On this solemn Saturday, commemorating the tragic Tuesday 20 years ago, I can’t add much more than past recollections in 2005, 2006, 2015, and 2020. I can strongly, strongly, strongly recommend that you watch National […]
I really want to know. That sentence, the title, and a short list of TV Shows about viral epidemics is as far as this post proceeded when I started it on April 26, 2016. I meant to come back many times over the nearly five years since and really regret the failure following the World Health Organization’s declaration of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
Still contemplating writing this essay, but not getting to it, I shot and edited the Featured Image on June 11, 2017. San Diego’s Museum of Man (since then renamed to “Us”) featured exhibit “Cannibals: Myth & Reality”. With so many of the virus movies or TV series focused on Zombie apocalypses, the exhibit artwork seemed so perfect illustration. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1000 sec, 28mm; 2:07 p.m. PDT, Leica Q.
Half a decade later, I wonder: How much did pandemic feature films and TV shows create soil for COVID-19 to grow into a state of global fear—and, as I will opine in six days, far exceeds the real risk posed to the majority of people; whether or not they are infected? Surely, you can guess my answer.
To celebrate my fifty-ninth birthday earlier this week, I acquired on this fine Friday the 13th the same (but slightly newer) model watch worn by both Cassie and Cole on 12 Monkeys, which wrapped its final season one week ago. Coherency and consistency makes for compelling character-driven, superb storytelling. The actors were well-chosen for their roles; the dynamic among them is believable and compelling.
Too many series shift suddenly to reboot the narrative, between seasons. Common tactic: Jumping months or years ahead, and in process changing characters’ circumstances while leaving viewers feeling like they missed something—as previous plots are tossed aside. Not 12 Monkeys, which fourth season was in almost all ways the most entertaining of all. Jennifer Goines performing P!NK for Der Furher is sure to achieve cult-meme status, when the program reaches the right threshold of fans.
Before my wife started watching the new series streaming from Hulu, I warned her: “I can’t imagine how I would feel if a woman”. I had already finished first hour “Offred” from the production based on 1985 tome The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Three episodes are online now—and their tone and timeliness are visceral and all too familiar, like was the Battlestar Galactica miniseries that followed the 9-11 terrorist attacks by two years. There is something that is too real, too possible—and, unlike the so-called Trump “Resistance”, I don’t refer to the current government in Washington, D.C. No imminent right-wing coup is on the horizon, as so many Liberals want to believe. That’s as fictional as The Handmaid’s Tale.
What’s disturbing is another kind of currency, which is largely lost in the torrent of “it could happen here” commentary: The plight of women portrayed in the series isn’t far removed from what many of them experience elsewhere in 2017. Not in some alternate-reality United States, but across swaths of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East—if not both American continents and Europe. Severity may vary by degrees, but where on this planet isn’t there, at the least, some vestige of the subservient, objectified woman? Liberals, who as a class supposedly champion for the human rights of all people, shouldn’t ignore what is while obsessing about what might be for fear it could happen to them.
What a difference 12 years and an anniversary makes. Here is the Starship Enterprise on display in the Air and Space Museum, October 2004. In celebration of the TV show’s 50th airdate—Sept. 8, 1966—celebration. the […]
Not since (what was then) SciFi Channel televised the Battlestar Galactica miniseries in 2003 has science fiction storytelling been so good as Ascension, which aired last week. BSG changed the tone and tenure of speculative drama, that felt altogether more real in the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Later watchers won’t feel the same about the miniseries or full seasons that followed. They’re beret of the shared context that amplified the emotional content.
Ascension’s showrunners smartly seek something similar, but playing reminiscent emotions rather than anger or fear. For aging Baby Boomers, and even their descendants, Ascension is a time tunnel to the early 1960s, perfectly preserved 51 years later. Pop! Let’s look inside the time capsule! i09 calls Ascension “Mad Men in Space”, and there’s something to that allusion. But unlike later Mad Men seasons, which carried the characters forward into the decade’s crises and conflicts, Ascension harkens a golden era of innocence before Civil Rights, Vietnam, war protests, hippies, political assassinations, or even the Beatles.
I grew up watching Canadian TV from the CBC station across the St. John River in New Brunswick. Programs like “The Beachcombers”, “The Friendly Giant”, “Mr. Dressup” and “North of 60”, among many others, delighted. In 1995, my wife, daughter and I moved home to Maine for 18 months, and my daughter watched “Big Comfy Couch” before its stateside debut. Many successful American TV shows were produced in Canada, such as “Battlestar Galactica” and “X-Files” and many HGTV programs.
The Canadian shows have a much different tone than their American counterparts that reminds of British TV. Well, they’re both part of the Commonwealth, eh. Yesterday I discovered CBC drama “The Border” on Netflix and have since streamed four episodes. I like it so far.
It’s a question I’ve pondered for some time, and I’m inclined to answer affirmative. The subliminal cultural impact of television is too easily overlooked, although the New York Times took a politically charged look in March 26 story “For ‘24,’ Terror Fight (and Series) Nears End“. The Times’ perspective is different than one I present here, but worth noting for what’s there and what is not.
In 1978, new wave band Devo asked “Are we not men?” The name Devo comes from de-evolution, the idea that humans perhaps are going backwards, not forwards. I’ve been thinking more about this concept with respect to entertainment and marketing after watching a Fox Network TV show.
I won’t chart any new philosophical ground in this post. But, hey, it’s end of summer, online traffic lulls and I’m feeling philosophical.
Okay, I’m hooked. Few days back, I downloaded the full season of “Jericho“, the end of America saga, where terrorists nuke 23 cities, which include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Lawrence, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington, D.C. I had heard rumors about the apocalyptic drama, but I watch little network TV and no CBS programing. I think of CBS as the old folks network.
“Jericho” is unusually good TV drama, similar caliber and mystery-driven format as “Battlestar Galactica” or “Lost”. The show deserves much more viewership than in its dismal ratings.
It is nitpicking time for the bone pickers. Last night, the DVR recorded the pilot episode of “Bones,” which was telecast for no reason I can guess; it’s an old episode. I hadn’t seen the first, which shocked from the opening sequence. Anyone from Washington should know that the airport above couldn’t possibly be Dulles. The identified airport isn’t in Washington but Virginia—in, duh, Dulles—and absolutely nowhere close to the U.S. Capitol. About 30 miles distance separates runways and the domed government building.
The view above would fit for Reagan National Airport. No doubt it is that airport. So, why does “Bones” kick off with such a glaring mistake? I make a big deal out of this for two reasons: The show is all about brainiac forensic anthropologists who live and breathe minute details; the setting is Washington, D.C. For either or both reasons, “Bones” should get the airport right.
Maybe one reason we can’t elect a reasonable president is because so many people would rather vote for an American Idol. According to an Associated Press story over on CNN, Americans cast 63 million votes—”more than any president in the history of our country has received”—to pick Taylor Hicks as the new American Idol.
I chuckle at the absurdity of the show’s concept. Talent isn’t good singing. Real talent is songwriting and musical ability. Even a bad singer can have a pretty big hit with a really good song. But even the best singer will fail if the material is no good. Some American Idol failures, like, uh, William Hung, went on to success because of bad singing.