Just TV

Best TV of 2010: The Second Tier

In my last post, I offered my Top Tier TV for 2010, roughly serving as a top 5 (with one of those taken by a videogame). So the following shows could be seen as residing in the bottom half of my Best Of list, but I refuse the arbitrary limit of 10 or the time it would take to rank these any way except alphabetically. So feel free to pick your favorite and call it my #6. ... read more »

Best TV of 2010: The Top Tier

Teaching Narrative Through Remix

I’m writing from the grading bunker, which seems like a fine place to contemplate the purpose of assignments we give our students. Usually, my assignments are fairly conventional in both form and goal, looking to synthesize specific ideas from the course in a way that allows students to apply them to an object or topic that interests them. ... read more »

Thankful for Terriers

I’d like to interrupt this unplanned blog hiatus – yes, it’s been one of those semesters – to give thanks for this year’s best new show: Terriers. I’d been planning on posting a blog about Terriers after a few episodes, but I’m glad I got too busy to write it, as the show has transformed into something much more engaging and powerful since then. What started out as a shaggy good time has emerged into taught double character study packing a surprise emotional wallop. ... read more »

Television’s Two Leagues

I’m on my way down to the always-excellent Flow Conference in Austin today, where media scholars gather to engage in structured conversations rather than formal presentations. One of the highlights of the conference each year is a screening, and this year’s had me excited a couple of weeks ago when it was announced: an advanced look at the third episode of Fox’s Lone Star, with a Q&A from show’s creator (and Austin resident) Kyle Killen. ... read more »

Wikis and Participatory Fandom

One of my writing projects this summer was to write a book chapter for a forthcoming anthology called Routledge Handbook of Participatory Cultures, edited by Aaron Delwiche and Jennifer Henderson (forthcoming in 2011 from Routledge, of course). The handbook is designed to offer accessible introductions to a wide array of facets of participatory culture, suitable for teaching or non-specialist readership, with an impressive line-up of authors. ... read more »

Bordwell on Television (and me on film)

Yesterday, David Bordwell blogged about television watching, and the reasons why he generally doesn’t do it (at least made-for-television fiction – he obviously watches many films on his television screen). Soon, my Twitter feed was all atwitter with anxiety about how Bordwell (one of the major figures in film studies, if you don’t know) was bashing television, and a couple of people directly asked me if I would respond. So here are some meandering thoughts in reply. ... read more »

Teaching now and preparing for next year in Germany

As is my tradition, I’ve waited until the last possible moment to complete the syllabi and course sites for my classes this semester, both of which start meeting tomorrow. I’m teaching Television and American Culture, my annual fall ritual, and a new version of my course on narrative theory, Storytelling in Film & Media. Both syllabi are online, and free for browsing and poaching. ... read more »

Rewatching Breaking Bad

As the summer wanes, it’s my annual time to look back at all the things I failed to accomplish. It’s been an excellent summer, marked by quality family time, enjoyable trips, house projects, and general low-stress fun (including a successful immersion into the best videogame I’ve played in a long time, Red Dead Redemption). But for many academics, summer is the designated time for getting things done that require concentrated time and attention – and in that regard, I fell short of my goals, especially in the desire to blog. ... read more »

On Disliking Mad Men

As a scholar and fan of contemporary narratively complex television serials, one of my blindspots has been Mad Men, a show about which I’ve mentioned on this blog has little appeal to me. Thus it was a bit surprising months ago when I was invited to contribute to a forthcoming book of collected essays on the show – the editors knew that I didn’t like the show, and wanted me to write about why. I accepted the invitation as a kind of challenge, and the results are posted below. ... read more »