Why they cancelled “Longmire”

One of my favorite TV shows has been Longmire, an extremely well-done mystery series centering around a modern-day sheriff on the high plains of Wyoming.  It’s critically-acclaimed and one of the A&E Networks’ top-rated shows.  So the network is cancelling it.  The reason why–even though it is said that we are in a new “Golden Age” of TV drama–tells us much about network TV.  And why TV funded by subscription rather than advertising, such as Netflix and HBO, is coming into its own. [Read more...]

The next step in internet TV

As a follow-up to our ZeroTV discussion, I present to your information about Aereo, a website that will stream live television broadcasts that it picks up over the free airwaves.  Broadcasters and Cable moguls alike are trying to stop this venture in the courts, but so far to no avail.

I have questions for both sides of the controversy:  (1) How are broadcasters harmed if a website shows their over-the-air programming as opposed to that programming being shown on a television set? (2)  What is the advantage of watching live broadcasts on a computer screen as opposed to watching it over a television screen?  (3) Television stations are howling that their content is being “stolen.”  But how can it be stolen if the stations are giving it away for free? (4)  Why would viewers pay $10 per month for Aereo when they can get the same programming on a bigger screen for free?  [Read more...]

Zero TVers

The television industry is worried about a growing new category called “Zero TVers.”  Not to be confused with people who don’t watch TV at all, these viewers will watch programming.  But not what’s broadcast or cabled onto a TV set.  They watch on their computers or, instead of on huge HDTV screens, on their cellphones.  Or they might have an HDTV monitor, but are content to watch old programming they rent via Netflix.  Does this describe you? [Read more...]

The Bible TV show

The Bible on the History Channel is a smash hit, even though most critics hate it.  The mini-series reportedly takes a reverent stance towards its source material.  I have not seen it.  Have you?  How is it?  (After the jump, a critic of the Hollywood scene discusses the show.) [Read more...]

Lance Armstrong in Oprah’s confessional

We Lutherans believe in confession and absolution.  That happens in every Divine Service, and, when someone is particularly troubled with a sin, the individual confesses to a pastor, who brings Christ’s forgiveness.  This is an evangelical version of what Roman Catholics do (instead of requiring acts of penance, our pastors forgive sins in terms of the Gospel).  (See John 20:21-23.)  Anglicans and Orthodox also have something similar.

In our culture, though, Oprah Winfrey is our priest, or rather priestess.  She is the one who took charge of all of our religions to organize our national worship service in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. She has her index of books that we are to read. She teaches us our morality. And now she serves as confessor for one of our heroes who has fallen from grace, with champion cyclist Lance Armstrong confessing his sin of doping on her show. [Read more...]

How to tell “who done it” in a TV mystery

My wife and I have been watching an array of television mysteries.  As I have noted, one way to determine who the murderer is in any contemporary American television drama is to notice which character is the most religious.  He or she will almost invariably be the killer.

Since religion is often not evident at all in the TV universe, this rule will not be applicable to every episode.  But we have devised another rule:  If a guest star from any of the old Star Trek series appears in the episode, he or she will be the killer.

Spoiler alert:  In a recent Criminal Minds marathon that my wife and I indulged in last weekend (don’t ask why), three successive episodes featured the actors who played Wesley Crusher, Neelix, and Odo, all of whom provided evidence for our hypothesis.


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