Category: TV

Arrow and The Flash: superheroes from the garden of good and evil

Any self-respecting episode of The Flash or Arrow centers on The Big Fight. It’s what superheroes are all about, verified by comic-book covers throughout history: Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus! The Fantastic Four vs. Galactus! Superman vs. Hitler! This clash-of-titans obsession is, for many sophisticated readers, what kept comics relegated to the category of juvenilia for so long. If the only thing you can…  [more]

The ascetic appeal of tiny living

We Americans love our stuff. No doubt about it. Consumerism is as American as supersize fries. Any excess naturally brings counter movements toward the opposite extreme. One recent response to wanton consumerism is “tiny living,” a philosophy that emphasizes environmental awareness, adventurousness, self-sufficiency, simplicity, fiscal soundness and - its most visible outward sign of the lifestyle - tiny…  [more]

Why I’ll miss the religious mockery of The Colbert Report

Nobody likes to be the butt of a joke. On the school yard, at the family dinner table - we like it when people laugh with us, not at us. Above all, we don’t like it when people make sport of what we hold dear. Like our faith. Christians complain about unfair portrayals of “people of faith” in Hollywood. We’ve come to expect ridicule from atheist comedians like Bill Maher or Ricky Gervais. But…  [more]

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]

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