Final seasons a unique challenge for TV shows

Last week Sons of Anarchy and Boardwalk Empire premiered the first episodes of their final seasons. Because television is an extremely competitive business, shows rarely get to finish their stories on their own terms like this. Ratings dip or fail to get off the ground in the first place, actors decide they want to leave […]

Weekend releases shouldn’t topple reign of ‘300’

A lack of major nationwide releases should make for a slow weekend at the box office, with just two major players heading off for the top spot. Between Need for Speed, the action-thriller adapted from the video game franchise, and Tyler Perry’s Single Moms Club, expect a slow weekend at the box office. It seems […]

Binge watching gives users control

Two weekends ago, I was stranded in my bed. And with the exception of the occasional jolting cough, I couldn’t really move. Stuck there, after coming down with a nasty cold, I did something I’d never done before. I binged on TV. Since Breaking Bad ended a few months ago, I’ve gone cold turkey with […]

Big budget films rely on visuals

Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, came to visit USC on Tuesday for the “Writing Presents…” series. Amid amusing anecdotes about actor Aaron Paul (who plays Jesse Pinkman on the show) and pink teddy bears (it’s a long story), he made a point to discuss the change in the movie industry. Gilligan argued what […]

64th Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

Though the Oscars have always been the most buzzed-about event of awards season — and likely will be for the foreseeable future — they might no longer be the most important. Long thought to be out of touch and subject to the whims of Academy politics, the ceremony’s self-righteous sanctimony and lack of any real […]

Film and TV should be treated separately

With the 64th annual primetime Emmys hitting the small screen this Sunday, it seems as though all anyone can talk about these days is television: Will three-time winner Bryan Cranston claim a fourth Emmy for his flawless performance as Walter White in Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad? Will freshman series Homeland take down the reigning champion, […]

Popular TV shows rely on moral ambiguity

If there’s an unspoken rule in this golden age of television, it’s that the truly great shows embrace moral ambiguity. The Sopranos kicked things off with a sympathetic portrayal of mafia life and paved the way for mature, serialized storytelling like nothing the small screen had ever witnessed. From the cops and dealers of The […]

Television explores economic identities

Any talk relating to the politics of representation in the media generally focuses on a handful of characteristics that a person would have from birth. Race and sexual orientation in particular are the cause of the lion’s share of hand-wringing over representational issues: Are minorities underrepresented in How I Met Your Mother, for instance, or […]