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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Entries in TV (347)

Tuesday
Aug112015

On "Mr Robot" and "Humans"

Welcome readers to a new series, currently without a name (help?), in which various members of Team Experience will be discussing a television show or shows each Tuesday. It's our way of expanding our horizons a bit but without drowning the site in TV or limiting us to only one show as has previously been our habit with "Mad Men" or "American Horror Story". To begin, please glance furtively around, turn up your paranoia sensors, and slip into something uncomfortable with us as Lynn and Nathaniel discuss the somewhat menacing pair of "Mr Robot" (USA) and "Humans" (AMC). 

NATHANIEL R: Hi Lynn. If you want to know why I'm pairing these two shows it's because I fear we've reached the tipping point of contemporary film and television's obsession with autism or any one on the spectrum thereof (i.e. everyone in our age of staring at our phones instead of each other). Lately I've been thinking a lot about E.M. Forster's Howards End and its edict "only connect"  It seems so transgressive now, to demand as much. 

This preference for disconnection paired with the still raging epidemic of antiheroes has made the television landscape rather chilly. The danger is that everything starts feeling the same or at least like variations on the same. How radical would a really warm and friendly prestige cable series feel now?  I bring this up mainly because, though, "Mr Robot" is confidently acted/written/directed and does feel like its own show... I couldn't stop thinking of "CSI: Cyber"(my deepest apologies) as its sort of brain-damaged country bumpkin cousin because of the cyber crimes that feel like sci-fi and "Dexter" as its more sociopathic father because of the confessional 'i am deeply crazy but I'll attempt to explain myself' narration. 

Mostly I bring up "only connect" because I find both shows almost painful to watch; everyone needs a hug. Do you want to hug them?  [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug112015

Cast This: Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe in "Just Kids"

Surprising news broke today that John Logan (Penny Dreadful) has successfully won a behind the scenes battle to adapt the best-selling memoir "Just Kids" as a limited series for Showtime. Why is the news surprising? Well, right here at The Film Experience, as you may recall, Patti Smith was horrified by the idea of this happening in our 2014 interview.

Our exchange went like this...

She appears to have had quite a change of heart as she was emphatic on this point when we spoke and she is still very much among the living!

So since she's changed her mind, it's time for CAST THIS!
Who should play these two iconic American artists in their twenty-something years for the miniseries? You'll need actors who can play raw emotion, uninhibited sexuality and bohemian charisma (For extra credit you can also cast playwright/actor/ex-partner of Jessica Lange Sam Shepard since he was also Patti's lover in the early 1970s and Sam Wagstaff who became Robert's older lover around the same time and his devoted mentor/patron/lover until his death.)

Both Smith and Mapplethorpe were poor 21 year-old transplants to NYC in 1967 (they were the exact same age) and lived together as roommates and lovers and later, he was homosexual after all, as devoted friends until 1974. Their fates were tied together and they both became famous, she as a musician with the release of her debut album "Horses" in 1975. His fame built more gradually as the fame of photographers and artists, tends to. 

Photos from the early 70s after the jump... (NSFW)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug102015

TCA Awards and "The Fosters"

Here's a little 'In Your Face, Emmys!' news. The Television Critics Association has handed out its awards and all three of its big winners (Empire, The Americans, and Inside Amy Schumer) are NOT actually nominated for the Emmy top categories of Best Drama and Best Comedy. (To be fair, Inside Amy Schumer is not eligible for the Comedy category at the Emmys because it competes in variety series. But still...)

  • Program of the YearEmpire (Fox)
  • DramaThe Americans (FX)
  • ComedyInside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
  • New ProgramBetter Call Saul (AMC)
  • Individual Achievement in Drama: Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)
  • Individual Achievement in Comedy: Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
  • News and InformationLast Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
  • Reality ProgrammingThe Chair (Starz)
  • Youth ProgrammingThe Fosters (ABC Family)
  • Movies, Miniseries and SpecialsThe Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst (HBO)
  • Career Achievement Award: James L. Brooks
  • Heritage AwardLate Show/Late Night With David Letterman (CBS)
  •  

    It's also worth noting that only one of its winners also won the same category last year (The Fosters for "Youth Programming"). Let that be another reminder that Emmy needs a quality control Executive Committee type panel since their top categories are usually unmoveable from year to year as if nothing ever changes on TV when we all know it is quite an evolving artform. 

    This news provides the perfect opportunity to talk about The Fosters. Do any of you watch it? It's my guilty pleasure. I say "guilty" because even though I admire much of it, enough of it embarrasses me to feel guilt. At heart it's a weirdly overemphatic treacly progressive lesbian utopia series painted with way too broad strokes but it's also damn addictive and a super warm family drama with moments of incredible charm, organic humor, and even insight. It works.

    Everyone says this is the golden age of television but I personally think the opinion is overstated. Certainly it's the golden age of premiere channel television but one genre of TV that I think is still leagues behind 1990s television is the regular people/family drama genre. Certainly none of them approach the amazing quality of 1990s shows like My So Called Life or Once & Again. And that's largely because today's family dramas are really obsessed with DRAMA in all caps -- is it the desperation from knowing their are 500+ more channels you could flip to? --  and feel the need to have every character have some major life crises or decision in each 45 minute episode. I call this The Brothers & Sisters Efect. That show became more and more unwatchable each season despite so many winning elements. It wasn't content to dramatize the fascinating details of basic human interaction and family role dynamics. Instead, it always had to be Life or Death in each episode. The Fosters has the same exact problem. You'll be really into some simple conflict that is beautifully truthful and then they'll gild the lily by constantly returning to deeply aggravating storylines (the less said about the incest storyline the better but the writer's room relies on it so much over two seasons now that you'd think they think it's the best thing they've ever come up with when it's actually the worst) or throwing up some ridiculous gotcha! "danger" like shootings or car accidents. 

    Saturday
    Aug082015

    08/08 Sense 8 08:08

    Happy birthday to the Sensates. Netflix renewed Sense8 for a second season today (the actors seem very happy). To celebrate let's all masturbate simultaneously all over the world at 8:08 PM tonight. 

    [If you missed our coverage, Nathaniel talked about the NSFW radical sexuality and Tim reviewed the whole season.]

    Monday
    Aug032015

    TV at the Movies: "Gilmore Girls"

    NEW SERIES! Since our eyes always flash and a smile spreads when a movie is referenced on a tv show we're watching, we've decided to make it a habit to share these cross-platform romances with you. Whenever we see one worth discussing, we'll share it. Here's Manuel on "Gilmore Girls."

    There’s an entire series to be written about every single pop culture reference made in Amy Sherman-Palladino’s beloved mother/daughter TV show. It wouldn’t surprise me if there weren’t an entire Tumblr account devoted to it (there is!) and while I’ve been enjoying its availability on Netflix (I’m currently on a much needed rewatch), the recent news about its acquisition by UPtv had me thinking it’d make a great entry into TFE’s newest series.

    As luck would have it, I didn’t even have to look hard to find a specific moment to talk about. Here are our pop culture junkies at the start of "A Deep Fried Thanksgiving" (S3:E9):

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Jul282015

    TV @ the Movies: "The Americans"

    NEW SERIES! Since our eyes always flash and a smile spreads when a movie is referenced on a tv show we're watching, we've decided to make it a habit to share these cross-platform romances with you. Whenever we see one worth discussing, we'll share it. To kick things off, here's Andrew binge-watching The Americans...

    The Americans follows the machinations of two KGB spies living in the US posing as Americans in the early 1980s during The Cold War. Like Mad Men (the genesis of The Film Experience’s TV at the Movies love affair), the show does some impressive things when playing with the period, while never going overboard. Key cultural references from television to film to music (a significant scene was set to Yaz’s “Only You”. Remember Yaz?)

    This movie moment from “Stingers” (S3E10, a series best from the show) is too good to pass up...

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Jul222015

    HBO’s LGBT History: Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

    Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions...

    Last week we talked about Cheryl Dunye’s Stranger Inside, a female prison drama that makes that Netflix series feel like a light-hearted romp. I highly recommend it; though, as with many of the films we’ve been looking at these past few weeks, it is not readily available for streaming (it is available on YouTube). This week, we pause on one of HBO’s greatest shows, Six Feet Under, which features one of the most fully realized gay male characters ever seen on television, David Fisher, played by Michael C. Hall.

    Premiering as it did after The Sopranos and proving HBO’s swaggering arrival into prestige TV was no fluke, Alan Ball’s melancholy meditation on death, mental illness, and sexuality, nevertheless always felt, as David Fisher himself, like the dutiful, kinda gay, and oft-ignored middle child in HBO’s eyes; Six Feet Under thus lived (and died) in the shadow of its more popular and charismatic older brother.

    That’s not a knock on David Chase’s drama but a reminder that Tony Soprano’s show was a gargantuan hit that’s since become the poster child for "HBO drama," if not for the entire “Golden Age of Television” writ-large. It both paved the way and reaped the benefits of the daring work showrunners like Tom Fontana (Oz), David Simon (The Wire), Daniel Knauf (Carnivale), Steven Soderbergh (K Street), and, of course, Ball himself, were producing during the early 2000s.

    Ball’s series feels like an outlier among those early HBO dramas; Six Feet Under, more expertly than Ball’s Oscar-winning film, American Beauty and with more nuance than his later vampiric sudfest, True Blood, thrives on that much maligned genre which earns immediate scorn, melodrama. Indeed, with its focus on grief and mourning, the show constantly wears its teary-eyed heart on its sleeve, shamelessly tugging at its audience’s heartstrings. [More...

    Click to read more ...