John’s top 10 TV shows of 2014

These were my 10 favorite shows of 2014:

1. “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (Season 6, Netflix) – “The Clone Wars” saves the best for last with arcs delving into the Order 66 brainwashing, Palpatine’s manipulations to take over the galactic banking system, and Yoda’s surprising encounter with a dark avatar and his first communication with a beyond-the-grave Qui-Gon. Even the “Jar Jar in Love” arc works due to the Gungan’s odd-couple banter with Mace Windu. While Ahsoka is certainly missed in this straight-to-Netflix season, she nonetheless feels like the absent center of this canceled-too-soon series. We can only hope that the storylines will continue in books, comics or “Star Wars: Rebels.”

Continue reading “John’s top 10 TV shows of 2014”

Sci-fi showdown: ‘Almost Human’ vs. ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ (TV commentary)


With Fox’s “Almost Human” and ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” both at about the halfway point of the season, I thought it’d be fun to pit the two most-hyped new sci-fi law enforcement shows against each other in a category-by-category showdown:

Continue reading “Sci-fi showdown: ‘Almost Human’ vs. ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ (TV commentary)”

Shows set in past, future can illuminate present – if they dare (TV commentary)

The CW

Awhile back, I engaged in a chicken-or-egg-style argument with a co-worker about mid-20th-century civil rights legislation: Were the laws piggybacking on public sentiment, or did they shape public sentiment? The more I think about it, neither extreme is correct. Many citizens were ahead of the law (they believed blacks and whites should have equal rights, and hoped someday that laws would reflect that) and many other citizens were behind the law (once legislation was in place, they accepted that people should be treated equally). Simply put, law is not the sole cause of behavior, but nor is it irrelevant in shaping behavior.

Continue reading “Shows set in past, future can illuminate present – if they dare (TV commentary)”

First episode impressions: ‘Almost Human’ (TV review)

I decided to wait until after the second episode to give my impressions of “Almost Human” (7 p.m. Central Mondays on Fox), because Sunday’s pilot was simultaneously confusing and lacking in new (or even new-ish) ideas. Fox’s latest attempt at an expensive sci-fi franchise — following the likes of the quickly canceled “Terra Nova” and the longer-running “Fringe” — starts with a voiceover that says the crime rate has increased by 400 percent between now and 2048, when the series is set.

Continue reading “First episode impressions: ‘Almost Human’ (TV review)”

Fall TV preview: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and 7 other shows worth checking out (Commentary)

Well, that came upon us in a hurry. Perhaps because there aren’t any major new shows to get excited about, the Fall 2013 TV season snuck up on me rather quickly this year. But while this is the thinnest lineup of new network shows (and returning shows for that matter, after last season’s cancellation spree) in at least 20 years, it’s not time to throw out your TV yet. Here are four new shows worth a peek (all times Central):

Continue reading “Fall TV preview: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and 7 other shows worth checking out (Commentary)”