The Olympics started and I had finals. Looking at news postings was low on the totem pole. So after studying and finals I’ve been watching copious amounts of Dressage, Handball, and Judo at all hours.
The AVClub has had a series of nice write ups from the network panels at the Television Critics Association (TCA) summer tour. Of all the reports, written by Todd VanDerWerff, the FX panel stood out. FX President John Landgraf was doing the usual, until he appears to have gone on a bit of rant about how streaming sites like Hulu and Netflix report their numbers. Particularly how there is currently no ratio or transparency in their reporting compared to the Nielsen numbers. He is right there isn’t a ratio but the numbers, and their usage are different in determining advertiser value.
Add on to the fact that FX and networks like it current interest is in shoring up, not eating away at their TV numbers (no matter how negligible) makes any hope of a more digital friendly system unlikely. I’d recommend listening to latest episode (40) of the Vergecast from the crew at theverge.com. Nilay Patel explains quite well at the end why this conflict exists.
I can’t really write about the Olympics but that has been the majority of my watching. Overall the Opening Ceremony directed by Danny Boyle left me wanting. It was OK. It never left me in awe, other than in how few Doctor Who references there were. It could've used more Kenneth Branagh.
Dallas S1 Ep08 “No Good Deed”
John Ross is in jail and now the Ewing family knows just the type of villainous people J.R. and Son got in bed with in their bid for Southfork.
The shows creators really tried to step away from the enormity of having one of their characters killed and another character bing blamed for it. Largely the drama in this new series has been based around family squabbles. Seeing them sit and talk to each other albeit heatedly at times. This show seems very interested in the effect the conflict has on the souls of the Ewing family. Not in over the top soap opera theatrics like fake Martas death. Dallas really can’t afford to do those things at this point anyway.
That is an odd statement when “No Good Deed” than ends on the revelation that Rachel and Tommy really aren’t brother and sister, another soap trope I've been waiting to be revealed. This was a big letdown, blame Game of Thrones, incestuest evil couples seem to be in now a days and Dallas isn’t getting on the bandwagon.
Even if Bobby hates his brother and son for stealing Southfork from him they are family. So when Vicente's beat and threaten the Ewing family Bobby goes into full white knight mode ready to do battle with this scum and can deal with J.R. and Son later. Having a unified Ewing family might be interesting for a couple episodes before the inevitable double cross occurs.
Newsroom S1 Ep05 "Bullies"
Will can not sleep and it’s affecting his performance on the job. So he goes to see Dr.Habib, who he has been paying but not seeing for 4 years. Turns out Dr. Habib is dead and his son played by David Krumholtz has taken over. Contrived as that is this does seem like a very Will type of problem to have. What follows is another clips format but unlike the previous one,"The 112th Congress", it lacked a strong narrative drive. We are instead given a slow story about how Will hates bullies leaving us with an attempt at emotional climax but is quickly written off and not given enough time to ferment.
Going into “Bullies” it was very clear that Sorkin would be using the Fukishima Nuclear Disaster in some way. Now I’ll admit that I was kinda strung out during that incident and because of that, I don’t believe it was used correctly. It was just used to further contextualize Sloan Sabbith as the hot, smart, but inept girl which sees Olivia Munn make this :c face all the time and create dilemmas that quickly disappear.
Sabbith goes rogue, speaking japanese to a Japanese spokesperson, about the Fukishima disaster, when she believes the interpreter isn’t doing their job correctly. This escalates to the point that she brings up an off the record comment that the radiation levels will reach a 7.
Now it isn’t hard for people who haven’t taken journalism to understand that is a major ethical no no. Which it IS, this was impressed upon me for a full day in Journalism 1. Sorkin does handle the situation how it should be handled in a vacuum, having Charlie to suspend Sloan. Only the argument over it was too melodramatic, turning into two actors yelling at eachother for the sake of yelling. Which was funny to a degree. Only for it to all end with Dan telling them to calm the effe down. Than having it all fixed by a lie in order to keep Sloan around. This fix is chicken shit and providing another dilemma which Will just says “fuck it” to in the end. That was some good dramatic ground they started walking on. Which makes the drama feel, inconsequential despite its implications when things are fixed in quickly. This lie at least makes them fallable in the workplace, as opposed to perfect news reporting robots but totally fallable people out of that context.
This is to say nothing about the dumb hipster glasses Munn wore upon her face this episode. Or the idea that Maggie didn’t know what LOL meant when Jim did.
Will does more soul searching recalling an earlier interview with a staffer for Rick Santorum, in which Will becomes a bully. The thing he hates. This was a good scene and you see where it is going once Will begins to recall it. The realization that this brings when mixed with the Sloan subplot brings a natural and strong emotional answer, that would’ve been a great place to just wrap it up on.
Will can’t sleep because he became a bully and nearly got Sloan fired. A easy, earned answer to the problem. This like the wrap up to the Sloan subplot is cheapened than by a comment about Wills diet being the real culprit. Now that might be true and it did get a chuckle but that could’ve been thrown in at the very end after Dr. Habib tells Will he has some depression issues and could use a place to vent weekly.
The show did do the right thing by calling out the oddity of Will keeping an engagement ring in his locked desk drawer for no reason. It makes zero sense and just magically shows up. The time skipping aspect of the show did this no favorts since it appears that Will tells Dr. Habib of the ring before we see it and are in the end wondering "WHAAA?". Add on that Will has no real answer for it, other than he plans to return it. In the end me and my Aunt were left wondering what's the point? Other than reminding everyone Mack is the bad girl in that relationship and Will is still bitter.
The previous episode had a good mix of character drama and old new news reporting. This one, the balance wasn’t right. Causing it to fall more to the side of an episode like "I'll Try to Fix You" instead of “Amen”.
The Cheap Plugs