Category Archives: tv

Darwin and the Tree of Life (2009)

If you happen to be too busy (or rather too lazy) to read such classics as Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth or Coyne’s Why Evolution is True, then dear reader you are in luck: for Sir David Attenborough’s engaging and thought provoking documentary will enlighten. It’s a quick and illustrious tour of earth’s life and evolution, offering additional insight into the science of evolution, Darwin, DNA, fossil records, etc. Its efforts reach millions if not billions of years back to support one of the most valuable scientific facts in the last 150 years or so.

A clip from the documentary on the eye’s evolution:

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The Walking Dead S02E01

Here it is, the moment we’ve all waited for, season 2 of The Walking Dead. Season 1 fell weakly and it’s a shame that they picked up where they left off. While the opening scene, featuring “the herd” built suspense and concern, it was preceded with Rick Grimes droning on far too long on a walkie-talkie. What made even less sense was meandering their way through the parking lot highway and stalling with a dead RV. Seeing as there were about 100+ vehicles from which to choose and move on. Alas, the journey took us into the forest where Rick savagely beats the brains out of some zombies. The scene itself and the CGI rivaled each other in cheapness.

The search for the Sofia may have been the worse turning point of the episode. Running around the woods, à la Blair Witch, did not build up the suspense that they had going with “the herd”. Instead, it deflated. More drivel followed with the church scene. And the mystery event that marked the end topped-off a meaningless episode. If the character relationships weren’t so half-baked the episode may have fared better. In the end The Walking Dead is just plain forgettable.

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Men of Crisis: Unreleased Woody Allen

Woody Allen’s short from 1972, Men of Crisis, never aired. A  review is on Splitsider and the catalog page for the work is available at the Paley Site. I’m not sure if it being housed in their LA or NY location. I aim to find out and in the event that I’m in the area hopefully I’ll be able to coordinate with a librarian and get to watch it. With 10 official Woody Allen releases left Men of Crisis would be a feather in my cap.

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Why Madmen Sucks

I’ve watched the first two episodes of Madmen and have watched, years ago, later episodes in no particular order. I have several problems with the show based upon its own merits (or rather the lack thereof).

I get that it takes place in the 1950s/60s. That mere fact provides its own shock value. Wowzers, they smoke and drink all the time, cheating on your wife is a given, misogyny is expected, racism normal, homosexuals must live in the closet, men run the show, technology is new, etc. No mystery there, give me a one page paper or a history lecture. Nearly 2 hours of recycled motifs fast becomes dry. Madmen has yet to explore these cultural values/shifts in meaningful ways.

I don’t care about the characters, except the women who function as obvious underdogs. Unfortunately, being an underdog is a generalization and doesn’t lend itself to anything more than a superficial care. Don Draper is a son of a bitch, all the men are sons of bitches. It’s a routine that isn’t going anywhere. But wait, something is going on with Don? What is his background? And why is he so mysterious? Who gives a shit. When examined he’s not a compelling character. Rather, he is a caricature: the WW2 veteran suffering from shell-shock, the strong silent type, the male leader, the deep thinker and troubled soul, etc. Learning about him will not make the show more interesting.

The show is mildly entertaining. Unfortunately it draws out the story-lines and forces the audience into these “oh my” and “I can’t believe” pauses. Madmen’s lack of substance and lack of action leave us with a boring show. I can watch the most (subjectively) boring crap but it probably informs me of social and political issues in a substantive way. Madmen does not. I can watch pure action driven programs that hold little moral value. Madmen is no action packed program. Hell, the show ain’t even funny.

Once we get over the 1950s style, the macabre culture that is given only surface treatment, and the underdeveloped caricatures then we see what the show really is: above average set-design, a hard-working fashion team, and novel direction/production paired with barely mediocre story-telling.

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Twin Peaks : The End

Twin Peaks ends not with a bang but a whimper. Perhaps I expected too much for a destination that would be as fulfilling as the journey. Up to the last episode, revelation was slow to come and action steadily rising. The finale though wasted time with dreamy-lodge dimensions and other inanity. We are left not knowing about other characters who disappeared from the show halfway through or even those in the last episode… James…Leo? This is how Cooper and Windom Earle meet their demise? How utterly unsatisfying and cheap.

That isn’t to say that the end worsens the beginning or middle. Season one and season two still remain vibrant and amazing. And I have yet to watch Fire Walk With Me. If you’re willing to pay attention, Twin Peaks will reward you.

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Twin Peaks : Season 2 Episodes 10-13

Coop has got to defend himself against the crazy Canadian law and cocaine tricks. Major Brigs left and is now back, but from where and whence did he come? And women can be agents too!

Did I say that I love this show, cause I love this show.

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Twin Peaks: Season 2 Episodes 3-9

Wow, flat-out, wow…this show is so damn good; like a damn fine cup of coffee it is rich in flavor, dark in color, deep in texture, and really hot. There’s too much to go over but at this point every loose end is still in the balance, minus the Uncle/Mr. Leland bit which proved absolutely mind-boggling and crazy. Harold Smith said goodbye as did Maggie Ferguson, and also that dude who got the knife in the back from Hawk (that scene was pretty bad-ass). I am still smiling, frowning, approving, and disapproving all at the same time.

Alas, now I must move on to the remaining saga, gurgle gurgle *new shoes*.

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