When but a girl, I used to stay up quite late watching TV (exciting in itself!) trolling for Fred Astaire or Marx Brothers movies in a sea of horrific late-night jangling commercials like those featuring, in his white cowboy hat, the car dealer Cal Worthington "and his dog, Spot" (who turned out to be an elephant, often as not). Thus it was that one night I discovered "Monty Python's Flying Circus," a phenomenon that roared like a hurricane across the plain of my tender psyche, ending in an hoarse, explosive "It's!" How can I tell you what this meant to me? It was just a TV show, but "Monty Python" [...]
From Chart-Topping Highs To Unthinkable Lows: The 20 Best Lines Of Narration From "Behind The Music: TLC"
20. "Millions of dollars were pouring in, but in the middle of 1995 the girls shocked their fans by filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy."
19. "But although she agreed work on the new album, Lisa continued to look beyond music for her own personal salvation."
18. "Consumed by turmoil, trials and tragedy, was the music. Not a single new note was heard from TLC for nearly 5 years."
17. "On the way to the studio, Lisa saw a rainbow. It was a vision that inspired her to add a deeply personal touch to the song, 'Waterfalls.'"
Carrie: How smart of Netflix to release its series a week before a historic blizzard hit the Northeast. I wonder how many people who had no intention of ever watching this show ended up reluctantly streaming it this weekend, because it was that or the 9th rewatch of All About Eve or Grizzly Man?
Jane: Now, I don't think one could ever watch Grizzly Man enough times, but beside the point! (If Netflix ever wants to release a 13-part Herzog meditation on chaos and murder, though…) Did all of Netflixing NYC spend the weekend colluding with Frank Underwood? Inversely, when hysterics about snowfall (along with attendant talk of "House of [...]
An obsession in five acts.
I. You're about nine, and you always watch tv with your dad. It's your thing—he's usually nursing a Coors Light, you're doing your best to hang upside down on the couch until your head starts pounding. Sometimes you watch golf and fall in love with Payne Stewart; sometimes you watch "MacGyver" and wish your dad had his hair. But then you start watching "Star Trek: The Next Generation" at 5 p.m. on a Saturday, because obviously that is when the best show on television should be scheduled, and your routine becomes: 1.) watch "TNG" together 2.) Mom and Dad go out to some dinner [...]
Carrie Frye: Jane, so I was lazing around Saturday morning when I saw a series of ecstatic tweets from you about the amazingness of "House Of Cards." Up till then I'd only been paying dim attention to the show's release (basically, I knew it was a series released on Netflix about Washington politics that, disappointingly, did not seem to feature any secret vampires), but on your word, I tried an episode at lunch. And then, next thing I knew, "Portlandia" Battleship Galactica marathon style, it was dusk… and then it was 10 p.m. and I had no circulation left in my legs.
I'm now on episode 7 and view [...]
"Welcome to the O.C., bitch." —Luke, "The O.C.," Season 1, Episode 1
Sometimes disorder introduces itself into long-standing order. Such is the plot of almost everything compelling: "Downton Abbey," the evolution of the norovirus, "The Nanny," bedbugs, "Jurassic Park," civil rights, the lineup changes of Foreigner, infidelity. So goes, also, the story of Ryan Atwood, who storms Newport's gated communities with little more than a hoodie, a wrist cuff, a pack of Marlboros and his trademark Chino flair in the pilot episode of "The O.C."
This essay is part of a series about our favorite TV shows past.
"Fringe," the only prime time SF show to make it through a fairly natural lifespan without becoming a disaster, concludes tonight. I did not want to love "Fringe," but it happened anyway. From its beginnings as cheerful but fresh Mulder and Scully redux to its rampaging full-on SF freakout middle period to its dark dystopian final season, "Fringe" avoided the varied and terrible pitfalls of often-great shows like "Lost," "X-Files," "Dollhouse," "V," "Firefly," "Heroes" and "Battlestar Galactica," all of which were either tortured by networks or tortured by showrunners. Or both.
(Sure, on the "natural lifespan" thing: I mean, yes, it is slightly awkward that the show concluded at [...]
Michelle Dean: We have gathered here today because, and I think this is not an exaggerated term, we are devoted to "Enlightened," the struggling HBO show from Mike White that stars Laura Dern as Amy Jellicoe, a woman who… is struggling to figure out life. That sounds kind of patronizing, but it's the only way to put it.
Recently I found myself actively worrying about the show's potential cancellation as I went about my day. And I keep tossing around different reasons of articulating why. One is of course that like David Haglund at Slate, I think it's the most interesting show on television right now, as well as [...]
Unless he is actually the Terminator, alleged maniacal killer and ex-LAPD cop Christopher Dorner died yesterday in a burning vacation cabin near the Southern California mountain resort town of Big Bear. And for the first time in probably forever, Big Bear is at the top of the news. As often happens when little-known places make the headlines, cable news hosts struggled to understand the mysterious place—did it have access to television or the Internet?—and people on Twitter mocked the confusion of the cable news hosts, while Big Bear residents used Twitter to say things like, "I was literally looking at the house Chris Dorner was at from the [...]
Carrie: Jane, remember when the world was new, you were dewy-eyed and I was not yet so haggard, and "House of Cards" had only just become available for streaming on Netflix? It seems like years ago, but it was only last Friday.
Jane: Now it's a week later, Spandau Ballet's "True" is playing in this cafe, and if we were sitting together, I'd probably be telling you not to Bogart the whiskey. We've passed binge-viewing, Carrie, to re-watching, to you using "House of Cards" characters as verbs ("how much will I Peter Russo myself in the morning if I do this?"), to me looking up which of the series' actors [...]
If you enjoyed the usual American male weekend of constant television viewing while sunk deep in the pizza-crush folds of your sofa, evolution has already decided it doesn't want your kind in the generations to come. That's why low-activity men who watch lots of television have dramatically lower sperm counts than those who get some exercise.
The subjects of the study were college-aged men in New York state, aged 18-22. The first group did 15 hours of "moderate to vigorous physical activity per week," about 2 hours daily. The second group just slobbed out in front of the flat screen for 20 or more hours weekly. Besides being incredibly [...]
16. Liz: She'll be like, "Whaaat?" (41:48)
15. Jack: Wait, you're Sam? (42:16)
14. Grizz: Wait, you're Sam? Don't even say it. (41:26)
13. Kenneth: So the whole show just takes place here at 30 Rockefeller Plaza—is that right, Ms. Lemon? [Yes sir...] I know, and I love it. (42:28)
12. Dot Com: Tracy is exactly where you think he is, Liz. It's the closest thing he has to hiding out in a church. (30:50)
Fort Courage, Kansas. Civil War hero Captain Wilton Parmenter is in command, protecting the Fort, and the neighboring town of the same name, from a tribe of Indians in the area, led by Chief Wild Eagle. With Sergeant O'Rourke and Corporal Agarn rounding out his staff, Captain Parmenter navigates Fort Courage through the dangerous waters of the expansionist latter half of the 19th Century.
Plus also: wackiness.
This is the synopsis of a situation comedy, circa 1965. Not an emphatically successful one, but "F Troop" was still a pristine specimen of what I grew up thinking was the Platonic ideal of sitcoms.
• Last night's Charity Wine Auction: Two guests kidnapped from elevator as they're leaving the party.
• Liberty Project benefit dinner: Wife of a Supreme Court nominee reveals to assembled guests that her husband beats her, is crooked judge.
• Thanksgiving dinner: Victoria discloses to guests that at age 15 she was forced to shoot a man and take the blame for his death.
• Second wedding to Conrad: Groom toted off by police during the reception.
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful sequence ever aired on television:
This essay is part of a series about our favorite TV shows past.
Previously: You, Me And "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
It's the opening scene for episode two of "Carnivàle." I've probably watched it 100 times. I know every motion, piece of furniture, item of clothing, dialogue snippet, and character backstory. I know the song playing is Ruth Etting's 1929 hit "Love Me or Leave Me."
And yet still, I have absolutely no idea what's going on.
That was kind of the experience of watching the show. Trying to [...]
We are now deep into the season in which our cultural critics, like a gaggle of drunk uncles, kick off their shoes, retire to the den, and proceed to discuss, long past the point at which the rest of us would like to go to sleep, what it's all about.
You see, these shows we've been DVR-ing, these Oscar contenders we've been risking bedbugs for: they don't all just happen to have been released recently. No, they, like the birthmarks in Cloud Atlas, have messages for us; they link up. We're obsessed with the Civil War. We long for superheroes. We are, as ever, deeply confused about race.
"Chinese TV extra Shi Zhongpeng, 26… appeared as a member of the Japanese forces more than 200 times last year, the Qianjiang Evening News reported, sometimes dying on set eight times in a single day."
In the nights before the promised Mayan Apocalypse, mysterious configurations of bright lights hovered over Brooklyn and San Francisco's Mission District. The first commenter here made the reasonable assumption that it was all some kind of viral marketing aimed at overpaid young urbanites.
But the product of such clever, vague and expensive advertising has yet to appear. And the silent, terrifying craft are now being seen over far less desirable urban areas including Detroit, Indianapolis and the Gulf Coast of Florida. What could it mean? Is Detroit poised for a comeback? And why are they also appearing in Poughkeepsie?
Myriad outrageous things occurred during the two seasons of "Twin Peaks" that aired on ABC in the early 1990s. A fish somehow got stuck in a coffee percolator, a sheriff's deputy knocked himself silly by stepping on a loose board, Sherilyn Fenn tied a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue. Verbal tics and regional dialects and odd vocal registers predominated. Dwarfs and doppelgangers spoke backwards. David Duchovny showed up wearing a dress. Many of these things came off as humorous, and each episode provided at least five or six chuckle-worthy moments—which, as offsets go, is only fair, considering that the David Lynch and Mark [...]
The best time to get involved in a conspiracy theory is in media res. A really good conspiracy needs years to pile up the evil plans and secret knowledge into a baroque edifice worth caring about. At its beginning, it's just a bunch of people with some sinister ideas, and where's the fun in that?
So I think I got really enthusiastic about "The X-Files" and its ongoing storyline of a human-alien conspiracy precisely because I came into it in the middle. I had seen an episode or two of the first few seasons, enough to get the general gist of the show; but it was only after I moved [...]