March 01, 2011
In Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, everyone flies. Spider-Man flies, Peter Parker flies, the Green Goblin flies, the villain Arachne and her eight-legged spider minions fly, multiple Spider-Men take flight at once like spandex-clad missiles. Even schoolyard bullies are suspended in air while they pummel Peter Parker. The show is an aeronautics experiment, a circus of stunts.
The Legacy of Larry King and Oprah
January 17, 2011
The end of Larry King Live, after 50 years and a steep drop in ratings, was inevitable in a cable news climate that values mindless partisanship over mindless nonpartisanship. In contrast to the likes of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Fox’s Glenn Beck, CNN’s middle-of-the-road tack was flailing. King’s farewell aptly coincided with the end of another institution in softball interviewing: The Oprah Winfrey Show, that stronghold of cheery neutrality and generic goodwill.
Conan the Solipsist
December 03, 2010
“Welcome to my second annual first show,” said Conan O’Brien in the recent premiere of his new late-night talk show on TBS. Also: “People asked me why I named the show ‘Conan.’ I did it so I’d be harder to replace.” His first episode opened with a video of an unemployed O’Brien being hounded by a haggard wife and 14 kids, then gunned down by Godfather-style NBC hitmen. And, as the weeks progressed, the self-pity has persisted.