Stumptown pilot and the Economy of Storytelling

I’ve written before about the myriad of things which would go into Perfect TV Pilot Bingo, including shows like Glitch and The Night Of which set up mysteries, shows such as Doctor Who which have mini-pilots every few seasons, even TV shows which shoot a mid-season episode first to sell the show but still need to make … Continue reading

On Long Goodbyes and Loyalty

My upbringing was starkly black and white, everything strictly categorised as sin and acceptable, allowed and not. The massive ‘sin: not allowed’ category swallowed everything in legalism and immutable consequences. I fell in love with noir partly because it has no such hangups. I savoured noir’s evocative language and sexual undercurrent. I learned to believe … Continue reading

How Editing Mimics Memory in Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell”

The Farewell is absolutely one of my favourite films of the year, and one of the few which made me cry (twice, if we’re counting) yet want to rewatch immediately. Awkwafina is a star. I look forward to her career of interesting choices and varied projects. I hope she ends up getting offered all the … Continue reading

Shooting, Editing, and Crossing the Line on HBO’s “Succession”

Succession has all the hallmarks of HBO Prestige Television: big names, stunning production design, Shakespeare out the wazoo. It crosses the line as much in its shooting as its characters cross it morally, and just as often for kicks; see Episode 1.04 “Sad Sack Wasp Trap” (video for educational purposes): I did a more detailed … Continue reading

Better Call Saul: Art of the Montage

Like Breaking Bad before it (but better in almost every way – fight me), Better Call Saul loves an out-of-context cold open, a seemingly inconsequential detail or character beat which will come around in a few episodes or seasons, and a long montage. In fact, like this groundbreaker before it, Better Call Saul brings us … Continue reading

Colour in DRIVE and IL CONFORMISTA

Drive and Il Conformista ‘s use of colours make for great comparison and contrast symbolically, emotionally, and technically. First: Refn is colourblind, which impacts his work in a preference for heavy colour saturation. Second: because of its time, Il Conformista required everything from on-set lighting to colour timing to be planned far more thoroughly in … Continue reading

Legends of Television

Legends of Tomorrow is one of the most absurd, progressive, genre-bending shows going. In addition to pop-culture referential, anti-Nazi, time traveling fun, it gives us the emotional tools of the dozen therapy appointments we can’t afford or actively avoid. (As does Elementary with different tools . . . but that’s another blog post.)  We might want … Continue reading

Elementary – Using Direction to Elevate the Procedural

I wrote recently about The X-Files being restored, and why some procedural (or ‘procedural adjacent’) shows are more equal than others. While Elementary isn’t in the pantheon of Prestige Shows such as copycat-spawning LOST, groundbreaking The Sopranos, or even genre-and-plot-soaked cult fun of Dollhouse, I argue it sets itself apart from most current TV procedurals … Continue reading

The X-Files: Preserving One of TV’s Biggest Procedurals

Recently The X-Files has been remastered in HD and with the potential of 4k, which involved ingesting and preserving hundreds of hours of footage, changing aspect ratios, and more. A fascinating peek into the technical aspects is here, but I want to focus on why The X-Files of all the network procedurals. Sure, genre classification … Continue reading

Sport and Filmmaking

Before film and TV; before I could travel or construct and eat ridiculous cheese plates; before I could read to myself: sport was my first love. When I was 8, I had posters of Rickey Henderson and Joe Montana on my walls. Soon followed Mia Hamm, Kyra Gracie, Brianna Scurry. As a teen I narrowed … Continue reading