DOLLHOUSE and the Unconventional Pilot

Joss Whedon’s / Eliza Dushku’s Dollhouse had a lot going for and against it. Whedon had some blank checks to cash, Dushku had a deal with FOX, the premise was fascinating, and one actor playing multiple roles week to week is always a juicy prospect. Whether because of marketing, timing, direct competition in an era … Continue reading

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

The Dude With A Thousand Faces: A Screenplay Template

I recently broke down the Stumptown pilot to examine hyperfunctional formulaic writing. Yes, times have changed and templates can be outdated, but I argue a formula isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s how you execute – story, characters, themes, acting, direction, dialogue, every fleshy detail – which matters. So when some mates released this short, … Continue reading

The Wrong Mans: Structure, Storytelling, and Trope Usage in Episode 1

Dale and I wrote a long thing about The Wrong Mans and how it does all sorts of things really well. You can read the whole thing at TVquila by clicking here, but here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite.  Warning: The first episode of The Wrong Mans doesn’t deliver anything particularly new. It doesn’t even do anything … Continue reading

Lost Girl, Social Media, and the Nature of Bias

A Cohesive Response Last week, I got a lot of feedback on Twitter. Within my reply page were a lot of people who disliked something I said and who responded by suggesting the review was ‘biased.’ It mostly did feel angry, though some of that can be translation and the medium. Whatever its impetus, it … Continue reading

Lost Girl – Caged Heat’s Problem

This started as a part of the whole 3.01 review, but it grew larger until it took on a life of its own and clamored to get a dedicated post. The review will come next week. Right off: I’m a writer and tv/filmmaker, and I’m approaching this episode primarily as such. I’m not a trans* … Continue reading

Lost Girl: Season 2 Questions, Answered

You asked, I rambled. How do you see masculinity dealt with on Lost Girl? Dyson, in particular, is a difficult character in this regard. KHR recently mentioned that Dyson would be “neutered” in season 4. This obviously impulsive statement makes clear the deep unease that surrounds and permeates Dyson as a character. This is a … Continue reading

Here We Go A-tumblring

If tumblr is a Thing You Do, you may be interested to know I’ve changed my tumblr url. Or, you may just be unaware I had a tumblr. Either way, it is now also mehlsbells, as I try to consolidate my online presence. What a weird sentence that is, when you think about it. I … Continue reading

Lessons in Film. Life. What’s The Difference?

If there’s one thing the Internet doesn’t need right now, it’s another person who didn’t know Roger Ebert writing about Roger Ebert. But that’s the thing. We do know him. He didn’t just recap movies, he reviewed them with beautiful prose and wisdom and snark and startling insight. As we read the blog, scoured the … Continue reading

Unbest 2012

This is my contribution to this year’s Unbest blog. You can see more entries here. In case you’ve managed to forget the incessant phone calls, e-mails, attack ads, and debates, 2012 was a political year. You couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a politician using popular music to further his or her agenda, nor, seemingly, … Continue reading