Category Archives: Television

Orphan Black Season Five, “Beneath Her Heart”: Love-Hating Suburbia

By Everett Hamner

This is the third in a series of episode-by-episode reflections on Orphan Black season 5 (preview; episode 1; episode 2). These pieces do not provide thorough plot summaries but do include spoilers; they assume readers have already been viewers. Responses  via Twitter continue to be very welcome! Continue reading

Orphan Black Season Five, “Clutch of Greed”: Letting Go, Holding On

By Everett Hamner

This is the second in a series of episode-by-episode reflections on Orphan Black season 5 (see the preview article here and episode 1 response here). These pieces do not recap plots but do include spoilers; they assume readers have already been viewers. I will also use this chance to thank BBC America for advance access, but also to note that upon each essay’s submission, I have not watched beyond the relevant episode (surprises await all of us!). Finally, as before, please don’t hesitate to extend the conversation in the comments or via Twitter. Continue reading

Orphan Black Season Five, “The Few Who Dare”: Penetration, Selection, Sacrifice, Monsters

By Everett Hamner

As promised in my earlier LARB article, this is the first in a series of episode-by-episode reflections on Orphan Black season five. These will not recap plots, nor will they rely on theoretical jargon or track how many times Alison calls people “fudgy fudgers.” There will be regular spoilers, and there will often be references to moments in earlier seasons. With that said, enjoy — and please don’t hesitate to extend the conversation. Continue reading

The Upside Down World: Shadows of Cold War Ghosts in Stranger Things

By Ting Guo

With Stranger Things, Netflix produced an original science fiction drama that went viral. But for me, it is also offered up a political drama that illuminated elements of our persistently divided world — and how we might save ourselves from it. Here, in what is admittedly more a series of fragmented reflections than a full account of the series and all of the ways it can be linked to the Cold War and its aftermath, are my thoughts, while watching it in Indiana, reflecting on the present moment and on how different my 1980s was from that shown in the movie and that remembered by American viewers of the same show. Continue reading

Alec Baldwin, James Baldwin, and Apocalyptic Exceptionalism

By Matt Seybold

Ratings for Saturday Night Live steadily declined for four consecutive seasons, starting in 2011, as Lorne Michaels struggled uncharacteristically to cultivate a new crop of stars. In the fall of 2015, the overhauled cast began to rally around Kate McKinnon, particularly her portrayal of Hillary Clinton. SNL’s current season is on pace to be its highest-rated since, perhaps not coincidentally, the election of Barack Obama. Among the most viral videos the revitalized show has generated is “Hillary Actually,” which aired during the final episode of 2016. Parodying a famous scene from the romantic comedy Love Actually, the sketch features McKinnon, as Clinton, using cue cards to coyly communicate with members of the Electoral College. McKinnon ventriloquizes efforts to persuade electors to abandon President-Elect Trump and, as one of the cards reads, “just vote for literally anyone else.” One could interpret the scene as mocking increasingly desperate and delusional public figures who couldn’t seem to come to terms with the reality of Trump’s impending presidency. But it isn’t satire exactly. The cue cards, though witty, actually make a cogent and compelling argument for faithless electors, complete with bullet points like “2. He’s already provoked the Chinese,” “6. He knew Russia was involved in hacking the election,” “11. His Vice President believes in conversion therapy,” “12. More than a dozen women have accused him of sexual assault,” and “15. He doesn’t know how the government works.” Continue reading

VICELAND’s Desus & Mero: Late-Night Television With a Laugh (And Plenty of Thought)

By Thomas Klepacz

On the Wednesday, November 30th episode of VICELAND’s new daily program Desus & Mero, the show’s two hosts — Daniel Baker and Joel Martinez (or as Twitter and the world knows them, “Desus Nice” and “The Kid Mero”) — discuss the Charlotte Police Department’s withholding of charges against the officer who shot and killed Keith Scott, a 43-year-old man of color with a history of TBI (traumatic brain injury). As follows: Continue reading