• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 3, Episode 22 (“Goodbye to All That”)

Last year, I was thrilled to spend a lot of time on The Time is Now discussing the second season of Millennium. Since the podcast has moved on to the third season, I have taken something of a step back as a guest. That said, I have been a bit more active in the second half of the third season. I was flattered to get an invitation to discuss the show’s final episode, Goodbye to All That, with host Kurt North and guest Chris Knowles.

The series finale of Millennium is a strange beast. It tries to do a lot, and doesn’t always accomplish what it attempts with particular grace or finesse. Still, it does represent an attempt to reconcile the show to itself, to bring the characters and the narrative to a place where something resembling closure is within reach. It doesn’t entirely work, but it is a valiant effort.

As ever, you can listen directly to the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here, or click the link below.

Continue reading

New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 3, Episode 21 (“Via Dolorosa”)

Last year, I was thrilled to spend a lot of time on The Time is Now discussing the second season of Millennium. Since the podcast has moved on to the third season, I have taken something of a step back as a guest. That said, I have been a bit more active in the second half of the third season. I was flattered to get an invitation to discuss the show’s penultimate episode, Via Dolorosa, with host Kurt North and guest Chris Knowles.

The series finale of Millennium is an episode that I’m admittedly divided on. It’s a two-parter that attempts to a staggering amount: to tell one last serial killer of the week story, to pull back and look at the bigger picture around these monsters, to wrap up the major character arcs for both the season and the show, and to serve as a satisfying conclusion to an uneven season and to a wildly disjointed series as a whole. It’s a lot to ask of a two parter, and Millennium certainly makes a valiant – if imperfect – effort.

As ever, you can listen directly to the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here, or click the link below.

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: The Little Things

The Little Things was reportedly written by John Lee Hancock in the mid-nineties, and it shows.

The film is largely set against the backdrop of October 1990. There frequent reminders that this is effectively a period piece. During the opening sequence, one potential serial killer victim sings along with Roam from the B-52s on her car stereo. Another victim has a pink flyer for No Doubt pinned up on her fridge and a poster for The Lost Boys hanging in her living area. There are repeated references to how Richard Ramirez, “the Night Stalker”, still lingers in the living memory of the Los Angeles Police Department.

A new release window.

However, The Little Things feels like a period piece in some more fundamental ways. Most obviously, there’s the fact that The Little Things exists as a star vehicle, its cast including Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Jared Leto, along with Oscar nominee Rami Malek. The film is not based on any existing intellectual property, even if it is highly derivative in other ways. More than that, it harks back to the serial killer boom of mid-nineties cinema, when big studio films were dominated by procedural thrillers and forensic meditation.

The Little Things is neither an exemplar nor a deconstruction of the genre, but instead a straightforward reminder of its tropes and conventions seemingly cobbled together to construct something close to the statistical mean. The common refrain with a film like The Little Things is to suggest that this is the kind of film that they don’t make any more. The more worrying thought is that The Little Things seems to illustrate why.

Continue reading

New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 1, Episode 22 (“Paper Dove”)

Recently, I had the pleasure of stopping by the first season of The Time is Now to talk about Millennium, joining the great Kurt North to discuss Paper Dove. It was a delight to be asked back, particularly because it’s the first season finale.

Paper Dove is a fascinating episode. Because every season of Millennium essentially reboots and reinvents itself, each season finale also becomes a sort of series finale. Each season-ender essentially bids farewell to a certain vision of what Millennium was or could be. This is very much the case in Paper Dove, which stands as one of the series’ most compelling and engaging “serial killer of the week” episodes right before the second season makes a conscious effort to move away from that approach to storytelling. It’s a wonderful illustration of how far Millennium has come since those early episodes, and a fantastic piece of television.

As ever, you can listen to the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here, or click the link below.

Continue reading

New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 4, Episode 4 (“Unruhe”)

I’m back on The X-Cast this week, covering Unruhe with the incomparable Carl Sweeney.

Unruhe is an interesting episode. It is an episode of The X-Files focusing on a serial killer at the point in time when Chris Carter had just launched Millennium to deal specifically with that menace. In fact, it served as something of a trial run for writer Vince Gilligan, who would write another (more popular) episode focusing on a serial killer later in the fourth season with Paper Hearts.

Unruhe is often overlooked in discussions of the fourth season, and it is easy to understand why given the quality of the episodes around it. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating piece of work that speaks to a lot of the core interests of the series and also reflecting a lot of the work of writer Vince Gilligan. As such, it was a thrill to be asked to discuss the episode.

The truth is in here. You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

Continue reading

New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 1, Episode 1 (“Pilot”)

The wonderful folk responsible for The X-Cast have launched another podcast, covering another beloved Chris Carter property, and I’m thrilled to be a guest on it.

Millennium is a massively underrated (and largely underseen) show. It is one of the most striking television series of the late nineties, and a show with an impressive cultural footprint and reach. I’m on record as arguing that the second season of Millennium is one of the best twenty-odd-episode seasons of television ever produced, but the first season also has a lot to recommend it.

Tony has already recorded a primer or introduction to Millennium, but I’m honoured to be the guest invited on to discuss The Pilot. Indeed, The Pilot is a remarkable piece of television, and one of the most striking pieces of television that Carter ever produced. Millennium struggles a bit in the first half of the season to establish a sense of tone and to figure out how to tell the stories within this framework.

You can listen to the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here, or click the link below.

Continue reading

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Darkness and the Light (Review)

The Darkness and the Light is the first television credit for writer Bryan Fuller.

There is no way around that. It puts a lot of emphasis on this fifth season episode, drawing a lot attention to the story. Fuller didn’t even write the script, instead pitching a story that would be developed by Ronald D. Moore. However, later in the fifth season, Fuller would pitch the story for Empok Nor. After that, he would be recruited on to the writing staff on Star Trek: Voyager. Then Fuller would begin developing his own shows. Dead Like Me. Wonderfalls. Pushing Daisies. Hannibal. American Gods. Star Trek: Discovery.

Face-off.

Face-off.

That naturally casts a shadow over his first television pitch, the premise sold to the writing staff of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Even watching Fuller’s idea filtered through the lens of Ronald D. Moore, there is a strong urge to read too much into this forty-five-minute piece of television. How much of it represents Bryan Fuller’s vision of Star Trek? How have its themes and ideas resonated across the rest of the writer’s work? What insight might it offer into the producer’s vision for the future of the franchise?

A lesser episode would crumple under that weight. It helps that The Darkness and the Light is an ambitious and exciting piece of television, a triumph of concept and execution that stands as one of the most distinctive and memorable episodes in the fifty-year history of the franchise.

A time to heal.

A time to heal.

Continue reading

Millennium – Pilot (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fourth season of The X-Files and the first season of Millennium.

You think you’re protecting me but you make it worse, Frank. You can’t shut the world out for me. You can’t ask me to pretend that I don’t know what you do.

Everyone pretends. We all make believe. These men I help catch – make us.

We’re raising a daughter, Frank. The real world starts to seep in. You can’t stop it.

I want you to make believe that I can.

Fade to Black...

Fade to Black…

Continue reading

The X-Files – 2Shy (Review)

This November (and a little of December), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the third season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of Space: Above and Beyond.

A lot of the success of the third season of The X-Files came for learning what had worked earlier, and trying to hone that.

So, for example, the epic mythology of Colony and End Game enabled episodes like Nisei and 731 along with Piper Maru and Apocrypha. Shows like Die Hand Die Verletzt and Humbug had proven that the show could do comedy, so it wasn’t as big a risk to commit to stories like Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose or Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space.” Even episodes like Fresh Bones had helped to define what a standard “monster of the week” should look like.

Freak like me...

Freak like me…

This approach to the third season had its drawbacks. It seemed like the first chunk of the first season was stuffed with supernatural revenge stories, to the point where it is surprisingly easy to confuse The List and The Walk on the basis of title and theme alone. However, it was a very effective way of producing television. It is very hard to fault any approach towards television production that could turn “fat-sucking vampire” into a premise that works.

The genealogy of 2Shy is quite easy to trace. It is the obvious synthesis of Tooms and Irresistible, two of the more memorable and effective monster stories of the first two seasons. 2Shy may have some very serious problems, but it does what it says on the tin.

Fresh bones...

Fresh bones…

Continue reading

The X-Files – Irresistible (Review)

This August (and a little of September), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the second season of The X-Files. In November, we’ll be looking at the third season. And maybe more.

Irresistible is a fascinating piece of television and arguably one of the most iconic and important episodes of The X-Files ever broadcast.

It’s also very, very good.

Here's Donnie...

Here’s Donnie…

Continue reading