Category: TV

The X-Files: myth-making that matters

In the ancient world humans concocted elaborate myths, often in an attempt to explain the unexplainable or to galvanize a certain tribe around a shared fear of the unknown. Storytelling helped people understand everything from natural phenomena to human behavior. C.S. Lewis held a strong belief in the power of myth, which he shared with friends J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams and others. Christianity,…  [more]

Serial, Making a Murderer and the true-crime trend

Truman Capote first published his book In Cold Blood as a four-part serial in The New Yorker, beginning in September of 1965. The groundbreaking work outlined the grisly murder of four family members in rural Kansas and became one of the most popular true-crime books of all time. In Cold Blood elevated the genre of nonfiction crime stories and took readers on an intimate journey into the minds of killers. In the five…  [more]

Fargo’s faith in little green men

The camera focuses on a pea green bumper sticker with the words "We are not alone" next to the white outline of a UFO. The rest of the screen is filled with the window of a local gas station, a bullet hole dead center, evidence of a senseless murder we just witnessed. This shot nicely encapsulates FX’s Fargo. Loosely inspired by the 1996 Coen brothers movie of the same name, Fargo's second season is set in…  [more]

Why A Charlie Brown Christmas still resonates 50 years later

If your childhood had any similarity to mine, then the arrival of Christmas each year was marked by America’s Advent calendar of television holiday specials. Claymation classics like Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and animated legends like How the Grinch Stole Christmas filled our home with daily anticipation that Christmas morning was coming soon. The highlight was always the night we spent in footed pajamas…  [more]

Learning how to love from Master of None

In an interview with the A.V. Club, Aziz Ansari described the theme of Master of None, his new Netflix series, like this: “Instead of yelling your opinion, or telling people to shut up, or engaging in this clickbait-internet culture, have a dialogue with someone and ask people questions and listen to what they have to say.” After seeing several episodes, I think this ethos comes through strongly,…  [more]

In defense of Oprah’s Belief series

Oprah Winfrey aired an inspiring documentary television miniseries last week called Belief. The seven-part show focused on how religion is lived out in heartfelt ways across the globe. Belief and devotion were portrayed in a positive light. Winfrey’s dedication to sharing how religion can be used for peace and healing was refreshing. It seems that there is an increasing amount of skepticism these days about…  [more]

Doctor Who and the wildness of God

When at all possible, there are two things I do each Saturday: watch the Florida Gators play football and catch the latest episode of Doctor Who. Over the last few years, Doctor Who has surged in popularity, particularly in the United States. People cannot get enough of the pacifist, time-traveling alien. Thanks to the show’s conceit of “regeneration,” whenever one actor quits the title role a new…  [more]

The Blacklist and our need for sin-eaters

“I am a sin-eater. I absorb the misdeeds of others, darkening my soul to keep theirs pure.” So confessed Raymond Reddington (James Spader) in the season two finale of NBC's The Blacklist. With Thursday’s premiere of season three, it seems appropriate to cast light on this little phrase once again. The Blacklist prides itself on showcasing the blurred lines between right and wrong, as it…  [more]

Stephen Colbert’s theology of suffering

Anyone who follows Stephen Colbert as closely as we do won’t be surprised by the religious tenor of his recent interview with GQ, in advance of his Sept. 8 debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The piece covers Colbert’s preparations for the new gig and the evolution of his comic persona, which leads to some provocative observations about the nature of suffering. Colbert discusses most of this in…  [more]

Rectify and the question we’re all asking

Rectify is the best show on television you’re likely not watching. Showing on the largely unknown Sundance Channel and plotted at a pace that can generously be called “meditative,” Rectify has never built a large following. Which is a shame, because Rectify picks up the torch from Mad Men in terms of offering some of the most empathetic, honest and truly human character development on television.…  [more]

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