Category Archives: TV Review

Review: Breaking Bad 5×14, “Ozymandias”

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That colossal wreck.

Vince Gilligan and co. were inviting some serious criticism when they titled an episode of their show “Ozymandias.” A poem that has so frequently been used in situations like these that most everybody who would be watching Breaking Bad has heard it somewhere, or is at least familiar with its implications, being directly invoked in an episode title is a rather overt way to set up expectations. It would have been all too easy to scoff it off as being too obvious a reference, too direct and lacking subtlety.

But they own it now. Shelley would look at this episode and be as proud as hell that it bears the name of his legendary sonnet. In the future, anybody who invokes the name of the poem will have not only its own legacy to contend with, but the legacy of Breaking Bad as well. Tonight was the culmination of five years of tense build up. This is the best episode of television I’ve ever seen.

Note: The following review, as you should probably expect, is filled to the brim with spoilers. If you care about that (though you probably shouldn’t), don’t read it. If you have seen the episode or don’t care about that, feel free to hit the jump and read on.

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Review: Breaking Bad 5×11, “Confessions”

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Note: The following review, as you should probably expect, is filled to the brim with spoilers. If you care about that (though you probably shouldn’t), don’t read it. If you have seen the episode or don’t care about that, feel free to hit the jump and read on.

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Review: Breaking Bad 5×10, “Buried”

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Note: The following review, as you should probably expect, is filled to the brim with spoilers. If you care about that (though you probably shouldn’t), don’t read it. If you have seen the episode or don’t care about that, feel free to hit the jump and read on.

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Review: Breaking Bad 5×09, “Blood Money”

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Note: The following review, as you should probably expect, is filled to the brim with spoilers. If you care about that (though you probably shouldn’t), don’t read it. If you have seen the episode or don’t care about that, feel free to hit the jump and read on.

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Korra Rewatch and Review: “Welcome to Republic City”

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The series premiere wastes no time at all, delivering a tight episode with a whirlwind of character introductions and scene setting, along with a hefty dose of thematic setup. It’s an efficient half-hour that manages to intrigue and excite, entertain in the moment, and avoid standard premiere episode pitfalls.

I don’t need to sing the praises of the show’s animation; it’s one of the most beautifully drawn shows I’ve ever seen, and it speaks for itself. The bending is more fluid, more dynamic; the form of the benders and the element being bended are far more synchronous than in the previous series. The water looks more alive (for lack of a better term), the fire is more vibrant and animated, and the earth is more crisp and staccato, reflecting the more deliberate and rough nature of earthbending. It’s just a joy to behold. But as I said: this stuff speaks for itself, and I am not going to dwell on it. For the rest of these reviews, I have no intention of speaking about the animation save for a few critical moments that are exceptionally fantastic. Otherwise, you can see how gorgeous the animation is for yourself; no need for me to wax poetic about it.

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Announcing the Legend of Korra Rewatch and Review

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Hello and welcome to the Cox in a Box The Legend of Korra Rewatch and Review! In anticipation of the second season of Nickelodeon’s fantastic animated series, I will be watching and reviewing an episode a day for the next two weeks or so. I’m going to be scattering this all over the internet in an attempt to get as many people to read it as possible, because I could use some more solid and substantive feedback on my criticism rather than empty praise from constant readers (though I love you people for those as well). My primary focus is going to be on character development and thematic concerns, with the goal of exposing some of the brilliance lying just beneath the surface of the show, as well as ultimately revealing the core of my frustrations with the season’s finale. Every review will be written with the full knowledge of the entire season, and as such some of the focus will be informed by what happens later, but the focus will be on the individual episodes.

The first five episodes of the series are available for free streaming on Nickelodeon’s official site, under “Full Episodes”. The entire series is available on Blu-ray and DVD, and I highly recommend it overall.

I’ve set up a page in the navbar up at the top of the blog that will include links to each episode’s review as they appear. The first review will be posted… immediately following this post! Please enjoy, and don’t be afraid – in fact, feel encouraged – to leave comments. I want a discussion, people, not an echo chamber!

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Review: Community 4×01 – “History 101”

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It’s February 7th, everybody. That should mean that it’s October 19th. But it isn’t.

October 19th is a state of mind, after all. We were all anticipating the arrival of October 19th along with the return of Community. A show called Community aired tonight. But it wasn’t Community. And October 19th never came.

The fourth season of a show that used to be the best comedy on television displayed a very inauspicious start. A disappointing one that confirms many of the fears about the show after Dan Harmon’s unceremonious firing. In short, they’re trying far, far too hard. This isn’t the Community we know because this isn’t a show that is assured of itself, that has no care for what people think of it, that is just simply itself regardless of how insane it is. This is a show that desperately wants to please a core audience that is so unflinchingly loyal to the show, that has loved it and followed it through nearly a year of bad news and constant delays. But in that desperation, they walked right out of a sure thing.

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Review: “House of Cards”

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Welcome to the future of television.

Well, maybe. That’s a very bold statement, sure. It’s perhaps a bit of an overreach to say that the Netflix exclusive model of releasing a 13-episode season of a show on a streaming service in one big bulk post, with the clear intent for viewers to watch it over a long weekend, say, is the future of television.

A more accurate statement would be that such a model is the present of television.

Netflix and other digital distribution/streaming providers have become quite significant in the past several years, and have led to a few intriguing phenomena. I suspect that viewership of niche shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock (well, niche here in the United States – I don’t pretend to have much understanding of how they fare in their home country) has increased dramatically as a direct result – my own viewership, in fact, is a direct result of Netflix streaming in both cases. Additionally, the idea of these big pop culture phenomena that are simply too big to actually begin watching by the time one hears about them (as this recent A.V. Club piece discusses) has gradually eroded – look at Breaking Bad, a show that – five seasons in – is still gaining viewers, which for a serialized drama of its kind is very unprecedented. People are now able to load up Netflix, press Play, and sit down to a full season of these shows in an afternoon. That’s not something that was easy, or really even possible, before Netflix, and it’s contributed to the rise of these mega-popular shows like Breaking Bad. But it also creates the interesting situation in which the serialized model of distribution is fading. Most people, I’d wager, experienced Breaking Bad not over a long period of time, but in marathon sessions through Netflix. That’s how I experienced it. And the experience was fundamentally different than it would have been had I watched it week after week as it aired. There’s a shifting television paradigm, and one I’d be thrilled to discuss… but this is about House of Cards.

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