Archive | TV Matters

5 Reasons Why TV Is Better for Women

All told, 2014 was not a bad year for women in film, a fact that’s sure to be reflected in upcoming awards nominations.

Reese Witherspoon and Mia Wasikowska blew us away in the travelogues “Wild” and “Tracks,” respectively. Patricia Arquette broke our hearts as the single mother in “Boyhood.” Julianne Moore channeled an Alzheimer’s-stricken professor in the haunting “Still Alice.” Tilda Swinton ruled the school in four films, as did Jessica Chastain. Ava DuVernay dazzled us with the Martin Luther King Jr biopic, “Selma.” Gillian Flynn adapted her bestselling novel Gone Girl for the big screen. Jenny Slate kept us rolling in “Obvious Child,” the funny-as-fuck “abortion comedy” written and directed by Gillian Robespierre. Lake Bell sent up adult women who talk like babies in “In a World,” which she wrote, starred in, and directed. Angelina Jolie directed “Unbroken,” the highly regarded portrait of Louis Zamperini. Amma Asante helmed the historical drama “Belle.” Gia Coppola (yes, Sofia’s niece and Francis’s granddaughter) made an admirable debut with her coming-of-ager, “Palo Alto.” With “Foxcatcher,” “Her,” and “Zero Dark Thirty” independent producer Megan Ellison continued to emerge as Hollywood’s most potent new weapon. And with the rise of girl-empowering Young Adult-centric films like “Divergent” and the “Hunger Games” films, young women were even recognized as a force to be reckoned with at the box office.

That said, despite a recent study revealing that men still dominate the small-screen landscape both on and off screen, even a great year for women in film pales in comparison to any year for women in television. Sure, we could argue that’s because TV is viewed as a domestic medium, harkening back to when ladies allegedly lounged at home with their shows while husbands earned the bacon. But here are five more-evolved reasons why TV is better for women. Continue Reading →

A National Holiday for Julia

August 15 marks Julia Child’s 102nd birthday. That’s hardly a banner anniversary – remember the media celebration two years ago for her centennial? – but Julia Child deserves a red-carpet bonanza every year. Certainly her birthday should be recognized as a national holiday by the food world. If not for the late cookbook author and television host, its media empire wouldn’t exist – at least not in all the glory that it currently enjoys.

Yes, we have Julia to thank for all the Americans who eat something besides TV dinners every night. (The powers-that-be at Swanson may not feel so grateful.) But we also have Julia to thank for the glut of food porn, er, television that comprises an industry unto itself. The entire Food Network should credit Julia as its real founder. Without Julia, there’d likely be no Emeril Lagasse, Jamie Oliver, Tom Colicchio, Barefoot Contessa, or Pioneer Woman in our public eye. There’d probably not even be an Anthony Bourdain or a “Hell’s Kitchen.” (There’d still be a Rachael Ray, though. With her aggressive cheer and predilection for shortcuts and catchphrases, Ray always seems one gelatin mold away from being the new Betty Crocker.) Continue Reading →

Director’s Cut: Helming ‘True Detective’

When it comes to True Detective season 2, any news is fascinating news. Ever since Season 1 wrapped, the rumors surrounding HBO’s literary-minded goth detective series have been almost as mysterious as the show itself. Who will star in the next season? Where will it take place? And, most recently, who will direct it?

Earlier this week, director William Friedkin told Indiewire that he was considering joining the True Detective team, saying “I like this writer [creator Nic Pizzolatto] very much. I’ve met him, and he’s the real deal.” Though nothing is set in stone just yet, the prospect of this collaboration is a good one. Not only does Friedkin have a flair for psychologically compelling horror – he directed the original The Exorcist as well as that underseen study in paranoia, Bug, (all Michael Shannon fans should see it post-haste) – but he’s made some of the more distinctive cop movies in the history of American film: The French Connection and Cruising (which admittedly is a fail in the identity politics department). Indeed, his films – even 2011’s Killer Joe, which is mostly heralded for launching a McConaussance – build to a thrill by cultivating an appealingly broody familiarity he withdraws the minute we feel comfortable. Bottom line: There’s no director better suited to realize the rarified, yellow kingdoms of “True Detective.”

But assuming the seventy-eight-year-old won’t sign on to film every episode, it’s still worth considering who else might helm Pizzolatto’s moody masterpiece. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy