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Fear the Walking Dead 2×13 ‘Day of Death’: No life left

There really isn’t much to say about this show anymore. There’s only one episode after this one, and while I’m glad that I won’t have to say much more about this show, I’ll be surprised if I can put together something substantive to say out of what Fear the Walking Dead has to offer. Because the thing about writing about television is that bad television is more difficult to really analyze without hitting the same notes again and again and again. I could write about how each episode of Transparent’s third season (please watch Transparent instead of this terrible show) illuminates the central theme in some capacity, working through the different characters, but I can’t do that with Fear the Walking Dead. Madison, Ofelia, Alicia, Travis, Chris, Strand, none of them really feel like people that have anything important to say. Read more »

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The Big Bang Theory 10×02 ‘The Military Miniaturization’: Liar, liar

Is it just me or is this season starting off really slow? The Big Bang Theory usually doesn’t go two weeks in a row with being so-so, but alas that’s how I felt after this week’s episode that saw the guys getting military clearance for their project, and Penny landing on the bad side of Bernadette.

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The Last Man on Earth 3×01 ‘General Breast Theme with Cobras’: Road trip!

Let’s face it: the Tucson Crew has never been great in a crisis. Even though they’re managed to survive a planet-wide virus, at the end of the day they’re just a bunch of regular people trying to deal with a destroyed civilization. So to put them in a situation where they need to defend themselves from intruders is just asking for disaster to happen.

This episode picks up where the season finale left off, with armed strangers approaching their house. The group can’t even get away, with Todd’s A-Team van blocking them in the driveway. It plays out as an extremely dark farce, with the group running around, screaming, searching for car keys and weapons. A lot of the problems in this show come from the group dynamics, so adding three outsiders to the mix and seeing the group panic as they face new strangers is a lot of fun.

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Mr. Robot 2×12 ‘eps2.9pyth0n-pt2.p7z’: Stage 2

Mr. Robot had a lot to live up to.  A lot.  This finale had to justify all of the waiting, all of the side tracks, all of the tediousness of some of its more long-winded episodes.  Because this season certainly wasn’t as good as the first one, if only because it got grander without producing enough story to back up the expansion.  I’ve complained about it quite an it, but it is really, really easy for a television show to become enamored with its own stylizing.  That’s usually something that becomes more annoying the worse the writing and the storytelling is, such as in Sons of Anarchy, where the show was so self-congratulatory but didn’t have the quality to back that up. Read more »

Photo from the episode "The Silos"

Chicago PD 4×01 ‘The Silos’ where you buried that guy you killed

If there was any doubt in our minds whether Voight killed that guy or not they are completely gone now. Considering Erin dug up and moved the body to protect Hank from Commander Crowley’s prying eyes, it’s confirmed that Hank Voight is a murderer. But is that really anything new? We have always known that Voight was a dirty cop. He has used methods that are less than legal and has definitely tiptoed the line of excessive force. However, we have not yet ever seen him actually take someone’s life. Clearly Erin hasn’t either. She is struggling with whether or not to tell Crowley what she knows about Voight, Justin’s murderer and those silos.

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The Goldbergs 4×01 ‘’Breakfast Club’: Lady and the worm

For many The Breakfast Club is a personal favorite that speaks volumes about who they are as a person. For me, I really don’t care all that much for it. While I am forever in awe of what John Hughes for the teen movie genre, this isn’t one I’d consider watching over and over again. However, it is one of the most significant parts of the 80’s experience. That’s why it was no surprise when The Goldbergs decided to kick off their fourth season with an episode that spoke to both youths and those who aren’t so youthful.

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Scream Queens 2×01 ‘Scream Again’: Welcome back Chanels

How do you review a show like Scream Queens?

When reviewing a show, I like to go over the plot, the characterization, the direction the show could go in the future. But Scream Queens isn’t like any of the shows on TV this fall – plot and characterization are secondary to the utter madness happening on screen. To suggest that this hurts the show, however, is wrong. Chaos and unreality have become Scream Queens’ calling cards.

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The Big Bang Theory 2×10 ‘The Conjugal Conjecture’: They do…again…

We’ve already watched Leonard and Penny get married on The Big Bang Theory, but because friends and family weren’t in on it they decided to have another wedding. This meant meeting people we’d never met up until this point. When we left off we met Leonard’s dad for the first time, and Sheldon’s mom was very taken. Although they swear they didn’t hook up…I think we all know it’s coming. In tonight’s premiere though for their 10th season (damn) we finally found out who Penny and her drug dealing brother are. The cameos were perfection but as a whole, I felt they played it a little safe.

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Source: AMC

Fear the Walking Dead 2×12 ‘Pillar of Salt’: Enemy on the horizon

At this point, there’s clearly only one reason to keep watching Fear the Walking Dead.  The show could certainly manufacture other reasons to continue watching the show, but as of right now, pretty much everything falls flat.  Madison and the hotel drama isn’t particularly riveting.  Travis and Chris have a potentially interesting story, but Chris’s character development isn’t quite there, and we don’t really have a nuanced understanding of Chris’s anger.  Most of the stories on this show just aren’t that interesting or complex. Read more »

Source: AMC

Mr. Robot 2×11 ‘eps2.9pyth0n-pt1.p7z’: The impending apocalypse

If there’s one thing that has made this season more frustrating than the last, it’s the way that it seems to meander, how the characters are being taken through what really is some fascinating progression, but that it all is taking twice as long as it should to happen. What happened with Elliot in the prison could have been condensed to three episodes. What happened with Darlene and fsociety could have done the same. While Season 2 of Mr. Robot has been a visually stunning and intense ride, sometimes it feels like it’s an exercise in style over substance, emphasizing stylistic flourishes for the fun of it. Read more »

Source: AMC

Fear the Walking Dead 2×11 ‘Pablo and Jessica’: Golden boy

I’ll give Fear the Walking Dead some credit where it’s due. It’s at least exploiting the current storyline to capacity, the way it cuts back and forth between Madison’s perspective, Alicia’s perspective, Nick’s perspective, and Travis’s perspective. The different perspectives give it the ability to remain relatively fresh while it looks for new storylines to exploit, whereas the first half of the season didn’t have enough story and didn’t have the multiple perspectives to at least diversify what was there. This kind of approach worked brilliantly for The Leftovers in its second season, as there wasn’t a ton of story to go around, but the ten episodes of the season soared because of the different perspectives coming from the rich, multifaceted characters. Read more »

Source: AMC

Halt and Catch Fire 3×05 ‘Yerba Buena’: Down into the abyss

This season has been dealing intently with the notion of fear, how taking chances causes excitement as well as terror, how progress is inevitable but instills fear that those who have made waves are vulnerable to being outdated. But it’s dealing with more than just fear. It’s dealing with what people are afraid of as well as what people are afraid of losing. Because when you lose somebody or something, that fear keeps on getting stronger. And we never really know how best to get rid of it, really because there isn’t one way to do it. We wander aimlessly, hoping for relief, holding onto what we have for fear of losing more. Read more »

Source: USA

Mr. Robot 2×10 ‘eps2.8h1dden-pr0cess.axx’: In over their heads

Mr. Robot really is at its best when it decides to become a thriller.  Part of me enjoys when the show digs into the existential crises associated with living in the world today, but Mr. Robot has never really nailed that.  Sometimes, it absolutely excels at it, such as when we see Darlene struggle to understand who is she in the wake of the 5/9 hack.  Other times, such as when we hear Price talk about his ambitions, not so much.  But the sheer adrenaline associated with the Dark Army trying to gun down Darlene and Cisco, watching the forces that be zero in on fsociety, is absolutely riveting. Read more »

Source: AMC

Halt and Catch Fire 3×04 ‘Rules for Honorable Play’: Social irrelevance

If there’s one thing that this season is communicating better than anything else on television, it’s that people are terrified of becoming irrelevant, useless, and impotent.  Society deems people useful based on certain criteria; capitalist countries do so based primarily on money, but we also do so based on appearance, on specific kinds of talent, and on an ability to entertain and charm others.  We always want to improve ourselves, but sometimes those social criteria is different than what is actually good for us.  Our need to be physically attractive can damage our actual health, just as our need for money can damage the other facets of our lives we neglect as a result. Read more »

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Fear the Walking Dead 2×10 ‘Do Not Disturb’: Becoming the villain

The issue with poor character development isn’t necessarily that it makes for a poor episode of television.  It’s that it puts a television series at a deficit, where it has to make up for lost time and reverse decisions surrounding characters that are inconsistent or messy.  The second season of The Walking Dead was one that had to make up for a lot of lost time, where characters like Beth and Andrea were essentially more convoluted as a result of their time on screen.  Fear the Walking Dead’s second season is no better, wasting time with scenes that don’t really communicate plot or character development. Read more »

Source: USA

Mr Robot 2×09 ‘eps2.7init5.fve’: Conflicting personalities

I don’t usually assess an episode of television by my emotional response to it, but that response is an important part of how we look at art.  When I watch The Leftovers, I connect with it on a very personal level, as it reminds me of the loss that I’ve experienced and how difficult it is to live with mental illness.  Mr. Robot, however, doesn’t elicit such a response.  It’s exciting, sure, and it’s reflective of the paranoia and anger of our time, but on a deeper level, does it really tap into how we feel on a personal level?

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Source: USA

Mr Robot 2×08 ‘eps2.6succ3ss0r.p12’: Circling the drain

There are a couple storylines that work well for Mr. Robot at this point.  The best one of these is the slow deterioration of fsociety after the FBI and the Dark Army continue to target them.  It’s the most realistic story the show can tell, as the 5/9 hack wasn’t going to save the world, instead devolving it into chaos.  It’s the slow death of fsociety that adds a sense of urgency to the show.  Everybody is trying to outrun some invisible force that is tearing them apart, reminding them that they’ve done a stupid thing.  And everybody is dying or disappearing, one by one.

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Source: AMC

Halt and Catch Fire 3×03 ‘Flipping the Switch’: The fear of irrelevance

There’s a certain unique feel that runs through great television shows, almost like a pulse that makes it feel alive.  The Leftovers has this pulse, an empathy and connective nature that imbues words and action with an additional meaning.  Breaking Bad has this pulse, an urgency informed by an existential need for control over one’s existence.  And Halt and Catch Fire has the pulse as well, a need to be relevant and necessary in a world so competitive that people are routinely left behind.

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Pretty Little Liars 7×10 ‘Darkest Knight’ Tim Burton’s Garage Sale

Maybe it’s because I watch too many thrillers, but has anyone else noticed that the person who gets shot is always wearing white? I know it’s a strategic choice by the wardrobe department to better showcase the seeming pool of blood, but it makes me anxious every time I see a character I like in a tense situation wearing a white t-shirt. This time is no different. But they are not the only casualty tonight, someone gets into a bloody car wreck, someone looses their head (literally) and we finally find out the identity of Mary Drake’s second secret child.

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Fear the Walking Dead 2×09 ‘Los Muertos’: From death

The issue with spinoffs is that they rely on the original story to give it life.  More often than not, people see them as a moneymaking tactic, and in the case of The Walking Dead, they’re probably not wrong.  It’s not like AMC has many series with high ratings; Halt and Catch Fire is fantastic but has abysmally low ratings, and the same goes for Better Call Saul.  The Walking Dead, for all of its very, very noticeable flaws, still rakes in a TON of viewers, and Fear the Walking Dead has the capacity to do the same, even though its viewership is tanking. Read more »