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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Jake Smasal


Jake
COLUMNS

With TV in Limbo, it’s time to present some mid-year awards

The school year is almost over, and spring TV is just heating up. In the limited amount of time we have left together, I figured I would write a totally arbitrary awards column, partly because there’s not really any new TV happening this week. What follows is a number of awards I’ve given to shows throughout the year: Awards named after my favorite examples from other shows. Look, the point of this exercise is not to reinvent the wheel—or the awards column—just to bestow awards to those I deem deserving. 

Jake
COLUMNS

Fire and dragons permeate ‘Game of Thrones’ fifth season opener

We’re back, baby. Last Sunday night, the great television experiment known to us mere mortals as “Game of Thrones” continued its meteoric ascent into our hearts and minds. Viewers have all been waiting for it, and when the first four episodes leaked online yesterday, thousands of our weaker brethren downloaded it. It’s easily the biggest thing to happen on television this year. As such, it is only fitting that I use the space provided to sing its praises (as well as make some make some minor complaints). Warning—spoilers from Sunday’s episode, and some mild book-reader nit-picking follows. 

Jake
News

Predictions fly as Game of Thrones’ begins fifth season

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the moment we’ve—or at least I’ve—been waiting for all semester has finally almost arrived. The world is three days from the premiere of the fifth season of “Game of Thrones.” Because I am very excited, I thought it might be useful to go through what we may expect from this season and what I, an accursed book reader, want from what has the potential the best season yet. 

COLUMNS

‘Community’ comes back with Yahoo but slightly underwhelms

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. 

Smasaltof
COLUMNS

'The Last Man on Earth' represents the best in new television

Will Forte’s new sitcom, “The Last Man on Earth,” focuses on the new, post-apocalyptic life of Phil Miller, the last living man on Earth, as he attempts to survive and thrive in his new surroundings. It’s also one of the best new shows on television this spring. Will Forte is a comedic mastermind, and unhinging him to do all of the things we would do if we were trapped in the world alone is solid gold. However, it’s not just Forte that makes the show great; everything from setting to script conspires and aspires to make “The Last Man on Earth” worthy of praise.

COLUMNS

New season of 'House of Cards' is a dud

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.

Jake Smasal
COLUMNS

Bye NBC Thursdays

Last week, “Parks and Recreation” capped off a glorious seven-season run with about as much pure joy and happiness as you can fit into an hour of network television. Storylines wrapped, Pawnee changed (once again) for the better and Mark Brendanawicz was once again nowhere to be found. In an era where TV comedies increasingly focus on the consequences of our screwups, “Parks and Recreation” coupled this with a love of the consequences of our good decisions, too.  And in a world where many comedies center around the little engine that couldn’t, Leslie Knope and company were the little engine that did three times and had waffles after. From its inception as a sort of spin-off of “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” immediately became one of the best sitcoms on TV (I even liked season one).  It will be sorely missed. 

Daily Cardinal
COLUMNS

Welcome back ‘The Walking Dead’

“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. 

Daily Cardinal
COLUMNS

‘Better Call Saul’ cannot be compared to the failures of ‘Joey’

“Breaking Bad” is widely considered to be one of the greatest television programs of the last decade, if not of all time. I agree with this assessment; it’s entertaining, well written, addictive and engaging. So, when I rushed home from work on Sunday night to watch the premiere of “Better Call Saul,” I was expecting something very similar to “Breaking Bad.” Generally, that wouldn’t be too far-fetched; if you’re making a spinoff, you only change it enough to let watchers know the material is just new enough to be interesting. Sometimes this works… and sometimes you get “Joey.” I spent months hoping “Better Call Saul” would not be the next “Joey,” and that the writers would see the potential of Saul alone and not ruin him forever.

Daily Cardinal
COLUMNS

‘Wet Hot American Summer’ trailer provides hope for TV

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. 

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