A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part 4)

CW41

Rather belatedly, here is the final quarter of my CW history piece. Assuming any of you need a refresher, here are links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. But if you’re all caught up…

Continue reading “A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part 4)”

Advertisements

2018 Emmys: The Revolution that Wasn’t

Emmys2018.jpg

When it comes to the Emmy Awards, I’ve long held two mindsets. The Jekyll in me wants to root for the nominees I love, and cheer whenever a lesser-known gem takes home the gold. But the Hyde in me is urged to snark my way through the ceremony, mocking the self-important Hollywood types who’ve devoted a dry and often artless night to congratulating themselves.

Continue reading “2018 Emmys: The Revolution that Wasn’t”

“Ocean’s 8” Proves that Women Deserve (and Need) Their Own Films

Oceans8

Ocean’s 8 is a Hollywood executive’s dream of a summer movie. It’s modestly-budgeted, eschewing the grand-scale action and VFX-plosions which pepper the traditional action blockbuster – yet it’s also light, fun, and breezy, in the way that only summertime films are allowed to be.

Continue reading ““Ocean’s 8” Proves that Women Deserve (and Need) Their Own Films”

The Important Lesson of the Seinfeld Finale

SeinfeldFinale.jpg

May 14, 1998, marked the end of two pop-cultural touchstones. One was Frank Sinatra, who died in Los Angeles at the age of 82. The other was the TV series Seinfeld, which aired its final episode on NBC that evening.

It may seem trivial to lump a man’s life with a TV show, but while Sinatra was mourned by many, the end of Seinfeld garnered even greater recognition. NBC devoted its entire Thursday night comedy block to the show – an hourlong retrospective clip show, followed by the hourlong finale. The episode attracted over 76 million viewers, making it one of the most-watched TV finales of all time. (No other series finale since then has come close to that number, with only one – the Friends finale – even getting halfway there.)

Continue reading “The Important Lesson of the Seinfeld Finale”

The Ending to “Infinity War” Presents a Long-Term Problem for the MCU

InfintyWarTop

By now, it seems like everyone on planet Earth has seen Avengers: Infinity War. However, if you’re one of the select few who haven’t seen the film (or one of the fewer who don’t have interest – shame on you, BTW), I should clarify that, as the title implies, this article will feature MAJOR SPOILERS for the ending of Infinity War, as well as the two-and-a-half hours leading up to it. Oh, and maybe a few other Marvel films, too.

Continue reading “The Ending to “Infinity War” Presents a Long-Term Problem for the MCU”

Hollywood Shoots, CinemaScores

ICanOnlyLove
Like most critics, I’ve long been disdainful of audience scores. Simply put, people should not determine which films are worth watching based on IMDB ratings or Netflix upvotes. While some of these aggregates can give you a basic idea of how the public views a specific film, the anonymity and insubstantiality of online rankings make it a poor substitute for pop-culture critiquing.

Continue reading “Hollywood Shoots, CinemaScores”

Top 10: The Best of DreamWorks Animation

DWBestTop
If you’re a regular visitor to this site, you’re probably familiar with my love for all things Disney. Even if Disney may be an evil corporate monster intent on sucking our wallets dry and brainwashing us through mind-controlling Mickey Mouse ears, their films are still a lot of fun. I grew up on all things Disney and Pixar, and maintain a fondness for their works even to this day.

Continue reading “Top 10: The Best of DreamWorks Animation”

Oscars 2018: The Animated Shorts

Oscars18Top

Once upon a time, the short film was everywhere. Cinemas preceded every new film with a brief and humorous cartoon from the minds at Warner Bros. or Walt Disney Studios. For much of the 20th century, in fact, the theater offered patrons a veritable variety show of short films (both live-action and animated), newsreels, and musical performances in addition to the feature presentation.

Continue reading “Oscars 2018: The Animated Shorts”

“Slayers & Vampires” is an Engrossing History of Buffy and Angel

SlayersVampires

When it comes to essays, journals, and thinkpieces, few TV shows have as vast a catalog as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Countless books have been published which dig into the characters and themes of the show. The series itself was a trailblazer for the current wave of analytical online TV recaps, paving the way for essays about quality shows ranging from Breaking Bad to The Leftovers. And, lest we forget, this very website owes its existence to the intricacies of the Buffyverse.

Continue reading ““Slayers & Vampires” is an Engrossing History of Buffy and Angel”

Happy New Year 2018

Beautiful holiday fireworks

Welcome, one and all, to 2018.

It was almost a year ago that Mike contacted me and asked if I would like to take over as administrator of Critically Touched. As a regular writer and contributor to this website for several years, I was thrilled to accept his offer. But at the same time, I wasn’t sure if I could properly sustain my usual level of writing while also presiding over the site and forum itself (free server notwithstanding), in addition to keeping up the continual strains of college life and adulthood.

Continue reading “Happy New Year 2018”

The Top 15 TV Shows of 2017

BestShows17top

2017 may have at last been the year in which quantity overtook quality.

With over 500 shows airing this year, across more networks and streaming platforms than ever before, the world of television is bursting at the seams. And the effects were clear: This year saw multiple networks (WGN, A&E, Cinemax) get pushed out of the scripted-TV business by sheer force of competition. There was a narrowly-averted writers’ strike, attributed largely to the evolving nature of the business. And some of the best shows on television slipped between the cracks unnoticed, with viewership numbers that scored in the mere six-digits.

Continue reading “The Top 15 TV Shows of 2017”

A Complete Guide to Studio 60 (Part 2)

Studio60Pt2

I wasn’t sure if I’d have the strength to finish this guide. Studio 60 takes a lot out of a guy, particularly when he reviews 11 episodes in one go. But I’ve been watching a lot of Saturday Night Live lately, and it’s reminded me that – even after all these decades, and even in a largely uneven season – sketch comedy can still bring joy to the world. It can bring laughter to us when we most need it.

Continue reading “A Complete Guide to Studio 60 (Part 2)”

The Mouse and the Fox: Some Thoughts on the New Disney Deal

DisneyFox
After weeks of swirling rumors, the news has finally been confirmed: Disney is buying 20th Century Fox.

The mouse-eared media giant announced its plans yesterday to buy out one of its chief cinematic rivals, acquiring the rights to the X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons,, and a slew of other TV and film properties in the process. The cost for this maneuver? A little over $52 billion.

Continue reading “The Mouse and the Fox: Some Thoughts on the New Disney Deal”

Emmys 2017: Which Shows Will Win?

westworld1

It’s that time of year again. The time when rich people gather into a big ballroom and repeatedly pat themselves on the back. The time when awards are handed out to people based on quality and also how much money they spent on campaigning. The time when a host makes some modestly humorous jokes and then disappears after the first twenty minutes. (Okay, I don’t expect much “modesty” from Stephen Colbert these days. But hey, twenty minutes.)

Continue reading “Emmys 2017: Which Shows Will Win?”

Was Ally McBeal a Feminist Icon?

AllyTop1

In June 1998, Time Magazine published an issue with a most unusual cover. The image displayed the pictured heads of four women: Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and… Ally McBeal. The first three heads were printed in black-and-white, the fourth in full color. Beneath the picture of McBeal were printed three boldened words: “Is Feminism Dead?”

Continue reading “Was Ally McBeal a Feminist Icon?”

Whitewashing… Or Is It?

GreatComet

Two events recently occurred in the world of pop-culture that, on the surface, appear very similar.

The first instance occurred last week, when controversy ignited surrounding the upcoming Hellboy film. Ed Skrein, a white actor, had been cast as Ben Daimio, a character who (in the comics) has an Asian-American heritage. This hearkened back to the uproar that occurred just last month, when Mandy Patinkin, also a white actor, was announced as the replacement for the African-American star of the Broadway play Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. In response to these respective outcries, both actors have stepped down from their roles.

Continue reading “Whitewashing… Or Is It?”

A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part 3)

CWHistory3

[By Jeremy Grayson]

At long last, here’s the third quarter of this historical opus. Read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already, and then come back here. I’ll wait. I’m the patient type.

By the time she was first approached to run the all-new CW Network, Dawn Ostroff had thirty years of media experience behind her – twenty in radio news (where she had started work as a teenager), and another ten in television. In 1996, she had joined Lifetime, a network with programming aimed at women, and presided over successful shows like Any Day Now and The Division. In 2002, she left her post to become President of UPN. And when the struggling UPN was merged with the WB into a shiny new network, CBS President Les Moonves chose her to lead the way.

Continue reading “A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part 3)”

The New “Tick” Dares to be Different

TheTick2

[By Jeremy Grayson]

When he was first introduced back in 1986, the Tick was designed as a superhero parody – a deconstruction of the familiar tropes and clichés typically associated with the comic book brand. It was a tone that continued in the popular 1990s animated series, and in the early 2000s with the short-lived live-action series (which I wrote about earlier this week). Now, Ben Edlund and Amazon have brought us a new Tick – only this time (dramatic pause) it’s different.

Continue reading “The New “Tick” Dares to be Different”

The First Live-Action “Tick” was Cancelled Too SPOON

TheTick

[By Jeremy Grayson]

“Gravity. It’s a harsh mistress.” – The Tick (after falling down an elevator shaft)

Superheroes are everywhere these days, aren’t they? The summer movie season is flooded with capes-and-tights blockbusters. A heroic new TV series seems to debut every few weeks. They appear on all sorts of merchandise, ranging from backpacks and T-shirts to pencils and toothbrushes. And hey, sometimes they even appear in comic books.

Continue reading “The First Live-Action “Tick” was Cancelled Too SPOON”

The “Buffy” Film, 25 Years Later

BuffyFilm

[Written by Jeremy Grayson]

Just a brief mention of the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer film will likely cause shoulders to shudder and faces to wince. While the Buffy TV series is a landmark accomplishment of story and character, the film which inspired it is generally dismissed as silly and pointless. Many Buffy fans haven’t even watched it. Joss Whedon doesn’t even regard it as canonical to the series, and he’s the guy who wrote it.

Continue reading “The “Buffy” Film, 25 Years Later”

A Complete Guide to Studio 60 (Part 1)

Studio 60

[Written by Jeremy Grayson]

You like good TV, don’t you? I mean, you obviously do, or else you wouldn’t be on this site. We at Critically Touched write a lot about good TV, and great TV, and all the TV in between. Rarely, however, do we take the time to write about bad TV.

Continue reading “A Complete Guide to Studio 60 (Part 1)”

Farewell, Buffy

btvs-chosen20

Hi, gang! Jeremy here.

First, the bad news. As some of you may have already noticed, MikeJer’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer reviews are no longer available to view on this site. Sadly, all the Buffy reviews have been removed from Critically Touched. The decision to do this was entirely Mike’s – he has decided to fully move on from Critically Touched, in an effort to focus on other life endeavors.

Continue reading “Farewell, Buffy”

“The Many Lives of Catwoman” Shines a Light on DC’s Best Anti-Heroine

Catwoman

[Written by Jeremy Grayson]

As a young child, I didn’t play with many action figures – at least, not from the world of superheroes. Though I obsessed over Superman and Batman from a youthful age, my familiarity with them was limited to comic books and cartoons. I never owned a Superman cape, nor a remote-controlled Batmobile, and my playtime implements were mostly limited to matchbox cars and little plastic farm animals. (The cows crossed the road, forcing the drivers to veer left. It’s more fun than it sounds.)
Continue reading ““The Many Lives of Catwoman” Shines a Light on DC’s Best Anti-Heroine”