Downton Abbey: The Politics of Pig Farming

Downton Abbey vacillates between two extremes — measured costume drama and out-and-out soap opera. Last night’s episode, the second of the sixth and final season, was the latter, not the former. The episode’s main plot — an autumn farm festival — was the springboard for a number of smaller plots, but then there were other … Continue reading Downton Abbey: The Politics of Pig Farming

Downton Abbey: An Auspicious Beginning to the Final Season

Downton Abbey was returning. It was impossible to avoid on PBS in recent weeks. There were ad spots between shows. “The Final Season,” we were reminded again and again. PBS’s biggest show ever, winner of Golden Globes and Primetime Emmy Awards. It all got to be a bit too much. Friday night, following the Sherlock … Continue reading Downton Abbey: An Auspicious Beginning to the Final Season

Moriarty’s Identity and the Sherlock Christmas Special

Last night, PBS’s Masterpiece Theater aired the Sherlock Christmas special, “The Abominable Bride.” That was well-made nonsense. If you ever thought the biggest problem with the Canon was that it wasn’t phildickian enough, Moffat and Gatiss wanted to reassure you that, yes, Sherlock Holmes can indeed mess with your mind. “The Abominable Bride” wasn’t what … Continue reading Moriarty’s Identity and the Sherlock Christmas Special

How to Make a Foundation Television Series

Some discussion of the post-Asimov Foundation novels elsewhere prompted me to see what was happening with the Foundation movie that was in development. I wrote about this first in 2004, and then in 2001. It turns out there was a new development last year — Jonathan Nolan, writer of Interstellar, is developing a television series … Continue reading How to Make a Foundation Television Series

Elementary: Kitty Winter, Sherlock Holmes, and “The One That Got Away”

I keep thinking about last night’s Elementary, “The One That Got Away.” In the third season of Elementary, Sherlock Holmes took on a new partner, Kitty Winter, while Watson struck out on her own as a private investigator. So as not to break the format too much, Holmes and Watson both consulted with the NYPD, … Continue reading Elementary: Kitty Winter, Sherlock Holmes, and “The One That Got Away”

Downton Abbey: The Bad Decisions of Robert Crawley

Throughout the day, I tried to think of something to say about last night’s Downton Abbey. I really can’t. Stuff happened. I watched it. None of it really stands out in my mind. Let me think… Robert is a blundering and incompetant dolt. There’s an offer for a business deal which he rejects out of … Continue reading Downton Abbey: The Bad Decisions of Robert Crawley

Downton Abbey, Season Five: Thoughts

Last Sunday, Downton Abbey returned to PBS for its fifth season on Masterpiece Theater. I feel that, at this point, I’m watching the series to snark at it. Withnail is on #DowntonAbbey tonight! I demand some booze! I want the finest wines known to man! We've gone on holiday by mistake! — Allyn Gibson (@allyngibson) … Continue reading Downton Abbey, Season Five: Thoughts

The AV Club Weighs In on the “Elementary vs. Sherlock” Question

The Onion‘s AV Club has posted an insightful and nuanced take on Elementary and Sherlock in comparison to each other. Though I try not to compare the two series (because they really are different things with different aims), I find myself in agreement with a lot of it, frankly; I keep wondering how Sherlock‘s cast … Continue reading The AV Club Weighs In on the “Elementary vs. Sherlock” Question