Showrunner Series: Ryan Murphy = Matthew Weiner (Except, you know, awful)

I received the book Prime Time, Prime Movers for Christmas and have been plowing through it over the last week or so. As these things go, reading a book about the big individual creative forces in television history has me thinking about contemporary writer/producers. Therefore, today, I debut a new occasional feature where I will discuss … Continue reading Showrunner Series: Ryan Murphy = Matthew Weiner (Except, you know, awful)

#TVFail Entry 16: Arrested Development, “For British Eyes Only”

The accused: Arrested Development, “For British Eyes Only” (Season 3, Episode 2) The crime: Losing control of the series’ successful and innovative frameworks Television’s failures are supposed to be obvious. From the overhyped non-starters that flop from the very beginning (hello, FlashForward, Lone Star) to the much-discussed clumsy conclusions of series we were convinced had it all … Continue reading #TVFail Entry 16: Arrested Development, “For British Eyes Only”

Mid-season finale review — Burn Notice, “Dead to Rights”

If you know me and you know this blog, chances are you’ve come across me discussing USA Network and its series before. At a certain point, I feel like my analysis and regularly frustrated view on how USA series like to use somewhat empty devices to keep moving the chains away from the lead characters … Continue reading Mid-season finale review — Burn Notice, “Dead to Rights”

Controlled madness: On The Vampire Diaries, Nikita and narrative pacing

This summer, I made my way through the first season of Nikita, a series I liked in the early part of last season but one I ultimately lost touch with because I was already watching 71 other things at the same time. Thursday nights are tough, you all know this. Generally speaking, I very much … Continue reading Controlled madness: On The Vampire Diaries, Nikita and narrative pacing

#TVFail Entry 5: 24, “Day 6: 9:00 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.”

The accused: 24, "Day 6: 9:00 a.m. -- 10:00 a.m." The crime: Showing us what happens when good episodes mean bad things Television’s failures are supposed to be obvious. From the overhyped non-starters that flop from the very beginning (hello, FlashForward, Lone Star) to the much-discussed clumsy conclusions of series we were convinced had it all planned … Continue reading #TVFail Entry 5: 24, “Day 6: 9:00 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.”

#TVFail Entry 3: Heroes, “How To Stop An Exploding Man”

The accused: Heroes, "How to Stop an Exploding Man" (Season 1, Episode 23) The crime: Failing to provide a satisfying conclusion to a much-hyped season of serialized drama Television’s failures are supposed to be obvious. From the overhyped non-starters that flop from the very beginning (hello, FlashForward, Lone Star) to the much-discussed clumsy conclusions of series we … Continue reading #TVFail Entry 3: Heroes, “How To Stop An Exploding Man”

#TVFail Entry 2: House, “Simple Explanation”

The accused: House, "Simple Explanation" (Season 5, Episode 20) The crime: Presenting a terribly manipulative version of the "Very Special Episode" gimmick. Television’s failures are supposed to be obvious. From the overhyped non-starters that flop from the very beginning (hello, FlashForward, Lone Star) to the much-discussed clumsy conclusions of series we were convinced had it all planned … Continue reading #TVFail Entry 2: House, “Simple Explanation”

Test Pilot: File #2, The X-Files

Test Pilot #2: The X-Files Debut Date: September 10, 1993 on FOX Series legacy: One of the best science fiction television series of all-time, a major catalyst for modern fan cultures and the primary innovator of the use of "mythology" and its balance with standalone, procedural episodes. Welcome to the newest regular feature here at TV Surveillance, … Continue reading Test Pilot: File #2, The X-Files

Summer Finale — White Collar, “Point Blank”

White Collar's second season has been fantastic from start to finish, but I found myself dreading the summer finale anyway. Why you ask? USA cliffhanger dread, of course. I've discussed ad nauseam my issues with how USA series organize their arcs and right after that post, Burn Notice turned in a mid-season finale that proved … Continue reading Summer Finale — White Collar, “Point Blank”

False stakes welcome — The pointlessness of ongoing arcs in USA series

With Burn Notice's mid-season finale coming up this week, I've been thinking about the series' approach to serialization and really how the whole batch of series across USA network approach ongoing arcs. And as evidenced by the title of this post, you can guess how I feel about it. This isn't a new complaint. Critics across … Continue reading False stakes welcome — The pointlessness of ongoing arcs in USA series

Is Supernatural’s back-to-basics plan a good idea?

Note: Again, I'm looking to do more short-form column-like pieces here on TVS. This is one of them. All Supernatural fans know this, but for those uninitiated here's a quick synopsis of the background information needed for this piece. The low-rated CW series was always on a five-year plan, according to creator/show runner Eric Kripke. With … Continue reading Is Supernatural’s back-to-basics plan a good idea?