Author Archive

Source: ABC

Scandal 3×12 ‘We Do Not Touch the First Ladies’: Swipe to unlock

Does Scandal have a handle on why its characters are interesting? We’re now in day 15 of the True Detective backlash, and one of the thing that has emerged is that “but the characters are complex!” is a defense that is surprisingly effective. And that’s good, because it’s used a LOT. Grantland used it to […]

Source: The CW

Reign 1×13 ‘The Consummation’: Consumption

    Reign has, so far, been very good at doing exactly what I don’t think they’re about to do. The heavily condensed plot here isn’t just surprising in its pointed temporal accuracy, it actively bucks expectations by presumably jettisoning its central plot device. I know I shouldn’t despair over Bash leaving, since I was […]

Source: The CW

Reign 1×12 ‘Royal Blood’: Sangreal

So we’re back to courtly intrigue Reign, which is fine, I guess, if we have to. It’s no Mary and Bash making out while covered in horse blood, but you take what you can get. Besides, There’s Catherine vamping around and Lola being hilarious and Mary basically running the country, so at least there’s stuff […]

Source: ABC

Scandal 3×11 ‘Ride, Sally, Ride’: The Thick of It

Look, Scandal is fundamentally nuts. It operates on the fringes of what’s possible. Other shows are interested in showing us what could happen five minutes from now if we stop paying attention, or what direction we’re heading, or whatever. Scandal isn’t concerned with practicality, it’s concerned with setting its universe on the margins of believability. […]

Source: The CW

Reign 1×10 ‘Sacrifice’: And it begins

    Yes. This is Reign firing on all cylinders. Ridiculous rituals and familial politics with the wood/blood/murder-pagans, Mary unconvincingly protecting Catholicism, Catherine being blindsided, and most importantly, Lola, Anna Popplewell herself, awesomely taking the reins and proving herself to be the one actual historically accurate renaissance politician in the whole bunch. John M. works […]

Source: FX

American Horror Story 3×13 ‘The Seven Wonders’: Sic transit gloria nonsense

Coven left an impression, I’ll give it that. The setting was brilliant, the conceits mostly landing towards the passable side of excellent. A lot of the characters popped in ways AHS characters don’t normally do. And come on, easily the best title sequence so far: the standard discordant shrieking, this time accompanied by an impressively […]

Source: The CW

Reign 1×09 ‘For King and Country’: Royal Todestrieb

Well Reign, either you don’t get it, or I don’t get it. Reign has the capacity to be an interesting show, settling somewhere in between Vampire Diaries and a straight 90s teen soap, the supernatural thriller elements bringing the soapier parts into realistic relief and the soap keeping the supernatural from seeming like a turgid […]

Source: ABC

Super Fun Night 1×13 ‘Let the Games Begin’: Yes. Games.

What level does Super Fun Night operate on? Maybe the better question is what level should I take Super Fun Night on. There are indications every once in a while that it doesn’t want to be a pure throwback sitcom, that it actually wants to play around with the tropes of the genre. The character […]

Source: FX

American Horror Story 3×12 ‘Go to Hell’: Intercede pro me

The 20th century created two lasting visions of hell. One was a product of midcentury existentialism, inspired by the overwhelming sense of the senselessness of human actions and the meaningless cruelty of a history and people that was at best materialist and at worst actively evil. The other was steeped in 90s abstraction, a postmodern […]

Source: ABC

Super Fun Night 1×12 ‘Hostile Makeover’: Timing

So I’m starting to get a handle on what Super Fun Night‘s assets are, and it’s a little problematic because it’s two things that pretty much run headlong into each other. On the one hand, I want say that the annoying aspects of the show are the parts that are carbon copies of the live […]

Source: FX

American Horror Story 3×11 ‘Protect the Coven’: Snake in mouth

I’m not going to mince words here: Coven has gone off the rails. Well, it went off the rails, a few episodes ago, right around the time of the salon massacre. It’s gotten away from the writers and it simply isn’t going to recover; right now the best case scenario is the kind of camp […]

Source: FX

American Horror Story 3×10 ‘The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks’: Breesus saves

This was really the episode of ridiculous voices, huh? Something about Stevie Nicks brought out the overzealous patois in Angela Bassett, the breathy southerner in Jessica Lange, the waterbilly hippy in Lily Rabe, the aggressively Californian “betch”-laden cadence of Emma Roberts. I’m hovering somewhere in between this being a too obvious example of the whole […]

Source: ABC

Super Fun Night 1×10-11 ‘Li’l Big Kim’ and ‘Dinner Party’: Worth it?

Maya is off for the holidays, so I’ll be filling in. I’m John, writer of such fabulous things as reviews of Scandal, Reign, and Siberia (ha, remember that show? No, you probably don’t), and my idea going into this was treat it like someone who was new to the show, which was easy, seeing as […]

Source: The CW

Reign 1×08 ‘Fated’: Poisoning the well

I’m glad that Reign is getting more comfortable with its universe. This episode finally felt like it didn’t have any extraneous stuff going on, like the various primary and secondary characters didn’t need some contrivance to get them to show up today. Clarissa, the pagans, and Nostradamus are still basically known quantities with opaque motivations […]

Source: ABC

Scandal 3×10 ‘A Door Marked Exit’: Catch and release

This wasn’t a very good episode of Scandal, at least in the way the show has taught us to watch it. There wasn’t a lot of absolutely absurd or crazy stuff. A lot of pieces were moved around on the chessboard for the back half of the season. There were very few moments that made […]

Source: FX

American Horror Story 3×09 ‘Head’: Do you think we’re stupid or something?

You know, I’ve watched The American Experience‘s Eyes on the Prize a couple times now, but I don’t think I ever once laughed. Maybe once or twice, during a particularly ironic Bull Connor clip or something. But then, PBS didn’t choose to inter-cut footage from the civil rights movement with images of a white dude […]

Source: The CW

Reign 1×07 ‘Left Behind’: Neapolitan

I’m not sure how I feel about all of this Count Vincent stuff. On the one hand, it’s a convenient enough development to force Francis and Mary together, on the other hand, it makes their estrangement last episode feel artificial, especially since Olivia and Bash are now spinning off into their own side plots. And […]

Source: ABC

Scandal 3×09 ‘YOLO’: Int. Shonda Rhimes’ tastefully decorated apt., midnight

“YOLO. Goddamn YOLO.” Shonda Rhimes muttered it to herself again, but it still sounded atrocious. “YOLO. YOOOOOOLOOOOOO. Muthaf-en YOLO. He’s dead, Jim, on account of the YOLO. Mr. President, I can’t…because YOLO.” John M. works for a legal newspaper in Baltimore and lives within three blocks of Tilghman Middle, the alley where Omar and Brother […]

Source: FX

American Horror Story 3×08 ‘The Sacred Taking’: Spiraling into the nothingness

I’m starting to get really exasperated with this show, you guys. I’d be even more exasperated if American Horror Story didn’t always make me feel this way at this point in its run, but I guess since it comes with the territory I’ve gotten used to it. Todd VanDerWerff likes to say that good TV […]

Source: ABC

Scandal 3×08 ‘Vermont Is for Lovers, Too’: Sight and sound

What is it to be constantly observed, even if the observation is seemingly benign? John M. works for a legal newspaper in Baltimore and lives within three blocks of Tilghman Middle, the alley where Omar and Brother Mouzone have their showdown, and Pearson’s Florists. He enjoys putting his liberal arts degree to good use by […]