As short as seven episodes may be for a season of American television, an episode this eventful and consequential arriving at the relative midpoint of a season is reminiscent of the great primetime soap operas of network television pulling out all the stops for sweeps and ending on a massive cliffhanger before a hiatus. However unlikely it is they would kill off such a crucial character as Jaime in such a fashion, the drama of the moment was undeniable, especially following as spectacular a battle sequence as it did. As strong as the first three installments were, there isn’t much doubt in my mind that “The Spoils of War” was the strongest episode of the season to this point by any metric. Continue reading →
Most Doctor Who stories can be divided into one of two categories: ones where The Doctor is basically forced to confront an old adversary and ones where he chooses to confront or investigate something unknown out of curiosity. “Under The Lake” is a fine example of the latter category and one of the better installments thereof in some time in terms of quality.
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There is a question at the heart of not only this episode of Game of Thrones in particular and the series in general, but at the heart of many aspects of human culture and society themselves, which is, what is the value of a human life? When I say “value,” I don’t exactly mean it in an abstract, esoteric, or philosophical way in terms of potential or theoretical value. I mean it here more in the the practical, tangible, or material sense; what is a human life worth? Furthermore, are some lives worth more than others? Part of what is so fascinating and heart-wrenching about A Song of Ice and Fire is that in this narrative universe and in the logic thereof, the functional answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” Continue reading →
This was a fun one. The “pissing contests” between The Doctor and Robin Hood were particularly entertaining. This is the first time we’ve gotten to see this new Doctor play the cranky old man to a younger hero type, something they obviously couldn’t do with Tennant or Smith but something they should now take full advantage of. Continue reading →
Surely we are in the midst of a Golden Age of the episodic crime drama. Between Sherlock, True Detective, Luther, Broadchurch, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Top of the Lake, and a plethora of enormously successful CBS procedurals that I admit I have never seen but people seem to enjoy (NCIS, Elementary, post-Petersen CSI). I have seen Criminal Minds several times (its a favorite of my parents) and have usually enjoyed it, but for a variety of reasons, traditional procedurals favored by the likes of CBS in particular and networks in general don’t really fit into my main argument, which I’ll present herein. Continue reading →