I would like to address a serious peculiarity of mine that has entangled itself into my core for many years.
“Scream Queens” is a television series that is like bubblegum for the viewer: fun to pop in your mouth and chew for a little while, but eventually it loses its flavor and you need to spit it out. It’s a gum that has a taste that is not for everyone, but if you have a longing for some retro Bazooka and like the funny comics on the wrapper, your cravings will be quenched.
“American Horror Story” is finally back with its fifth season and it did not disappoint. The anthology series has made some serious changes: Jessica Lange bowed out, Lady Gaga is the new lead and the new sinister location is a once-glamorous-now-dodgy hotel in Los Angeles. However, even with these fresh new changes, the show seems to have returned back to its roots; victims get tortured and killed in their residence by an ensemble of other-worldly oddities that have a routine to their madness and run through the drill like it’s just another day. Sound familiar? Season one featured the same type of formula: New residents of a haunted house falling prey to the ghosts that haunt it. Season five takes place in the same city, has a similar plot and even guest stars the realtor that sold the horror house in season one. This is not necessarily a bad thing; I personally thought the first season was one of the best in the series and established the distinctive world of “AHS.” With “AHS: Hotel,” there is enough change to keep viewers intrigued and hopefully enough diverse material to stand as its own unique story. So far, it is looking good. Already in the first episode there is a deadly foursome, a ghoulish spawn of bloodsucking children, a serial killer with a bowler hat and a “Pan’s Labyrinth”-type monster with a lethal strap-on dildo.
An affair is a universal concept; a taboo that has been frowned upon in a society that stresses monogamy. Known to wreak havoc and stain reputations, it’s the big no-no to anyone in a committed relationship. A quick fling could quickly and mercilessly ruin everything you once took for granted. It stems from passion and almost always ends in tragedy, yet it is constantly happening all around us. Why jeopardize all that you have? Why betray the ones you love? Why betray yourself? These questions are explored to the fullest in Showtime’s “The Affair.”
Seemingly every year that it’s been on the air, “Community” has been moved, cancelled or resurrected. In fact, it’s happened so often that we “Community” fans have even created a hashtag (#sixseasonsandamoive) to express our exasperation with the show’s fluctuating status, the latest example its resurrection at the hands of Yahoo Screen, which prompted thousands to young Americans to ask whether or not Yahoo was still a thing.
Like most everything else, television is all about relationships. From “The Sopranos” to “Community,” all great shows use personal relationships as a fulcrum to lift up the rest of the plot around them. However, when shows (especially dramas) forgot about the world outside of a marriage or a friendship, when things turn inward just a little bit too much, your show starts to suck.
“The Walking Dead” is back, baby! Finally, after months of waiting, one of my favorite television shows is back in its familiar Sunday night slot(s). The first half of the fifth season represented one of the biggest television 180s that I’ve ever seen; last year, the show had the pacing and stumbling of Rick Grimes walking down railroad tracks, and now it's as exciting and suspenseful as it’s ever been. Naturally, between this most welcome surprise and the tension that was the midseason finale, I’ve been ready to get back on the road with our heroes for a while now.
Last week, I may have mentioned that this time of year is where TV goes to die. however, what I dod not take into account is that it’s trailer season! Not one but two super-amazing, awesome trailers debuted over the past week: one for season five of “Game of Thrones” and the other for “Wet Hot American Summer.” We knew that a “Game of Thrones” trailer would be forthcoming, and rather than shoot my “GOT” wad this early in the semester, I’ll just say that it was awesome. Like, really awesome. But the real exciting (and kind of unexpected) news of the day belongs to the “Wet Hot American Summer” teaser.
Given the staggering level of popularity achieved by online streaming sites in recent years and the incredible amount of wide spread praise for these sites’ original content, I think it’s safe to say the era of streaming is upon us. At this point it would feel trite to expound the acclaim afforded to original shows like “Orange Is the New Black” or “Transparent” as evidence of the dominance of streaming, so here I would like to consider streaming in the context of the larger television landscape. The meteoric rise of streaming has ramifications for a medium it doesn’t even technically inhabit-— and the ripples across the greater television ocean set off by the success of streaming will undoubtedly be felt for years to come. Through its time-shifted model and original programming unencumbered by the barriers faced by network television, streaming sites are in the process of redefining television norms and conventions while putting pressure on traditional networks to do the same. In short, streaming is reshaping television for the better.
On Monday, it was revealed that David Lynch’s acclaimed psycho-drama “Twin Peaks” would come back after more than 20 years for a third season on Showtime. Lynch’s sprawling vision of a northern town and its seedy (and mostly psychotic) underbelly failed to live up to lofty ratings expectations in its second season and has since become a cult classic, gathering legions of new fans as the years have gone by.
Nestled among the frozen plains of the snowy American landscape is a locale as foreign to some as it is familiar to my corn-growing, cheese-loving roots. The inhabitants of this region bundle themselves in fur hats and down parkas and express themselves with an abundance of “Oh ya”s and “You betcha”s. Their daily struggles range from whether or not to make meatloaf for dinner to how to best cover up a botched attempt at kidnapping your own wife for ransom. This is the Midwest, or at least the Midwest envisioned by a pair of goofball filmmakers known informally to us as the Coen brothers. Yah der hey.
Are you tired of that pesky TV in your living room, taking up space, constantly showing you the same ol’ reruns of “Family Feud” and Patrick Swayze movies? Think it’s about time to ditch it in order to make room for more activities? Well, friends, you’re not alone!
Now that I’m back in the grind of the semester, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands. I mean, there’s going to class, my internship, readings and now my newest commitment, which is the most time consuming: Having the couch fused to my leg hairs as I mentally ride the waves of the Bering Sea on the deck of the Northwestern during king crab season.