Category: TV

The incarnational allure of live TV

A funny thing is happening in the medium of television. We are seeing more and more of something that was popular in TV’s early days: live events. This trend is likely influenced by two other developments: the accessibility and popularity of streaming and time-shifting technology, which makes it more convenient to view programming after it has been broadcast; and the practice of “live tweeting” or…  [more]

Faris, The Flash and Fargo: the top ten television shows of 2014

10. The Middle The Middle has always been great - and criminally underappreciated - but this season the show has outdone itself with Brick’s debut on the dating scene, Sue’s quest for college and Frankie’s disastrous home-improvement schemes. If we weren’t laughing so hard, all of us struggling to make it in the narrowing middle class would surely have to cry. 9. Brooklyn Nine-Nine When…  [more]

Jane the Virgin’s deterministic comedy

Virgin birth may seem like an odd subject for a comedy, but Jane the Virgin is no ordinary comedy. In fact, it’s a little miracle. To tell its sensationalist story of a young woman (Gina Rodriguez) from a devout Catholic family who is artificially inseminated by mistake during a gynecologist’s checkup, executive producer Jennie Snyder takes her source, the Venezualan telenovela Juana la Virgen, and turns…  [more]

Scandal, #WhyIStayed and standing against abuse

Scandal is back on ABC this fall, further detailing the illicit relationship between public-relations guru Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and married President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant (Tony Goldwyn). Watching the first few episodes, it strikes me that the show could play a helpful role in our current national conversation about abusive relationships. Scandal follows Olivia and her team of PR…  [more]

CBS’ Mom and comedy of recovery

You’d never guess it from the yuk-a-minute CBS promos, but Mom, the Anna Faris/Allison Janney sitcom that begins its second season Monday, is a show about alcoholism. No, it’s not about characters who drink constantly and hilariously (that would be Cougar Town). On Mom, single mother Christy Plunkett and her mother Bonnie never touch the stuff. But each week, everything they do is framed against the…  [more]

Gilmore Girls and Christian community

My social media were abuzz when it was announced that the entire run of Gilmore Girls will be available for streaming on Netflix beginning Oct. 1.  Fans of the show loved its rapid-fire dialogue and heartwarming relationships; I’ll also confess to enjoying the debates over which boyfriends were the best/worst in the series. (All of Rory’s boyfriends were the worst, while Lane’s were the best,…  [more]

The Leftovers: perseverance in the face of perplexity

As we approach Sunday’s season finale of The Leftovers, HBO’s new series about a Rapture-like occurrence and its aftermath in a small New York town, let’s consider a Gospel story: Jesus said to his disciples, “Compare me to something and tell me what I am like.” Thomas said to him, “Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like.” And Jesus took him, and…  [more]

“I love you all” – Michael Fassbender sings the Gospel wearing a papier-mâché head

The strange new movie Frank, starring Michael Fassbender as an enigmatic bandleader who wears a giant papier-mâché head, ends with a remarkable scene of musical reconciliation. The moment – a performance of a song called “I Love You All” - mostly resonates within the narrative of the film itself, but there are also Gospel echoes all over it. Frank charts the slight rise and significant…  [more]

Why The Simpsons went to church (and what they found there)

In The Simpsons’ 1990s heyday – well before the Simpsons Marathon currently going on at FX - pundits frequently observed that it was one of the only places on television where the characters regularly went to church. That fact pushed back against the conservative outrage - they swear! they neglect their kids! they fight! they bite! - that dominated media dissections of the animated show. If you…  [more]

Robin Williams and inner peace

The mania was always part of the magic. Now, with Robin Williams dead by his own hand at the age of 63, we can only wonder if that magic came at a costly price. Of course, for those of us who didn’t know Williams, such wondering is grim, speculative and opportunistic. So let’s stick with the work and instead consider how Williams’ comedy attempted to make sense of the world. Observed in retrospect,…  [more]

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