Stumptown Finale: or, I Heard You Paint-By-Numbers

When Stumptown premiered, I wrote about how its pilot uses what amounts to paint-by-numbers writing to great effect. I want to bookend the season by talking about how the finale still paints-by-numbers while incorporating much of the show’s growth, true surprises, long- and short- running arcs, and character development. Stumptown Season 1 turned into a … Continue reading

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

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

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

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

Everything Sucks! is kinda adorable, actually.

It may sound like damning with faint praise, but the best adjective for this show is adorable. The young cast is adorable (and talented), the plots about innocent young love are adorable (and properly teenage-awkward), the set dressing is adorable (though its period budget is obviously less than, say, Halt and Catch Fire), you get … Continue reading

Here We Wait: Series 1, Episodes 1 and 2

For a long time, webseries have been a breeding ground for short-form and skit comedy with a healthy side of ‘talking to the camera’ style celebrity figures. That’s been shifting somewhat, as dramas have broken out, though they’re still more rare. Here We Wait, is its own beast, somewhat hard to classify. It cribs things … Continue reading