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

Game of Comparison

It’s been over 24 hours, so we have at least 24,000 thinkpieces about Game of Thrones finale / final season’s compressed narrative, character inconsistencies, political absurdities and lack thereof, etc. Your mileage may vary, but I say season eight had 2.5 Great/Good Episodes out of six. Much of the Great exists despite the compressed timeline, … Continue reading

Doctor Who “Resolution” Shot Study – Crossing the Line

A month ago I was on a feature film shoot, ready to go into a take. The 1AD had called turnover, everything was slated, and the DOP jumped up, startling everyone, waving his arms. “Wait! Is this a line cross!?” They don’t always wait until quite so last-second, but a line cross is a DOP … Continue reading

Legends of Tomorrow – Witch Hunt

“I hope you’re feeling morally superior!” I’m not doing episodic reviews of Legends, but how this show went from the Hawk-driven disasterpiece that was Season 1 to being the best show in the Arrowverse fascinates me.  The opening Ray exposition [RaySposition, TM] scene appears to be a result of writers competing for “most ridiculous contraption … Continue reading