Feb 262015
 

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The chief criticism levied against Outlander, both in print and on the screen, is that there is a substantial amount of groundwork and backstory, both prior to the inciting incident and during the rising action. This makes for a slower pace than your typical action-adventure piece. Forget the sex and violence (yeah, right… good luck with that); patience and perseverance may be the greatest barrier to entry into Outlandish fandom.

Kudos to the production team, not only for crystallizing all of the pertinent detail, but for reformulating and resequencing the source material into an episodic format that still entertains. This is no criticism of the novels’ structure whatsoever. Written work is not encumbered by the constraints of the sixty-minute story arc. Making the transition from page to screen requires two things: encapsulating exposition into narrative conflicts, and optimizing visual cues. Both of these are accomplished magnificently in 1.02 Castle Leoch. Continue reading »

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Feb 252015
 

Better Call Saul: Saul uses the foot spa

Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman: Not the loquacious sort, are you?
Mike Ehrmantraut: We can’t all be as blessed as you.

So, Saul Goodman is a joke. A stupid joke. “S’all good, man.” Hardee har. Better Call Saul episode 1.04, Hero, gets us back into the flashback era of Saul’s youthful life of crime, sometime in the 1990s. At this point, we have something like a timeline of Saul’s life: He’s “Slippin’ Jimmy,” a con man from the outskirts of Chicago (Cicero). At some point he gets in big trouble and either does or does not go to jail, but this inspires him to turn over a new leaf, under the guidance of his much-older brother, Chuck. In this period he gets a law degree, and goes to work for his brother’s firm. Then somethingsomethingsomething, and now Chuck is loony and Jimmy is on his own living/working in a nail salon. Continue reading »

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Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 8: Love Conquers Quite a Lot

Downton Abbey Season 5 Episode 8: Love Conquers Quite a Lot

Feb 23, 2015

Love may not conquer all, but it can conquer quite a lot. Downton Abbey, Season 5, Episode 8, the official season finale—although the “Christmas Special” will serve as the season finale in the U.S.—did the usual combination of wit, and stupid, and fun, and dull. It’s the must-watch TV that we wonder why we watch. […]

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The Walking Dead Double Recap: Community

The Walking Dead Double Recap: Community

Feb 23, 2015

I don’t think any two episodes of The Walking Dead have been as different as these. Them was a tone poem on the weight of grief; The Distance is another move-the-plot step out onto the old tightrope of risk and trust. I found both episodes satisfying, for completely different reasons.

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Mad Men Season 7.2 Photo Gallery

Mad Men Season 7.2 Photo Gallery

Feb 18, 2015

AMC has released a large photo gallery of Mad Men Season 7 (Part 2). Now, I ask that none of you go nuts. These photos are gorgeous, but I invite you to remember that when the promotional gallery for Season 6 was released, you all went bonkers trying to figure out what the party was. […]

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Outlander: Prologue and Foreplay - Recap of Sassenach, Episode 1.01

Outlander: Prologue and Foreplay – Recap of Sassenach, Episode 1.01

Feb 18, 2015

We’re just about eight weeks out from the return of new Outlander episodes, so there’s no time like the present to revisit the past. I do not hold myself up as the paragon Outlander expert. I’m just a fan who’s intrigued by storytelling, who sees this series of books and shows as delicious study material, and who […]

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The Wire Bingewatching: a 6-part series

The Wire Bingewatching: a 6-part series

Feb 16, 2015

Woe to them that call evil good and good evil. –Proposition Joe My very best friend Albert watched The Wire from the beginning–either when it originally aired, or as soon as each season became available on DVD–and has been telling me about it ever since. He’s watched many other series since that time, and has […]

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Transparent Bingewatching: Wow.

Transparent Bingewatching: Wow.

Jan 26, 2015

Somewhere in my holiday shopping I wound up with two free months of Amazon Prime. And then one of my best friends started watching, and then the Golden Globes, and then they had the 1-day everyone-can-watch-Transparent-for-free day on Saturday, and I could no longer resist. It’s so rare for me to bingewatch anything, especially a […]

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