I noted in my review of Mad Men’s season 7 premiere that compared to Mad Men, shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones are less thematically driven and more story oriented. This generalisation does something of a diservice to the way Benioff and Weiss shape the individual chapters of their Game of Thrones saga. Undoubtedly Mad Men doesn’t have the same narrative drive and sprawling scope of Game of Thrones, but neither is Game of Thrones simply a series that moves characters from A to B (very slowly) in order to fulfil the endgame of a complicated narrative structure. In the moments between the beheadings and wedding ceremonies, Game of Thrones episodes are cleverly composed to create, if not thematic unity, then at least a sense of cohesion that stops the show from becoming a series of disparate vignettes that just happen to take place in the same universe.
Author Archives: Nicholas Hayes
Mad Men: 7×02 – A Day’s Work
Yes! This is what I love about Mad Men. The show where the best scenes are almost always simply 2 people having a conversation. The show where a secretary changing offices can be a moment of genuine excitement and a radical narrative leap. The show where one of our favourite characters can act like a cruel and selfish person and still be recognisably herself.
Game of Thrones: 4×02 – The Lion and the Rose
I’m not a religious man, nor am I especially blasphemous, but the only thing I could say after ‘The Lion and the Rose’ cut to black was:
Say what you will about Game of Thrones’ sometimes ponderous storylines, but the show is a journey, and if you stick with it, it will reward you and punish in unexpected ways as all great works of fiction should.
Mad Men: 7×01 – Time Zones and Why people should (still) watch Mad Men
The world has gone and changed on Mad Men. I’m just not referring to the 60s of the show which is creeping towards its end as Tricky Dick is inaugurated midway through the premiere; I’m referring to the television landscape that Mad Men inhabits.
Game of Thrones: 4×01 – Two Swords
I could spend 500 words explaining the phenomenon of Game of Thrones and how pervasively it has entered the cultural zeitgeist and how the hubbub over the #redwedding forced the few who weren’t watching (including myself) to rush through a catch up, but I’d be repeating every second article written in the last week, so let’s talk season 4.
As per usual I will separate my comments and impressions by characters:
List ‘O the Week: Top 15 episodes of Community
Choosing my favourite episodes of Community is both quite simple and quite problematic, because of the way creator Dan Harmon seems to pitch his show. Harmon is someone who tries so hard, some would say too hard, to produce a show that is more than ‘just a sitcom’. As such there are several episodes each season which will emerge from Harmon saying, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…..?’. These episodes tend to be high-concept parodies of specific films and television shows or a mere riff on the conventions of film genre and form. Such episodes started being produced towards to end of season 1 and really thrived in season 2.
Music Playlist #5: Grrrrrrrllll
2013 certainly has been a fantastic year for female artists (and bands with female vocalists). This year has seen albums which range from very good to fantastic from the likes of: Camera Obscura, Chvrches, Eleanor Friedberger, Haim, Janelle Monae, Julia Holter, Julianna Barwick, Laura Marling, Lorde, Marnie Stern, Neko Case, Savages, She & Him, Waxahatchee, Young Galaxy and many others that I’ve been too lazy to track down.
This playlist celebrates songs by female artists from the 3 previous years (2010-2012). To see my favourite female authored/sung tracks of 2013, click here.
List O’ the Week: Top 10 albums of 2013 by female artists
Here are my favourite albums of 2013 (so far) by female artists/bands with a female lead.
Also check out this list’s companion music playlist.
10. Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
9. Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record
8. She & Him – Vol. 3
7. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt
6. Camera Obscura – Desire Lines
Gravity Film Review
There is absolutely no denying Gravity‘s mastery of cinematic and technological form and the beauty of its visuals. The camera effortlessly glides through the (lack of) air capturing both the enormity of space and the claustrophobic intimacy of a space suit in single vast takes without calling attention to itself. When you have Alfonso Cuarón as the director and Emmanuel Lubezki (Terrence Malick’s longtime collaborator) as the cinematographer, you know you’re going to get images that simultaneously capture all the beauties of nature and humanity by focusing on the mundane and tactile qualities of existence.
List O’ The Week: Top 20 episodes of Adventure Time
Let’s face it, Adventure Time is weird, but weird in the best possible way. It takes the crazed ADD creativity of youth, where absolutely anything can happen, infuses it with a kaleidoscopic colour scheme and a complete disregard for conventions and the norm and throws it up on the screen for 11 minute bursts of crazy. It has an obscure, sometimes absurdist, off-the-wall sense of humour that is breezily casual and flitters between juvenile gags and quite sophisticated character humour.
And even if you don’t have access to mind-altering hallucinogenic drugs, it’s still a pretty fun ride.
Here are some of my faves from the first 4 seasons. Season 5 is still in production, so I’m refraining from talking about it here (also……I haven’t watched it yet).