcap, Patent pending.

This episode was specifically constructed by MTV to make me Matt-rage. And Matt-rage I did. Oh how I Matt-raged. (Matt-rage is also patent pending.)

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In Defense of Castle (and Smart TV Criticism)

Timothy Yenter alerted me to this article from the New York Times reviewing ABC’s Castle. While Timothy sums up what should be the general response to this article well, (“Nothing interesting to say about artifice. Random, unhelpful asides. Disdainful tone”) I felt compelled to chime in with something a bit more than a tweet.

I don’t review Castle here on the blog because I’ve never been happy with anything I’ve ever written about it. It’s not that that I have nothing to say about it, it’s just I don’t find anything I write particularly interesting. I know that Matt also watches it, but he doesn’t write about because, and I think this is correct, he likes enjoying the show on a purely non-critical level.

But this article isn’t just about defending Castle (and it’s worth defending), it’s about demanding smart writing about television, and not the wildly dismissive, bordering on elitist, dreck that the Times has passed off as television criticism. Read more »

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Mid-season checkup: Hellcats

The real stars of the CW's Hellcats

We did a series of reviews of new series at the beginning of the season, so I thought I’d check in on one of those series that has managed to hold my attention up to this point.  My attention, though held, could easily get distracted.  Here’s my intervention for the CW’s Hellcats.

If you had asked me at the beginning of the year whether I thought I’d be more likely to be watching Hellcats or Life Unexpected, I’d have said the latter. Turns out, I would have been completely wrong. While back eps of the latter continue to languish on my DVR (amidst news that it is likely to be canceled soon), each week I find myself enjoying Hellcats more and more (primary difference between the two shows?  Hellcats actually features some likeable, 3-dimensional characters, unlike Life Unexpected). Here are a few reasons why I like this show—along with a few frustrations.

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Private Practice – “Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?”

What does this image say to you? Can an image speak?

I have a cute little post about Hellcats ready to publish. It is kinda silly and kinda fun, but I think I’m gonna hold off on that for a moment. Instead, I’d like to offer a few words about Private Practice.

Rape storylines always get me going.  As a former rape victim advocate and all around self-proclaimed feminist, the issue of rape troubles me more than other crimes.  It isn’t that it is a “woman’s issue,” per se, because men are raped, too.  Rather, I am troubled because we, as a society, seem incapable of comprehending the full horror of this crime and its impact.  This week’s episode of Private Practice has invited questions about the limits of television, about its ability to exploit, and about its potential to expose something true.  I think it is an important one to talk about further. So, more about this after the jump.

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Psych Live! – or How the World Will Ruin an Old Woman’s Victory

Shawn and Gus bump fists in a Psych promo.

Let’s take it down. What?

Saturday Night Live is busted. It’s not broken forever and the format isn’t dead. But it limps into every Saturday evening on the backs of Weekend Update, The Lonely Island, maybe the musical guest, and whichever topical host that wants to shill their product that week. The show is burdened by unfunny sketches and a desperate search for its identity. We are in the midst of building years for the series (as it has gone through several times in its history) and, while the writers try to rediscover their voice and themselves, the show is grasping for hooks anywhere they can.

Notice I said “topical” hosts. This typically means whatever male or female actor who has a new movie coming out or a television project on the network with some synergy value. But with hosts like Tom Brady, Michael Phelps, and Taylor Swift stepping into Alec Baldwin and Christopher Walken’s shoes, the host position isn’t just the coveted prize of any quick-thinking, steady-nerved actor but is a contribution of fame to anyone remotely recognizable.

It speaks to our times that viewers could amass enough clout to campaign for a woman they mostly knew as Rose Nylund to host the show in the twilight of her life. Betty White was a brilliant choice for Saturday Night Live host, even if most of the participants in the campaign weren’t aware of her decades of legit and television history before spinning tales of St. Olaf. It was remarkable that a grassroots movement could affect the casting decision of an institution. They never needed help before. But that is something that identifies the current paradigm of television audiences. We’ve gone from accepting what little we were given to turning the channel on something we don’t like to attempting to dictate what we consume, no longer viewing the medium (and those in charge) as being walled-off from the masses. And in an industry where viewing habits are shaking the foundations of an aging, if not antiquated, business model, the industry is willing to let the people speak (a little bit anyway).

But it may have opened the door to madness. Facebook is flooded with nominees to host SNL from Stephen Colbert to Joe Rogan to, er, Blake. And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with these pages inherently. Sure, the unified effort to push Betty White back into the spotlight has to splinter a little bit among all these choices but pages like this have always been around, just no one expected much of them (although I fully support the Nathan Fillion and Bruce Campbell efforts).

Among these efforts is one to place James Roday and Dule Hill as joint hosts. And I support it, if only because this might be their golden opportunity to do it and it could mean a deconstruction of SNL‘s hobbled format. But I fear the expectation of what a desperate network might require if this thing is successful. It could mean great things. Or it could be completely disastrous for the franchise.

Read more »

Running Wilde – “Pilot”

As part of the new fall season coverage, we’re doing what we call audition reviews for new shows. An audition review doesn’t necessarily mean the show will enter the normal rotation, but it will provide an initial reaction to a new series. Especially in light of time shifting practices, we think this is a valuable way to read brief reviews on new series to help you decide if you want to watch the show. For those who watch it live, it’s a good way to begin a conversation about a new series. These reviews will typically be shorter than our regular reviews, and may include thoughts from more than one of our writers.

Matt’s Take

Oh boy.

Short and sweet. Well, short and sour. This show is not good. I wanted it to be. I love Keri Russell and I love Will Arnett and I wanted nothing more for the two of them to have a triumphant return to television. But this isn’t it.

There are jokes, you can tell where they are, they’re just not funny. The premise is forgettable, the supporting cast is unimpressive, it’s just a mess all around.

That’s all. I’m gonna go drown my sorrows in Felicity and Arrested Development episodes now.