A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part 4)

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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)”

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2018 Emmys: The Revolution that Wasn’t

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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”

The Important Lesson of the Seinfeld Finale

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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 Top 15 TV Shows of 2017

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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.

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A Complete Guide to Studio 60 (Part 2)

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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

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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.

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Emmys 2017: Which Shows Will Win?

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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.)

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Was Ally McBeal a Feminist Icon?

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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?”

A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part 3)

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[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

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[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.

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

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[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”

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)”

The 2017 Emmy Nominees Are Surprising… But Not Shocking

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[Written by Jeremy Grayson]

I make fun of the Emmy Awards a lot, and with good reason. They constantly pick the same shows over and over. They fail to recognize many of television’s greatest and most laudable shows. They constantly change their own voting rules, to the point that it all currently amounts to little more than a popularity contest. And when all is said and done, they’re just another awards ceremony in which Hollywood congratulates Hollywood for being Hollywood.
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8 Books for the TV Addict

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[Posted by Jeremy Grayson]

People sometimes ask me: “How do you know so much about television?” (Well, technically, they ask “Why do you know so much about television?”) Truth be told, I was not born with a silver remote in my mouth. I accumulated this knowledge through reading. Lots of reading.
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Get Onboard: iZombie

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[Posted by Jeremy Grayson]

“I used to be passionate, inspired, alive. Now, I’m mostly just hungry. And… a zombie. So there’s that.” – Liv

Full disclosure: I’ve never been a fan of zombie fiction. The horror genre has delivered a seemingly never-ending string of vampires, mummies, and werewolves, and while plenty of ghoul-centric books, films, and TV shows have been spookily entertaining, zombie-centric stories, with their moaning, groaning, brain-chewing antagonists, have always struck me as repulsive. Continue reading “Get Onboard: iZombie”

15 Years Later, the “Kim Possible” Pilot is Still Fantastic

[Posted by Jeremy Grayson]

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Great pilots can be a mixed blessing.

It’s certainly important for a TV series to establish itself in its very first episode, the better to hook viewers in for the long haul. And given the many moving parts involved in crafting a new series – from characters to plot to tone to production – it’s always something of a wonder when a show hits the ground running in its very first episode. Continue reading “15 Years Later, the “Kim Possible” Pilot is Still Fantastic”

A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part 2)

[Posted by Jeremy Grayson]

Welcome back to my brief and entirely unasked-for history of The CW. Part 1 can be read here. Go read that if you haven’t already. And then come back to this page for the Roman numeral-free Part 2…

While the WB was flying high on teen-targeting hits like Buffy and Charmed, rival network UPN wasn’t faring too well. Continue reading “A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part 2)”

A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part I)

[Posted by Jeremy Grayson]

These days, I find myself losing track of more TV shows than ever. It’s the downside of having so much on the air – series that don’t click (or used to, but have now lost their luster) tend to pile on my DVR for a couple of months, before it finally becomes too much of a commitment to catch up. Too many other shows – both new and old – have my attention at any given moment to make room for all of them. Continue reading “A Brief Unauthorized History of The CW (Part I)”

Star Trek Reviews: The Other The Wire

[Blogged by Noah Burns]

[Introduction]

This is the first installment in what will be a series of short, one-off reviews of some of my favorite episodes in the Star Trek universe. This series will include at minimum this review, a review of ‘The Menagerie’ from the original series, and a review of The Next Generation‘s ‘The Inner Continue reading “Star Trek Reviews: The Other The Wire”

Mary Tyler Moore: A Trailblazer Onscreen and Off

[Blogged by Jeremy Grayson]

[Turning the World On With Her Smile]

There are few moments in the history of television as iconic as the one which caps off the intro to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

In this moment, we watch Mary Richards, the character played by the titular actress, as she gazes in wonder at the bustling urban sights of Minneapolis. She twirls a Continue reading “Mary Tyler Moore: A Trailblazer Onscreen and Off”

The 20 Best TV Shows of 2016

[Blogged by Jeremy Grayson]

[The Year in Review]

How do you define “Peak TV”?

At the forefront, the term refers to the fact that there have never been as many shows on American television as there are right now. (Close to 500 shows aired – either on television or one of the Internet’s numerous streaming sites – at some point in the past year. Continue reading “The 20 Best TV Shows of 2016”

How “Angel” Perfected the Art of the Spinoff

[Blogged by Jeremy Grayson]

[The Angel’s in the Details]

Television, as the current deluge of shows across broadcast, cable, and the Internet can attest, is quite the hungry beast, constantly in need of new ideas to freshen and sustain a year-round schedule. And with millions of dollars at stake each time a new series premieres, it’s understandable that Continue reading “How “Angel” Perfected the Art of the Spinoff”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Wormhole Version

[Blogged by Jeremy Grayson]

[To Boldly Binge…]

Life feels pretty short, doesn’t it? There’s never enough time to go all the places we see, or meet all the people we want to meet, or watch all the TV shows we want to watch. That last fact is especially heartbreaking, but it’s true: there’s just too much great television, and not enough time to c Continue reading “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Wormhole Version”