Category: TV

Redemption and Restoration on HGTV’s Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper, the fifth and final season of which premieres on HGTV later this month, stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, a husband-and-wife team who renovate houses around Waco, Texas. Chip brings construction expertise and goofy, self-deprecating humor, while Joanna brings focus, design skills, and the ability to laugh at Chip's antics. In each episode, Chip and Joanna are hired by clients to find and renovate a…  [more]

Lost in Ozark

Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) is a lost man. A middle-aged financial planner with two kids and an unfaithful wife named Wendy (Laura Linney), he lives an uninspiring life in the suburbs of Chicago. It’s a life that appears on the surface to be managed, yet not long after we’re introduced to the Byrdes in the Netflix series Ozark we find them on the run, fleeing to the rural backwaters of the Missouri…  [more]

Star Trek: Discovery and Creation’s Diversity

The Star Trek franchise has long been a place to try new things and imagine the future of humanity—and of television. In the 1960s, it broke ground in terms of diverse casting and depicting interracial romance. In the 1990s it introduced black and female captains. The franchise also imagined technology that would come to be; early flip-phones were designed to mimic the original series’ communicators,…  [more]

The Horrible Familiarity of Stranger Things

For the last year, a part of me has been stuck in the Stranger Things story. Stranger Things opened a new world for me, and I’m not just talking about the “Upside Down”—the dark and evil abyss that swallowed young Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) in season one. Certain pieces of art feel like a privilege for a generation to take part in, and Stranger Things has been like that for many of us. My…  [more]

Blue Bloods and the Spirit of the Law

There are simply too many cop shows. We are all familiar with their stereotypical plotlines: a crime is committed, detectives search for clues, and after a red herring or a car chase, the bad guy is brought to justice. Is it possible to find a series that feels new instead of toilsome? Blue Bloods, starring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg, subverts cop-and-robber motifs to instead offer a rich and authentic look into…  [more]

“Don’t Think About It”—Rick and Morty’s Broken Reality

Rick and Morty might be one of the most unexpectedly intellectual shows on television. The animated series, about the galaxy-hopping adventures of nihilistic mad scientist Rick and his grandson Morty, has a simple aesthetic—including uncomplicated character design and coloring—that nonetheless is used to create visually complicated scenes in which absurdism functions as commentary. An episode about mass…  [more]

Pete Davidson and Making Room for Depression in the Church

Every once in awhile, a Saturday Night Live cast member will give voice to an issue in a way that moves beyond hilarity and begins a striking dialogue. Such was the case with Pete Davidson, who opened up on a recent episode about his recent diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, mixing dark humor with truth about the reality of depression. During the show’s Weekend Update segment, the 23-year-old…  [more]

Biblical Womanhood in Game of Thrones?

The plight of the Christian female isn’t so different from that of Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. Bear with me. At first glance, we can tell that Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) doesn’t quite fit into her society. Though she is a highborn lady, she doesn’t aspire to the virtues of courtly life, a strategically arranged marriage, and the comforts that come with them. She would much rather don a…  [more]

In Praise of Genre Television

Here’s the thing. I don’t like the dark, gritty Batman. I like the pun-slinging, shark repellent-spraying, wham-pow Batman of Adam West and the Lego movies. Similarly, when The CW premiered iZombie, a silly procedural about a zombie who also solves crimes, I was on board. Sometimes I get frustrated when pop culture forgets to be fun and instead turns serious. One thing I’ve come to respect about The…  [more]

What St. Ignatius Would Say to BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman, now in its fourth season, has offered one of the most bizarre yet compelling narratives in television. Absurdist humor and obscure pop-culture references dominate, yet at the core of the show is a deep sense of melancholy. Paste described it as “the sad horse show.” As an animated series, BoJack Horseman is able to get away with this tonal mashup without feeling insincere. The show…  [more]

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