May 12, 2014
Mad Men Reveals Its Real Madman

Dissecting “The Runaways,” the fifth episode of the seventh season.
Read more. [Image: AMC]

Mad Men Reveals Its Real Madman

Dissecting “The Runaways,” the fifth episode of the seventh season.

Read more. [Image: AMC]

May 12, 2014
Is Game of Thrones Just Killing Time?

Our roundtable on “The Laws of God and Men,” the sixth episode of the HBO show’s fourth season.
Read more. [Image: HBO]

Is Game of Thrones Just Killing Time?

Our roundtable on “The Laws of God and Men,” the sixth episode of the HBO show’s fourth season.

Read more. [Image: HBO]

May 8, 2014
Why Nobody Writes About Popular TV Shows

On TV, the concept of “popularity” is easy to measure and hard to understand.
In music, the most popular songs are inescapable, and their artists become national celebrities. In movies, the most popular films are feted in the Monday papers and widely acknowledged, even if they only compete for the special-effects awards in March. But on television, the world of criticism and the world of viewership aren’t merely askew; they’re mostly on different planets. No self-respecting TV critic writes about NCIS: Los Angeles, ever—ever—even though the all-time most-popular episode of Game of Thrones (which is, itself, the all-time most-popular HBO show) got fewer viewers than an NCIS: LA rerun. As I wrote a few months ago, the most essayed-about show (Girls), most tweeted-about show (Pretty Little Liars), and most buzzed-about show (at the time: House of Cards) sum to half the average audience of NCIS (which is hardly essayed, tweeted, or buzzed about at all).
More than other entertainment industries, TV seems to play by the rules of a peculiar Faustian bargain: Be popular and scarcely acknowledged; or be praised and scarcely watched.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Why Nobody Writes About Popular TV Shows

On TV, the concept of “popularity” is easy to measure and hard to understand.

In music, the most popular songs are inescapable, and their artists become national celebrities. In movies, the most popular films are feted in the Monday papers and widely acknowledged, even if they only compete for the special-effects awards in March. But on television, the world of criticism and the world of viewership aren’t merely askew; they’re mostly on different planets. No self-respecting TV critic writes about NCIS: Los Angeles, ever—ever—even though the all-time most-popular episode of Game of Thrones (which is, itself, the all-time most-popular HBO show) got fewer viewers than an NCIS: LA rerun. As I wrote a few months ago, the most essayed-about show (Girls), most tweeted-about show (Pretty Little Liars), and most buzzed-about show (at the time: House of Cards) sum to half the average audience of NCIS (which is hardly essayed, tweeted, or buzzed about at all).

More than other entertainment industries, TV seems to play by the rules of a peculiar Faustian bargain: Be popular and scarcely acknowledged; or be praised and scarcely watched.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

May 8, 2014
Dead Bats and Defective Plans: A Quick The Americans Fact Check

May 5, 2014
Mad Men Enters the Future—and Maybe the Peggy Olson Era

Dissecting “The Monolith,” the fourth episode of the seventh season
Read more. [Image: AMC]

Mad Men Enters the Future—and Maybe the Peggy Olson Era

Dissecting “The Monolith,” the fourth episode of the seventh season

Read more. [Image: AMC]

May 5, 2014
Just How Game Changing Was That Revelation on Game of Thrones?

Our roundtable on “First of His Name,” the fifth episode of the HBO show’s fourth season.
Read more. [Image: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO]

Just How Game Changing Was That Revelation on Game of Thrones?

Our roundtable on “First of His Name,” the fifth episode of the HBO show’s fourth season.

Read more. [Image: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO]

May 2, 2014
Game of Thrones - Sex and Violence = ‘European Castle Documentary’

This week, China Central Television (CCTV) made an uncharacteristically bold move: It aired the first season pilot of Game of Thrones, the popular HBO fantasy drama renowned for gruesome violence and graphic sex scenes. The move is likely part of a broader plan to help boost the audience for the country’s state-run traditional television stations, whose notoriously dull, heavily regulated programming has lost viewers to video streaming sites.

Yet CCTV evidently had to hew to rules on “public morality” that the Community Party endorses; the pilot episode of the first season, “Winter is Coming” is about 11 minutes shorter than HBO’s and is dubbed in Mandarin.
If the internet response to CCTV’s tidied-up Game of Thrones is anything to go by, viewers are way too used to watching both pirated and licensed versions of foreign shows to swallow Communist Party-approved drama.
Read more. [Image: HBO]

Game of Thrones - Sex and Violence = ‘European Castle Documentary’

This week, China Central Television (CCTV) made an uncharacteristically bold move: It aired the first season pilot of Game of Thrones, the popular HBO fantasy drama renowned for gruesome violence and graphic sex scenes. The move is likely part of a broader plan to help boost the audience for the country’s state-run traditional television stations, whose notoriously dull, heavily regulated programming has lost viewers to video streaming sites.

Yet CCTV evidently had to hew to rules on “public morality” that the Community Party endorses; the pilot episode of the first season, “Winter is Coming” is about 11 minutes shorter than HBO’s and is dubbed in Mandarin.

If the internet response to CCTV’s tidied-up Game of Thrones is anything to go by, viewers are way too used to watching both pirated and licensed versions of foreign shows to swallow Communist Party-approved drama.

Read more. [Image: HBO]

April 28, 2014
Playing House: Finally, a TV Show That Gets Female Friendships Right

USA’s new sitcom understands that many women’s most important relationships are platonic.
Read more. [Image: USA Networks]

Playing House: Finally, a TV Show That Gets Female Friendships Right

USA’s new sitcom understands that many women’s most important relationships are platonic.

Read more. [Image: USA Networks]

April 28, 2014
Man Men: Is Don’s Marriage Over? Is His Career?

Dissecting “Field Trip,” the third episode of the seventh season
Read more. [Image: AMC]

Man Men: Is Don’s Marriage Over? Is His Career?

Dissecting “Field Trip,” the third episode of the seventh season

Read more. [Image: AMC]

April 28, 2014
Game of Thrones Goes Off Script—for Better or for Worse?

Our roundtable on “Oathkeeper,” the fourth episode of the fourth season of the HBO show.
Read more. [Image: HBO]

Game of Thrones Goes Off Script—for Better or for Worse?

Our roundtable on “Oathkeeper,” the fourth episode of the fourth season of the HBO show.

Read more. [Image: HBO]

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