Category: Reviews
What I Wrote: Harlots, Handmaids, Radium, and Dancing
There’s something to be said for Peak TV. Sure, my TV backlog is getting embarrassing and I keep maxing out the number of hours on my recorder and having to watch very strange collections of old episodes in a row trying to juggle the tone shifts in seven shows at once, but man, I’ve been watching some good TV. (I’m also watching Reign.) Here’s where I’ve been recently, and what I’ve been writing about.   First up: THE HANDMAID’S TALE. It’s clearly a show that was expecting to be a… Read more »
What I Wrote: The Fiscal-Quarter Edition
As always, these posts begin with a note that I am much better about updating my Twitter about current events than I am about updating this blog with them. Some of that is my fault; some of that is because sometimes you read an announcement about a modern-day King Arthur procedural or an article about how to bother a woman wearing headphones and you just have to say something immediately. However, sometimes you just want a nice linkspam that you can use with a header image where you spend way… Read more »
A Few Hours in a Far-Off Age, and Other Books
Sometimes, you read a book and it leaves you with a giant list of other books you have to tackle. Recently, for NPR, I’ve reviewed a string of great books. The Story of Hong Gildong (in a welcome translation), The Other Slavery (a grueling account of enslavement beyond Africa, in particular Native Americans – avoid the comments), Possession (half a dissertation on art collection as political identity, half tattling on Popes, all amazing). The one that gave me the longest reading list was Blockbuster! It’s a literary biography about the… Read more »
Penny Dreadful, and a Blade of Grass
Penny Dreadful, that glorious bastion of subtext-made-text, ended this past weekend, bringing a three-season fascination with Vanessa Ives to a close. The series finale was…a disappointment. I wrote about the problems with this arc in a piece at Salon, so we don’t need to rehash all of it here, but I do want to dig into a few specifics. We’ll start with this picture of The Big Moment, because it gets to the heart of my ambivalence. Is that a stunning, Gothic moment? Hell yes it is, look at that… Read more »
Nonfiction Catch-up Post: One Wedding and Nine Funerals
There has never been a fictional wedding/funeral ratio more to my tastes, has there? The wedding happened on BATES MOTEL, which I covered for AV Club; you could not have picked a better week for me to drop in on a show than the week two characters with a deeply repressed slow burn have to marry each other for plot reasons and then trip over their feelings for the next forty minutes. Naturally, I talked about tragedy the entire time. One of the great hooks of tragedy is watching people… Read more »
A Belated Nonfiction Catch-up Post
How belated? Well, I hope you’re following me on Twitter if you want news, that’s all I can say for myself; the first thing on this list is from January 5. (I tried to alert everyone to the live-action drinking game that is the Shannara Chronicles.) I’ve been keeping more regular tabs on Reign, which has vacillated wildly between being sort of dreadful and being camp glory, with no real internal logic as to how any given episode reaches either one of those goalposts. (Example: Did it actually kill Francis?… Read more »

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