Tag: TV

2014, 2015, 2016, TV

Penny Dreadful (2014)

This is a slightly campy (but somehow very serious) British horror fantasy show with the rather old, but somehow not tired conceit of a bunch of characters from famous 19th century history novels exist in the same universe. (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen of horror, basically.) It’s a show that sometimes works well for what it …

1964, 1970, 1977, 1984, 1991, 1998, 2005, 2012, 2019, Movies, TV

The Up Documentaries (1964, 1970, 1977, 1984, 1991, 1998, 2005, 2012, 2019)

When I first was trying to figure out how I would sum this up, I said “probably the most ambitious documentary project ever.” I should have said “in English” as this idea was actually not invented by this series. Rather, the Germans beat the British to it by a few years. Due to typical Anglo …

2006, Books, Fiction, Non-Fiction, TV

Deadwood: Stories of the Black Hills (2006) by David Milch, David Samuels

For me, Deadwood is probably the second greatest English-language dramatic, fictional television show in the history of the medium. But it is also horribly under-watched (if not completely under-known). I have watched the show through at least 3 times and I still believe it’s kind of a marvel of combining big ideas with a compelling …

2021, TV

Muhammad Ali (2021)

Burns and Co’s second documentary series focused entirely on one person is even longer than and more in-depth than Hemingway. But, fortunately, Ali’s life is, in many ways, a grander subject. At least for the first half, the series is in many ways an alternate history of the post war United States. And even when …

2021, TV

Hemingway (2021)

This 3-part series is, to my knowledge, the first time a single person has gotten the “Ken Burns Treatment.” Given how much stuff Ken Burns’ has created, I certainly could be wrong. But it’s the first of the prestige PBS Ken Burns’ series I am aware of that focuses on one person. (The Roosevelts is …

2021, TV

Only Murders in the Building (2021)

This is an inventive and consistently funny mystery comedy that pokes fun at our obsession with true crime podcasts. As Jenn said, it fees kind of miraculous, a show like this with a central relationship that is basically grandchild-grandparents, rather than a friendship, a romantic relationship or even a parent-child dynamic. It feels like a …

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, TV

Parks and Recreation (2009)

This is a good-hearted but often hysterical situation comedy that it took me entirely too long to watch. I’m not sure exactly why but I guess I was at least slightly aware that it was a little bit wholesome and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t into wholesome in, like, 2011. Anyway…

2021, Music, TV

The Bob’s Burgers Music Album Vol. 2 (2021)

The second volume of music from Bob’s Burgers is another massive collection of original songs interspersed with some deliberately bad covers. Like the first volume it is full of catchy stuff performed extremely campily. It’s more evidence that this show has about the best use of music of any similar “sitcom” since The Simpsons. There …

2021, Movies, TV

Untold: Malice at the Palace (2021, Floyd Russ)

This is a roughly hour-long episode from a new Netflix documentary series about the infamous “Malice at the Palace.” I was just getting into basketball then – I think Pistons/Lakers may have been the first NBA finals I really watched – but I did not watch this game live as far as I know. But …

1979, TV

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)

If you thought the 2011 remake was deliberate well, this is a deliberate six episode miniseries adaptation of the John le Carre novel. It takes its time. And if that’s a problem for you, I highly recommend avoiding this version. But, if you are interested in TV adaptations of novels and you like slow-burning plots, …

2007, TV

Long Way Down (2007)

The sequel to Long Way Round is another excellent adventure travel documentary series featuring the same lovable cast of characters (i.e. a movie star, his far less famous friend, a Swiss camera man and some producers). This time they head from the top of Scotland to South Africa. There are similarities to the two series, …

2013, TV

League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis (2013)

This is a thorough, but very Frontline, overview of CTE back in 2013, right when the NFL lawsuit happened. It’s very clear it was mostly assembled beforehand, and then a few additional aspects of the story broke and they were incorporated into it before it aired.

2021, TV

Murder Among the Mormons (2021)

We watch Forensic Files. A lot of Forensic Files. (We’ve seen most of the original series, I would guess. At least a majority.) And they all sort of blend in together after a while. It often takes us a few minutes to realize we’ve seen an episode. Well, it took me well into the second episode of …

2014, 2015, 2017, TV

The Leftovers (2014)

This is a well-made show with at least one fatal flaw. (And possibly two. I didn’t get that far.) Recommended as ideal for watching during the pandemic we found quite the opposite: that the pandemic actually made the whole thing seem far less believable than it might have seemed when it first aired.

2019, TV

Country Music (2019)

This is an engrossing, thorough, occasionally moving and, for its first six episodes, authoritative history of country music. It follows the usual rhythms of a Ken Burns’ documentary, which is something I thoroughly enjoy, and has the usual strengths and weaknesses of his approach to storytelling.

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, TV

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

When I was younger and had recently fallen in love with serialized TV dramas, I had this idea that I was going to write a book about the antecedents of the Golden Age of Television. (At first this was going to be about the Golden Age of Television, but that book already exists.) This book …

2004, 2013, 2018, TV

The Staircase (2004, 2013, 2018)

Full disclosure: I am very biased when it comes to these types of stories. For the number of years I’ve been listening to wrongful conviction podcast called Undisclosed. I have listened to a number of other podcasts with similar themes. So I am more predisposed than ever to side with the defense over the prosecution, …