I figured I’d be writing something about the Oscars today, as I normally would do a few days before the big show, but since I have been covering them since the nominees were announced anyway — and particularly heavily this week — I have almost nothing left to say. (Plus, I’m still in denial about a few of the big winners.)
So let’s talk about TV. TV? Well, it’s sort of TV. Now movies are being released on VOD, meaning you watch them on television. And Netflix released House Of Cards Season One in its entirety all at once, like a movie. So what’s the difference between movies and TV anymore? Is there one? Or is House Of Cards just one long-ass movie?
First of all, full disclosure: I hate Glee. Glee has experienced a bit of a backlash over the past year or so (due to a dip in quality, I hear — considering how bad it was at its peak, I shudder to think). But I hated Glee back when the entire rest of the human race was lapping up Ryan Murphy’s Kool Aid (or Slushee, I guess).
So I was pre-disposed to dislike The New Normal just as much or possibly moreso, both because of Murphy and also because the concept itself seemed such a desperate bid for pats on the back from a very specific demographic — to the extent that it should have been called either Hey, Liberals — Watch This! or Shove It, Republicans. (Not that I am vehemently opposed to telling hardcore right-wingers to shove it.)
Life’s tough for a pop culture aficionado. You can’t keep up with everything, and sometimes the buzziest properties aren’t available to you. I’m speaking specifically about HBO, home to a good many quality programs, which until recently I had no access to. The only series I’ve actually watched live on TV in the past three years is Season Five of Breaking Bad; otherwise there’s always plenty to catch up with on DVD or streaming.
But then — along comes a pop culture event so momentous that if you’re not in on it, you’re out in the socially irrelevant cold. And once you’re out, it can be very difficult to find your way back in again. Continue reading →
There have probably been at least five episodes of this show that left me thinking, “Well, now Walt’s really evil.” Just when you think our antihero has crossed every line he could possibly cross, he goes just a little bit further.
Or, in the case of this week, he goes a lot further.
One of the established tricks of screenwriting is, when stuck, put two characters who haven’t had any scenes together in a room and see what they say. I’ve never knowingly had to resort to this, because I never run short on material, and I doubt the writers of Breaking Bad were exactly “stuck,” either — surely the aftermath of last week’s devastating murder was rife with possibilities for where to take “Buyout.”
Still, this episode does something unexpected — it puts the two most important people in Walt’s life in a room together. And the truly surprising thing isn’t that it happens, but that it only highlights how strange it is that Skyler and Jesse have seen so little of each other throughout the series when we’ve seen so much of the two of them.
As I’ve stated before, I grade Breaking Bad on a curve. Even a “bad” episode of Breaking Bad is a million times better than any episode of Two And A Half Men, or 99% of other shows on TV. There is no “bad” episode of Breaking Bad, anyway. There are only episodes ranging from “good” to “holy fucking shit, that was incredible.”
Even after last week’s season premiere, it was unclear what path Breaking Bad would take in its fifth and final season. “Live Free Or Die” was all about cleaning up Season Four’s messes, and “Madrigal” does a little of that before heading in an entirely new and surprising direction.