Showing posts from May, 2012


It seems strange to think that only a few months ago, Smash was being touted as the show that would save network television .  As you'll know even if you haven't been following the show, simply from the tenor of the conversation surrounding it, this has turned out to be most emphatically not the case, but if Smash couldn't be excellent, engaging, fun TV, it has at least proved to be the next best thing--a series whose creators' arrogant certainty that they are crafting a masterpiece is matched only by their inability to grasp just how far the finished product falls from perfection.  Smash doesn't quite reach Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip levels of hubris, but it comes close enough to make one wonder whether that quality is a particular pitfall of the "let's put on a show" genre. Smash , whose first season came to a close last week, follows the early stages of the production, from inception to previews, of Bombshell, a new Broadway musical about t

REVIEW: The Avengers

My review of The Avengers appears today at Strange Horizons .  Short version: I enjoyed the film, but not nearly as much as so many other have done, and certainly not to a degree that makes its phenomenal box office success understandable to me.  As impressive as it is in its ability to tie together characters and plot points from five previous movies, I can't help but think that The Avengers also lays out very clearly why the Marvel movie franchise is fundamentally flawed.

Women and Horses

Earlier this spring, HBO cancelled Luck , a show set in and around a struggling Southern California horse-racing track from Deadwood creator David Milch, then several weeks into the filming of its second season, following the death of one the horses used on set.  Two other horses had already died during the filming of Luck 's first season, and in the face of intense criticism following those deaths the production promised to tighten its safety protocols.  When these proved ineffective, HBO and Luck 's producers jointly came to the decision to pull the plug.  I never fell in love with Luck , which outside of its tense, riveting horse racing sequences always seemed a little too benign for its subject matter, but I did enjoy the first season and was looking forward to the second.  Nevertheless, the news of the show's cancellation came as a relief to me.  I was deeply troubled when I learned about the first two horse deaths on Luck 's set, and the third one left me wo