By this Author
‘The Leftovers’ on HBO
Let the mystery be
The change of scene in season two of The Leftovers jolted the show from a meditation on grief into a crisis of conscience — and gave me hope that it won’t spiral into the incoherent plotting of creator Damon Lindelof’s previous show, Lost.
Bryan Fuller's 'Hannibal' (second review)
Sympathy for the devil
Hannibal is a retelling of Goethe’s Faust in which FBI profiler Will Graham/Faust and Dr. Hannibal Lecter/Mephistopheles fall in love.
The failure of 'True Detective'’s second season
The show we deserve?
The tagline for the second season of True Detective was “We get the world we deserve.” I’m not sure what I did to deserve this mess of a season, but whatever it was, I’m sorry.
Netflix’s ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ Season 3 (second review)
Faith and friendship
Much of the comedy in this season of Orange Is the New Black comes from mixing up the characters. New, unusual friendships make excellent use of the deep bench of supporting characters, many of whom are outcasts or invisible, or have lost their identity to groupthink.
The end of 'Mad Men'
The cynical redemption of Don Draper
If the purpose of the retreat is to figure out who you really are, how you feel about that, and how to recognize love, then isn’t it an act of radical honesty and self-acceptance for Don to embrace himself as a person who works best when he spins his dreams into brilliant ad copy?
The integrity of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian
In defense of Kimye
Enough with bashing Kanye West and Kim Kardashian — they're living the American dream.
The case against Oscar-bait biographies
My beef with biopics goes way back to when I was 11 and Gandhi beat E.T. for Best Picture.
Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ (second review)
The inexplicable canonization of Boyhood
Linklater’s concept was ambitious, and I understand the urge to heap accolades on his inventiveness. I wish more established Hollywood filmmakers took such creative risks. But that alone was not enough to lift Boyhood up from an interesting experiment into a life-changing cinematic experience.
'The Missing' and 'The Affair'
The child is gone
Only two serial programs in 2014 really made an impression on me: The Missing and The Affair. And unfortunately for my joie de vivre, both were about how the tragic loss of a child destroys the lives of his parents.
Reconsidering the Neanderthals
I’m a Neanderthal, you’re a Neanderthal
We’re the Borg of the primate world. We assimilate, not just knowledge, but whole societies — like that of the Neanderthals.
Haunted house movies
Haunted house, haunted family
Haunted house movies rely on tired old tropes because all the movies explore the same theme: a dysfunctional family and how its secrets tear it apart.