‘Family Guy’ writers run out of inspiration as they wrap up ‘Star Wars’ trilogy (DVD review)

Seth MacFarlane probably had the idea for “Blue Harvest” kicking around in his head for a while, and when it became an actual episode of “Family Guy” in 2007, he probably thought, “Wow, we really did a ‘Family Guy’ ‘Star Wars’ parody.” Some of the giddy excitement was still intact for the “Empire Strikes Back”-themed sequel, “Something, Something, Something Dark Side” (2009), but all the fun is gone for the “Return of the Jedi” parody, “It’s a Trap!”

Continue reading “‘Family Guy’ writers run out of inspiration as they wrap up ‘Star Wars’ trilogy (DVD review)”

John’s top 10 TV shows of 2010

This was the year when TV changed from low-definition to high-definition and from squares to rectangles (I still have a square, and I know I’m missing some things off to the sides, but at least I can hear everybody). Also, TV has never before been as accessible; unless it’s on a premium network, rare is the series that eschews free Internet broadcast (the fact that you can’t fast-forward commercials on the web is part of the appeal to advertisers, I’m sure).

Continue reading “John’s top 10 TV shows of 2010”

All 24 episodes of ‘The X-Files’ Season 4 (1996-97), ranked (TV review)

Ideally for the business people behind the networks, TV series would be written in such a way that they could stay on the air forever. This is why sitcoms are popular with networks; people can start watching at any time without feeling lost. It’s also why a beginning-middle-end story — the “X-Files” mythology for example — is a problem. How can you build toward an ending when you don’t know if the show is going to be on the air for one, five or 10 more years?

Continue reading “All 24 episodes of ‘The X-Files’ Season 4 (1996-97), ranked (TV review)”

Folds/Hornby collaboration Lonely Avenue a compelling but mediocre experiment (Music review)

Author Nick Hornby writes the words and musician Ben Folds puts the music to them. The September album “Lonely Avenue” is, on the surface, hard to resist. It features one of my favorite authors and the man responsible for what I think is a perfect album, 2001’s “Rockin’ the Suburbs.” And I can’t think of a previous example of a musician and novelist teaming up for an album (let me know if there are any), so they get points for an original gimmick.

Continue reading “Folds/Hornby collaboration Lonely Avenue a compelling but mediocre experiment (Music review)”

Latest Belle & Sebastian disc ‘Write About Love’ a step down, but still good (Music review)

Chance, a commenter on these threads, feels that Belle and Sebastian’s October release, “Write About Love,” is weak; I think it’s decent. Actually, we’re both right. It may be weak by B&S standards, but it’s decent by the standards of pop music in general.

Continue reading “Latest Belle & Sebastian disc ‘Write About Love’ a step down, but still good (Music review)”

All 24 episodes of ‘The X-Files’ Season 3 (1995-96), ranked (TV review)

Season 3 was when “The X-Files” became the show that I now picture in my head when I fondly daydream about “The X-Files.” Gone for the most part are the endearingly clunky episodes where the writers and directors were finding their footing; in Season 3 (1995-96, Fox), the show became a well-oiled machine.

Continue reading “All 24 episodes of ‘The X-Files’ Season 3 (1995-96), ranked (TV review)”

‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1’ does its artistic best with the Horcrux quest (Movie review)

‘Paranormal Activity 2’ even better than the original (Movie review)

Shaune, a commenter on these threads, wrote about a year ago that he liked “Paranormal Activity,” but if they made a sequel he would hate it. Well, the sequel is here, but I think he and many other people will like it. I certainly think it’s a significant step up from the first movie, which had a great concept but was sometimes a bit boring.

Continue reading “‘Paranormal Activity 2’ even better than the original (Movie review)”