Tag: tv

April 15, 2010 / / diversity

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


When did Tim Kring start working on this show?

Yes, Byron Balasco and Timothy J. Lea are listed as the writers for “Queen Sacrifice,” but the mind-numbing absurdity of Keiko’s subplot in the episode stank of Heroes-level caricature. Here’s the recap:

So, newly-arrived Keiko is looking for a job around L.A. when she happens upon an auto shop. As she ventures in, we see several people dancing to generic “hip-hop” like rejects from a Kid Frost video and cars randomly going all LowRider Magazine. That’s the opening image. From there, Keiko – who has never shown either professional or personal interest in cars – talks herself into a job at the shop. After speaking to my ex-mechanic flatmate, I’m thinking this is also wonky; her degree doesn’t exactly translate into this career path. Later, Customs raids the place and busts seemingly everybody for being undocumented workers. Well of course they do. Gang, anything I missed?

Mahsino: Don’t forget the “Ninja” comment. Read the Post Pimp My Stereotype: The Racialicious Roundtable For Flashforward 1.15

March 24, 2010 / / representations

By Guest Contributor AJ Christian, originally published at Televisual

This post suffers from a disease characteristic of most lifestyle/entertainment news: two’s a coincidence, three’s a trend.  Blame it on my past as a reporter. It’s an illness not easily cured.

I don’t know what caused it, but white supremacy is back on television! Of course, by “back” I mean white supremacists have returned as villains in several cable dramas, most recently on FX’s new drama Justified, another FX series Sons of Anarchy and in Martin Scorsese’s forthcoming – and extraordinarily expensiveBoardwalk Empire, premiering this fall.

Color me naïve — it’s a color I’ve worn before — but I always thought serious consideration of white supremacy was a no-go for television: it would alienate liberals and minorities and doesn’t win anyone else. But the search for more provocative programming to cut through the TV clutter, along with the general tendency among certain cable networks – the premium channels, along with FX, TNT, AMC, etc. – toward “cutting edge” narratives, has allowed some room for the KKK and their ilk.

It’s not for me to say what can or cannot be filmed or represented. If it exists in society – even if it doesn’t – there’s little reason to ban it in our media. But you do wonder what makes these “bad guys” so appealing to viewers.

Justified’s Supremacists Are Bumpkins!

Justified, the latest in a decade-long string of “renegade anti-hero” dramas on cable which began with The Sopranos, gives us white nationalists who are mostly idiots. The story in the well-rated pilot is simple: Raylan Givens is a US Marshall relocated by the federal government to his home state of Kentucky after shooting, under dubious circumstances, a gangster in Miami. Upon returning home he meets some old enemies, mostly a band of neo-Nazis. Their leader, Boyd Crowder, is the most sophisticated of the band of rebels, smart enough to nearly catch our hero in an impromptu duel (Justified is a neo-western).

We doubt whether Boyd Crowder is a true believer, despite the swastikas adorning his lair and his body. Our hero Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) has us question his motives: maybe he’s just a guy who likes to shoot people and blow things up! Has our hate-mongering leader assembled a ragtag group of unemployed losers just so he has an excuse to create mayhem in eastern Kentucky? We don’t know yet. Read the Post White Supremacists Are Back (On Television)!

February 10, 2010 / / diversity

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


This is the end, my beautiful friends, the end.
– The Doors, “The End”

Keep the cameras on me.
Lady Claire Hilton Be-Be-Benetrelli

The ratings make it increasingly likely that “Brave New World” was Heroes’ last stand. Though there’s still “hope” for a Dollhouse-like reprieve, pulling 13 million less viewers than Two And A Half Men doesn’t bode well for the show. But first, let’s catch up a bit. As they say on tv, Previously On Heroes:

* After getting mind-schtupped and finding, then losing, Charlie, Hiro survives brain tumor surgery thanks to his mom.
* After permanently winning control of his body, then going to Claire for answers, Sylar asks Parkman to purge him of his powers, but gets trapped inside his own mind.
* After burying his brother, Peter learns that his new girlfriend might be responsible for a massacre. Gaining further insight through his mother’s ability, he journeys to Parkman’s home to rescue Sylar – the only person who can save her – and ends up reconciling with him.
* After briefly joining the Carnival and reconciling with Gretchen, Claire discovers Samuel arranged for Lydia’s murder as part of a bigger agenda. She and Noah are then trapped underground in a trailer by Samuel.

What follows is an example of the series’ depressing consistency – “World” is long on blondes but desperately short on action. Read the Post Nothing To See, Move Along: The Racialicious Review of Heroes 5.18

February 8, 2010 / / WTF?
February 2, 2010 / / asian-american

By Guest Contributor Bao Phi, originally published at the Star Tribune’s Your Voices Blog

(Thanks to Katie Leo, Darren Lee, Jasmine Tang, Charlotte Karem Albrecht, and Phil Yu, who proof-read and offered edits, thoughts and arguments for this entry, and a big shout out to Tatiana, Thuyet, Sajin, Lisa, Juliana, Jasmine, Darren, and the rest of our beloved people of color Lost Twin Cities viewing crew)

For much of my adult life, I didn’t watch television.  Except for the Simpsons and X-Files, I had not been a big fan of television since my early addictions to Robotech, Reading Rainbow, and Transformers.  I missed out on shows that a lot of my peers seemed to be into, like Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince.   Mostly because I didn’t have time to dedicate myself to a weekly viewing schedule, and I hated the idea of missing an episode if I did happen to fall in love with a series.  Added to this my growing unease with the lack of, or problematic depictions of, Asian and Asian Americans in media, and television became a pop culture blind spot I was more than willing to have.

With the invention of the DVD and being able to rent series from the video store, I began to rent shows and see what I had been missing.  One show that was getting considerable buzz in the Asian American community was Lost.  Until I started hearing murmurs from my peers about the show, I had dismissed it as that show about being stranded on an island starring that hobbit from Lord of the Rings.  But some very impassioned community members kept arguing about how great the writing was, the fantastic premise, and above all, the nuanced characters played by Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim. Despite all the positive buzz, I couldn’t quite believe it.

Asian Americans have good reason to be skeptical, when it comes to representation in film and television.  You either get racially displaced (see this great post on Racialicious regading whites cast as Asian: and that’s just the tip of the iceberg)  or, if Asians are portrayed at all, it’s usually as a male martial arts villain/punching dummy for a Caucasian hero, or a female victim in need of love and being saved from her war-torn homeland/her oppressive patriarchal culture by a white knight.  Pun intended.  Even in shows like E.R., where you’d think since it was based in Chicago hospitals that there’d be lots of Asians, there were just a token one or two.  You know those online quizzes where you answer a series of questions and it tells you what character you’d be on a television show or movie?  I don’t take those quizzes, because usually “Asian delivery boy #2” is not one of the outcomes.

What’s especially perplexing is the failure of American media, mainstream and alternative, to mention issues of race and representation when it comes to Asians.  As a person who reads pop culture reviews from Roger Ebert to the Onion’s AV Club to local papers such as the Star Tribune or City Pages, seldom have I found any American reviewer or commentator, regardless of race or gender, mention issues of representation when it comes to Asians and Asian Americans. From movies like The Painted Veil where Asians are relegated to mere backdrop, to films like Rambo and The Last Samurai where a white hero is inserted to save/slaughter Asians, to pop culture blockbuster shows like Battlestar Gallactica with its loaded and problematic Asian female character, to films like 21 and Avatar: the Last Airbender, where Asians are outright replaced by whites, one cannot find many instances where reviewers and commentators think race regarding Asians and Asian Americans is worth mentioning or discussing.

Read the Post Why I Still Watch Lost

November 5, 2009 / / diversity

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


What’s the bigger piece of sci-fi: that everybody on the planet can be knocked the you-know-what out at once, or that an imprecise recitation of Schroedinger’s Cat can work as a pick-up line?…

… No, really, let me know. If the latter is even close to plausible, I’ve still got the monologue on my DVR so I can transcribe it. Meantime, let’s see what the Table thought of “Scary Monsters and Super Creeps.”

SUPER CHO + JETT JACKSON TEAM-UP HOUR! Demetri is like Midas on this show. But it already looks like he’s starting to burn out, no?

Mahsino: Like I said in our first roundtable for this: Demetri’s back must be tired from all this show carrying he’s doing. Yeah Stan and Al are lightening the load, but still… I’m just hoping his “murder file” was just a cover up for witness protection and he’s in a short coma during April 29. Yeah, it would be really convenient, but I’ll take it.
Diana: I like the Demetri/Jett Jackson pairing much better than Demetri/Shakespeare. Mahsino, I’m with you. I’m hoping his lack of a flashforward and his murder can be explained by something else.
jen*: Great to see them together, and any pairing with Fiennes is gonna suck in comparison to one with Jett Jackson – from jump. I liked the ~Blue Hand~ exposition without our British buddy, but I’d love for Cho to get a revelation of his own – maybe some way to change his “destiny”? Read the Post The Racialicious Roundtable For Flash Forward 1.6

October 20, 2009 / / african-american

by Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, originally published at Televisual

When new technologies emerge a host of new companies tend to sprout up. Tons of independent radio stations catering to diverse interests before 1970s-style deregulation. Digital technology brought dozens of new channels to television; that same technology fostered numerous production companies making independent TV and films. Now the drive to create original web video — a trend that dates back to the late 1990s, but has gained new steam with broadband and YouTube post-2006 — has attracted  new voices previously unheard. We have corporately produced web series, but also black web series and series made with virtually no budget at all.

Well, that’s great. But how do you distribute and promote all these shows and videos? Anyone can create a video, but if, like my YouTube videos, nobody sees them, then there isn’t much a point. Sure, decently endowed websites now fund and promote web shows. But what about black content, in many cases prone to smaller audiences?

Enter the sites pictured above. Entrepreneurs, keen to the problem of distribution, have created sites where folks looking for black content can go. Surprisingly it looks like all these sites are coming out around the same time — now.  As noted in my article in The Root, BET.com is just now getting into the market for original web shows; there’s been a lack of visibility from major black media companies. In my interviews I found numerous black producers didn’t know of the other black shows debuting online. Read the Post Black Hulu: Creating a Home for Independent Black Video

September 21, 2009 / / diversity

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


Heroes begins its’ fourth season Monday night in the throes of identity crises on- and off-screen: the show’s name doesn’t really fit anymore – almost none of the titular core cast wants to be “special” anymore, let alone superheroic – and its’ most important plotline centers around Sylar, a brain-scrambled villain.

elecsy1Previously, of course, the Big Bad was brainwashed into assuming the identity of Nathan, and subsequently assuming control of a federally-funded successor to Primatech, headed by Noah. In a rare bit of storytelling elegance, this set-up isn’t too far removed from the future Hiro encountered in Season One’s classic “Five Years Gone” episode. The upshot of this figures to be more time watching Adrian Pasdar and Zachary Quinto play opposite/with each other as SyNate.

Otherwise, there’s not much heroism going on: Matt Sr. is not just dealing with the psychic residue of Sylar, but guilt over his role in covering up Nathan’s death. Peter, Claire, Noah and Angela, we’ve been told throughout the summer, are “trying to get back to normal life” – but nobody’s asking for them to be those people again; only for them to have grown beyond that point, and aside from Noah and Angela, we haven’t gotten that consistent character development.

The poster child for the series’ stagnant development, Hiro, might fare better, albeit because his character will be forced to deal with his power threatening his health. Hiro, along with Ando, will reportedly be trying “to help people” back in Japan as the season opens. What, Noah and “Nate” couldn’t spring for Mohinder to run a few tests? (Also, anybody else concerned at the lack of Mo in the preview clips so far? That can’t be a good sign.)

Read the Post In Sylar They Trust: The Racialicious Roundtable vs. Heroes & the Fall TV Season