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

Luther: Series 3, Episode 1

If you were wondering whether Luther would be back on the force after all the events of last season . . . well, much as I’d watch a show called Luther On The Run, we knew he would be. Even with the windshield wiper subterfuge and a garage door rolling slowly up to show feet … Continue reading

Luther: Series 2, Episode 4

My problems with Luther – especially the first two episodes of this season – were a little about what it does (serial killers targeting women in alleys and children in buses, as seen in every other torture porn and procedural ever), but mostly how it does it; that is, when it uses the shot composition … Continue reading

Luther: Series 2, Episode 3

It is a unspoken rule that if the camera singles out and follows a random woman doing anything insignificant, that woman is about to have something bad done to her.  It’s cinematic shorthand, along with dramatic strings, bum-bum-BUMs, and people reacting in full sentences. As you may have noticed, I’m much less thrilled with Luther’s second … Continue reading

Luther: Series 2, Episode 2

(continued from Episode 1) When the ‘previously on’ montage rolled, I wanted nothing more than to see Luther jettison its entire 2nd season premise (more solving of murders, but with a new group of faces in a new office, blah blah blah) and take Luther and Alice on the lam. I immediately came back to … Continue reading

Elementary: Quick Thoughts

Interesting choice of plaid shirt there, Watson.

I’ve been an impassioned follower of the BBC’s Sherlock, and before that, a lover of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books. Cue ads for CBS’s Elementary.  I was understandably wary, but, roommates. Initial Reactions Huzzah, no over-the-top gory body discovery to test the boundaries of the extra-of-the-week’s shrieking and sputtering abilities. An addition of an extra layer of … Continue reading

Luther: Series 2, Episode 1

With Luther Staring Up At her Soulfully

Telling that the episode – and the entire second series – opens on Alice. Then Alice’s first few sentences explain who John. Luther. is. “My friend . . . we were simpatico.” Most of the rest is part truth, part smokescreen, part exposition to the audience. The game’s afoot. Luther doesn’t actually give us an … Continue reading

Luther: Series 1, Episode 6

Delightful, that's all I can think of to say here.

Episode 1.5 was what most shows would play as a season finale. This episode, 1.6, would be the premiere four months later. Whether because it’s essentially a miniseries, or because it’s The BBC and they can do whatever they damn well please, Luther subverted the usual cliffhanger, perhaps in favor of a better one. The episode … Continue reading

Luther: Series 1, Episode 5

In the opening sequence of continuously moving clips, we get a shot where the main characters are almost out-of-frame. The camera is less concerned with them than it is with the mood, the look. The camera fades to black before the graphic climax, as well. Yes, we’ve gotten to the point where even cold opens … Continue reading

Luther: Series 1, Episode 4


*cue opening minor-chord music* Crap. Another middle-aged, white, male serial killer doing creepy ritualistic things to some woman. *cut to credits* More on these in the Stray Observations. *cut to Luther waking up in only the bottom 3rd of the screen.* Phone ringing to wake him up: cliched choice. Purple sheets: good choice. No Zoe: … Continue reading