(This article will contain spoilers for the series Game of Thrones, and may discuss elements of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series as well. If you are not caught up, I would not recommend reading further)
Last week, Hannibal producer Martha De Laurentis lamented in a blog post about how piracy led to her show’s cancellation. In her write-up, she specifically remarks on how “nearly one-third of the audience for ‘Hannibal’ is coming from pirated sites – despite the fact that a legitimate download for each episode was available the following day.” Reading the statement at face value, this appears to be a major issue that needs fixing. It seems absurd that the 5th most pirated show on the internet would receive ratings so low that it warrants cancellation.
And before I begin debunking this argument, let’s be clear: piracy DOES often affect a film or television show’s bottom line. Given that the arts are still usually funded by corporations and studios which create entertainment to turn a profit, we need to be aware that we’re essentially voting for our favorite media with our wallets. If you love something and you’re downloading it with no intention of ever paying for a legitimate version, then you are working against your best interest.
Now that 2015 is coming to an end, we can look back on a year of great programming and begin to put it all into perspective! 2015 was a remarkable year not only for the quality of a few stand-out shows, but for the sheer breadth of great television. Unlike the aughts, in which one or two shows tended to dominate the discussion, there are simply too many great shows to simply pick a winner or two.
So instead of choosing the absolute best shows on TV, I’ve split things up into “Network” and “Cable/Streaming” sections and added more categories. In addition to the mandatory comedy/drama, I’m also naming a best animated series, action series, and sci-fi/fantasy series. Finally, while I won’t be rewarding any specific performances or writers/directors, I will be giving a few nods to noteworthy individual episodes.
(This post will contain major spoilers for the current season of The Walking Dead. I would recommend against reading it until you have watched S6 E7, “Heads Up”)
Just this week, the whole “Glenn is dead” charade finally came to a close with a cold open featuring Glenn’s dumpster escape from a whole herd of zombies. If you’re just looking at the numbers, the twist was enormously effective: ratings went up as people tuned in week after week to see if Glenn had survived, and the internet was dominated with articles on Glenn’s fate.
However, you’re not going to find many people who were happy with the way the show handled things. Lots of fans felt pissed off and jerked around by the move, and this sentiment can taint the way people feel about the whole half-season. But why did this twist upset people so much when surprise is so often effective in narrative? I’ve outlined five major reasons below. Continue reading The Glenn Problem: Why The Walking Dead’s Fakeout Was Doomed To Failure
Do you remember when everybody was waiting with baited breath for the second season of True Detective? You should: it wasn’t long ago, and the internet was overflowing with casting rumors and #truedetectiveseason2 hashtags. The first season, featuring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, was so engaging and featured such excellent performances that it was difficult to imagine how a follow-up season, utilizing a completely different cast, story, and location, could live up.
The answer was pretty simple: it couldn’t. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The cast of the second season, which featured Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch, really poured their heart and souls into their performances. It is clear watching that they all realized both the burden they were taking on and the opportunity that they had been given. On projects like this, actors really have to give in and trust their writer and director completely, even when they can’t personally envision how the end product will work.