Every now and then, I like to indulge myself with fantasies of storylines that could be, if only I could trust television to do them right. Those dreams loom especially large in the wake of finale season, when I think ahead to what we’ll be seeing on network television in the fall, and wonder if this is perhaps the year when television breaks out of itself to do something amazing. Which shows could have the potential to take a storyline in a new and fascinating direction, rather than letting it slide into Tropeville? And what could they do with said storyline?
Christopher Guest is finally (and delightfully) back behind the camera with Family Tree, a new half-hour single-camera comedy on HBO co-created with Jim Piddock. The production is a bit of a departure for Guest, who’s made his name in film (A Mighty Wind, This is Spinal Tap, Best In Show) rather than in television, but if the first episode, ‘The Box,’ was any indicator, this will indeed be Guest at his best, showcasing his ability to move seamlessly across a variety of media and to work well with a variety of actors, even those who aren’t part of his usual ensemble. Continue reading
Christina Yang. Fierce, independent, strong, and long one of my favourite characters on Shonda Rhimes’ ongoing hit Grey’s Anatomy. Played by the fantastic Sandra Oh, Yang is the epitome of the gifted, talented surgeon who’s set her heart on a goal and is working towards achieving it. She works in cardiothoracics, traditionally one of the most demanding surgical specialties, and one heavily dominated by men; a study in 2009 noted that 97% of surgeons working in this field were men. This was actually a worse statistic than in 1996, when 5% of cardiothoracic surgeons were women.
Today marks International Workers’ Day, and many marches, actions, and activities around the world as most of the globe’s workers and families celebrate labour and fair rights for workers. (The glaring exception being, of course, the US, which observes a separate Labour Day in September rather than joining in with May Day celebrations.) Tremendous strides have been made in the field of labour rights in the last century, but in other ways, it seems like workers are stuck on a treadmill, unable to progress much further from where they were in 1913, or 1863, for that matter.
Like Veronica Mars fans the world over, I waited with bated breath when creator Rob Thomas launched a Kickstarter campaign challenging fans to pay for the movie he’d been promising since the show went off the air in 2007. His fund raising goals seemed ambitious, but we couldn’t help but nurse high hopes—especially since the numbers on the Kickstarter started turning over faster than our eyes could follow once it went live.
In the wake of the horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon, media commentary splintered in a thousand different directions in the United States, many of them terrifying and troubling. For example, in a highly racialised culture, speculation about the race and religious affiliation of the suspects began before they’d even been identified. This led eventually to the false identification of an utterly innocent man as people hastened to attribute the crimes to a non-Christian man of colour.
Sundance is furthering its exploration into scripted dramas with Rectify, premiering 22 April. The drama revolves around Daniel Holden (Aden Young), a prisoner released from death row after spending almost 20 years in solitary confinement. He’s exonerated after irregularities in his case force the judge to vacate his sentence, suddenly dropping him into the chaotic reality of the outside world.
The sixth season of Mad Men aired on Sunday to rather a mixed response from critics; Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress probably put it most succinctly when she noted that: ‘The risk for Mad Men is that nothing can be new for Don anymore, while still needing to find ways to make him new for us.’ The lustre of the media and critical darling, which had racked up a stack of awards and accolades, appears to be fading, and some people are disappointed now that the bloom has come off the rose.
On Tuesday morning, Twitter user auntie crissle (@crissles) posed the following question to her followers: ‘Do you think people currently on govt assistance (welfare, food stamps, section 8, TANF, etc) should be allowed to have additional children?…Meaning if you are receiving services and choose to have another baby, the gov’t will reduce or eliminate the aid you receive.’ She was rewarded with a flood of comments in response to her provocative statement, and tried to cover her tracks with another Tweet: ‘I don’t know why people are arguing with me like I expressed an opinion one way or the other about it.’
Doctor Who came back from a brief hiatus this weekend with a rather unremarkable episode revolving around a plot to steal human minds over wifi networks in order to feed a mysterious client. Its main purpose seemed to be to introduce Clara Oswald as a companion rather than occasional character, though she still hasn’t committed to traveling space and time in his ‘snog box,’ as she so quaintly put it.