Eulogy for a trope: ‘Looking for Alaska’ turns its Manic Pixie Dream Girl into a full-fledged character (TV review)

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he eight-episode Hulu series “Looking for Alaska” shatters the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope while also being one of the best MPDG stories ever told. Walking a delicate tightrope from start to finish, showrunner Josh Schwartz (“The O.C.,” “Gossip Girl”) – who writes or co-writes five of the eight episodes – gives us the teen male perspective of Miles “Pudge” Halter (Charlie Plummer). Through his eyes, Alaska Young (Kristine Froseth) is beautiful, quirky and mysterious. Yet — without sacrificing those ethereal qualities that Pudge might be projecting onto his first love/lust — “Looking for Alaska” also makes Alaska into a fully realized person.

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‘Veronica Mars’ becomes a great character piece, ramps up the threat level in Season 4 (TV review)

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eronica Mars” Season 4 (July, Hulu) had me so deeply invested in the people more so than the mystery – and it’s still a top-shelf mystery – that I wondered “Has it always been this way?” It’s been a few years since my last rewatch of the UPN/CW seasons, and while the father-daughter relationship between Keith (Enrico Colantoni) and Veronica (Kristen Bell) has always been central to the series, I had a sense that other players were chess pieces more so than characters, and that the mystery always reigns supreme.

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Fall TV 2019: After watching the trailers, I’m bananas for some of these shows, not so much for others (Commentary)

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 watched the trailers of some notable fall TV premieres so you don’t have to (but they are embedded here if you want to). Here are my thoughts on each, along with a “Go Bananas” Level (on a 10-point scale) of how excited I am for the series. All times Eastern:

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‘The Mindy Project’ has a place among the great workplace sitcoms (TV review)

Sitcoms aren’t usually the best genre to binge-watch, as they tend to not have the dramatic stakes or surprises that make you want to jump right into the next episode. Often, sitcoms work well as something to have on in the background. But “The Mindy Project” — of which I binged Seasons 4 and the first part of Season 5 before my free month of Hulu ran out – is an exception.

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