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Spoiler Alert Thursday

I thought today was Wednesday. Turns out today is Thursday.

  • “Game of Thrones.” The episode tended toward an info-dump and setting up, presumably, the remainder of the season through the introduction of the key characters in King’s Landing and revealing how exposed the kingdom is in the north to invasion from the wildings and, subsequently, the Others. Can Mayor/Councillor Carcetti be anything but a really, really depraved, greasy creep? I fear that Ned and Robert are not long for this world–the Lannisters cannot be trusted. Tyrion remains the most compelling character; I suppose we have no option but to like Arya; and Jon Snow has improved since getting to the Wall. My reading of the novel stalled significantly this week on account of going to bed at midnight and getting up at six to get in to campus. I’ve finally made it to the end of the first episode: they left out of a lot of important information.
  • “The Killing.” I wish I could say that it was absolutely thrilling, but I cannot. I am coming to the conclusion that AMC is, by far, the most overhyped network of all time: “The Walking Dead” was, on average, disappointing and so too is “The Killing.” In terms of subject matter, I’m likely never going to watch a single minute of “Mad Men,” so we can set that one aside, but I like (intellectually, at least) the idea of Malcolm’s dad selling meth. My fear is that the show is as overhyped as the rest of the AMC catalogue.
  • “Fringe.” With the machine apparently having sent Peter into the future in the alternate universe, I can only come to the conclusion that the show should have been cancelled because it has clearly “jumped the shark.” In fact, I think the show jumped two sharks this week with Olivia being the other “key” to the machine. There was, however, an okay post on Astrid/Astro/Ostrich/Asterisk on Racialicious the other day.

Unrelated. I’m teaching a intensive “mini-course” for (what are supposed to be) promising high school students this week. My course is, more or less, on violence and we are using movies and television shows (“District 9,” “Terminator: Salvation,” “Generation Kill,” and “Zombieland”—we were going to do “Twilight,” but they insisted on two days of zombies) to start up our discussions. In “Terminator: Salvation,” Common–who for whatever reason desperately wants to be an actor–played “the black guy.” Fortunately, he had very few lines. For instance, “It worked, man, the signal worked. It’s beautiful!” Honestly, why didn’t the writers have him say “dog” or “homes” to John Connor instead of “man”? (And can Christian Bale play a character where he isn’t yelling all the time? Yelling isn’t acting.) I had forgotten he was in that movie. Coincidentally, I had listened to some of his music on the way in this week. Normally, his lyrics aren’t terrible (“The Light” is a still a classic, right?), but this one stuck out: “like “The Breakup” with Jen and Vince Vaughan.” Really? I can’t decide if recent Common just fucking sucks or if he always sucked and no one noticed it. I feel Adam should weigh in on this issue, being the local authority on all things Chicago.

May 5, 2011 - Posted by | Chicago, Spoiler Alert Thursdays


  1. I’m so glad that, in passing, I came across your passing dismissal of “The Walking Dead” – it was terribly disappointing and underwhelming. You may never watch “Mad Men” – but it’s phenomenal.

    Comment by sw | May 5, 2011

  2. AMC has two very good shows – “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” – but as these are the two shows you aren’t watching it would certainly feel like the network is overhyped. Just like HBO would feel overhyped if you never watched “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood” or “The Wire.”

    Comment by Tom | May 5, 2011

  3. i can absolutely confirm that Common only recently began to fucking suck. much of his terrible music came after his recent mainstream ‘re-birth’ which started with his first Kanye West produced album. If you listen back to records like Resurrection and Like Water for Chocolate they are still top notch. I’m just glad the guy still has a career, seeing as while he was making good music he was barely selling records, but when he started putting out shit he started making millions.

    Comment by michael o'neill | May 5, 2011

  4. No idea about Common’s level of suckitude.

    Wow, did this season of Justified ever end strong. I’m very impressed with how they brought everything together and created genuine suspense.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | May 6, 2011

  5. AMC has two very good shows – “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” – but as these are the two shows you aren’t watching it would certainly feel like the network is overhyped. Just like HBO would feel overhyped if you never watched “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood” or “The Wire.”

    Comment by bestmishu | May 6, 2011

  6. Craig, Given that The Wire is the only “high-quality cable drama” you’ve claimed to like, I think the odds are pretty good that you’d also like Breaking Bad.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | May 7, 2011

  7. AMC, at least in its advertising, includes “The Killing” and “The Walking Dead” in the same category as “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” Perhaps the latter two are significantly better than the former two, but, still: (1) Malcolm’s dad!? and (2) cigarettes, sexism and suits?! (And, after seeing him on SNL, I’d really like to punch John Hamm in the face for being a crime against humanity.)

    Adam’s point about “Breaking Bad” vis a vis “The Wire” seems reasonable, but it raises an interesting question: how much quality does a show need to be considered “high quality”? Does mere production on a premium cable channel constitute quality? Would that mean networks cannot, by definition, produce quality? Do we limit the cable category to HBO and AMC? What about Showtime, Starz and, possibly, in Canada TMN/MovieTime co-productions and the BBC?

    To throw some names out there: is “Dexter” high quality? is “Game of Thrones”? Is “True Blood”? The two Spartacus series?

    And, for the record, “Generation Kill” was a more perfect show than “The Wire.”

    (bestmishu’s comment is identical to Tom’s comment. I suspect it is a new form of comment spam: copy the content of a previous comment and attach a link to it.)

    Comment by Craig McFarlane | May 7, 2011

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