Blocking, Orientation, and Editing in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS and WATCHMEN

Technology has enabled several trends in this Golden Age of Television: more helicopter shots! (IE cheaper because drones), longer tracking shots! special effects and stunts once strictly seen in movies! etc. Different genres lean into certain trends harder than others. A big thing in action/adventure/superhero movies is to keep the camera in perpetual motion; establishing … Continue reading

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

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

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