Behold the Awfulness of Showrunner Scott Buck in “Behold…The Inhumans!”

In one of Family Guy’s notorious cutaway gags, a character declares that he “hasn’t been this confused since he watched the film No Way Out.” The scene them flashes back to him exiting a movie theater and declaring, “How does Kevin Costner keep getting work?”

It’s hard not to feel the same bafflement about Inhumans showrunner Scott Buck. The biggest mystery left in the wake of “Behold…The Inhumans!”, the show’s first episode, is not how the titular heroes will cope with a budding coup, or what a seer’s prophecies mean, or even the vaguely-defined superpowers of the protagonists. Instead, it’s how and why studio executives keep handing Buck the keys to the kingdom after how many meh-to-ugh seasons of television have been unleashed on an unsuspecting public under his watch.

Does Buck have compromising pictures of someone important? Are television moguls simply content with the fact that he makes the trains run on time? Or is he just a really nice person?

Continue reading

Posted in Marvel Television Shows, Television | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Simpsons Takes It on Faith in “Lisa the Skeptic”


“I believe. I believe. It’s silly, but I believe.” That memorable line comes from 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street, one of cinema’s most iconic looks the intersection between commerce, doubt, and belief. “Lisa the Skeptic”, The Simpsons’ effort at addressing that same fault line sixty years later, shares more than a few things in common with its yuletide forebear.

Both stories feature a skeptical young girl trying to make sense of her doubts as well as the hoopla surrounding the very public appearance of something seemingly supernatural. But as I discussed on the Simpsons Show Podcast, while Miracle has a surprising amount of salience and grace even today, “Lisa the Skeptic” is much funnier, but also much clumsier, in the way it addresses topics like faith and skepticism.

Continue reading

Posted in Television | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Star Trek Discovery Premiere Is a Risky Proposition

Risk is our business. That famous line from Captain Kirk lays out the essential ethos of Star Trek — that the wild and wooly galaxy that our heroes explore is full of pitfalls and dangers, but also of unfathomable possibilities, there to be discovered. As I discussed with Robbie Dorman on the Serial Fanaticist Podcast, the premiere of the aptly-titled Star Trek Discovery embraces that franchise philosophy, giving it form in the sort of distillation and debate and that once fueled its 1960s counterpart.

Continue reading

Posted in Other Prestige Dramas, Television | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phoebe Bridgers’ “Stranger in the Alps” Is a Haunting Array of Songs that Pierce and Linger

There’s a winnowing that comes from distance and absence, in a way that reduces our connections with a person, place, or thing to a series of images, portents, and memories. Those remainders linger with us as touchstones of something lost and departed. Stranger in the Alps, the new release from Artist of the Month Phoebe Bridgers, captures the sense of that winnowing, the longing for something missing but still inescapably present, in beautiful melodies and heartrending lyrics.

It’s a feeling given form by Bridgers’ stirring voice. With shades of Gillian Welch and Jenny Lewis, the young singer’s captivating vocal performance provides the backbone for the record. Sometimes her voice is clear and arresting, standing out starkly amid the pleasing arrangements underneath. At others, it’s double-tracked and full of echoes, creating an ethereal, otherworldly vibe that helps conjure the spooks and specters that populate almost every corner of the album.

Continue reading at Consequence of Sound →

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Arrival Is an Intricate Film that Snaps into Place in its Finale

Caution: this review contains major spoilers for the film.

It’s hard to talk about Arrival without spoiling the film. So much of what makes it more than just a well-done first contact story is tied up in its later developments. They recontextualize enough of the prior proceedings that trying to discuss the import or quality of the film without taking it as a whole is like trying to give someone directions without letting them know the destination.

But its premise is deceptively straightforward. In the world of Arrival, aliens have come to Earth in twelve ships scattered across the globe. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a linguist brought by the U.S. Military to a ship located in Montana, in an attempt to help humanity communicate with this extraterrestrial presence. With the help of theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and a buffer provided by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker), Banks slowly but surely finds ways to speak with these seemingly unknowable beings, with the American team alternatively working with and against similar groups around the world attempting the same.

Continue reading

Posted in Movies, Prestige Pictures | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Game of Thrones: Family Comes First in “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Family is everything. That was Tywin Lannister’s lesson, even if his interpretation of the sentiment left something to be desired. More than the moment, more than a fleeting grievance, he tried to teach his children that the Lannister name was their legacy and that their family is what truly mattered. “The Dragon and the Wolf” plays with this idea, the concept of who genuinely cares about the blood of their blood, who’s willing to put their own ambitions above the same, and what it gets each of them.

Continue reading at Consequence of Sound →

Posted in Game of Thrones, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Game of Thrones: Winter Comes Too Fast “Beyond the Wall”

As Game of Thrones draws to a close, the set pieces are bigger, the stakes are higher, and the conflicts are grander. Gone are the days when different characters could be forever wandering across the map while the audience waited with baited breath for them to cross paths. More and more, our good guys and bad guys are clumped together, fighting the dead, their nearest adversaries, or one another, but now doing so in big groups rather than scattered pairings.

And yet, as the show starts to reach its climax, unveiling meetings and match-ups the fans have been salivating over for ages, I find myself relishing the moments that feel more like the show’s long middles than its grand finales. Those were the days of Game of Thrones where our favorite (and least favorite) characters would schlep all around Westeros having conversations with one another, facing the occasional dust up, and wondering what it all meant and about their place in these big events.

Continue reading at Consequence of Sound →

Posted in Game of Thrones, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Game of Thrones: “Eastwatch” Offers Uneasy Alliances and the Longview

Game of Thrones is about opposition, shifting alliances, and rivals stabbing one another in the back. But in a weird way, it’s also about teamwork and cooperation. The events that have ravaged Westeros and turned king against king against king have also produced no end of unexpected allies and strange bedfellows.

From the beginning of the series, when Catelyn Stark forged an uneasy alliance with Tyrion Lannister, to the present where warring queens agree to talk armistice, bastards become brothers in arms, and blacksmiths fight alongside the men who once bought and sold them, the series has always shown that interests sometimes align and serve to unite people who, under other circumstances, might be at one another’s throats.

Continue reading at Consequence of Sound →

Posted in Game of Thrones, Television | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Game of Thrones: The Dizzying Thrills, the Blazing Horrors, and “The Spoils of War”

Game of Thrones likes to have its cake and eat it, too, especially when it comes to war and its wide-ranging consequences. It’s a show founded on a sense of anticipation. When will the Starks reunite? When will Daenerys Targaryen lay siege to Westeros? When will The White Walkers breach The Wall? But it’s equally founded on depicting the horror and unexpected costs of those convergence points.

That means its heart-pumping battles and heart-warming reunions are always in a state of superposition. Those moments are exhilarating but also harrowing. Home is a sanctuary, but home has changed. And war is glorious, but war is also hell.

Continue reading at Consequence of Sound →

Posted in Game of Thrones, General, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Game of Thrones: “The Queen’s Justice” Finds Poetry in Westeros

Westeros isn’t much for poetry. The Seven Kingdoms seem to have produced a grand total of two songs, give or take the musical stylings of Ed Sheeran, which are so very beloved by the Game of Thrones fanbase. Despite that, there is great poetry in these contentious lands, a call and response that echoes across seas and across ages. But true to the character of the place, it finds its form in death and vengeance rather than in meter and verse.

Continue reading at Consequence of Sound →

Posted in Game of Thrones, Television | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment