The fatal flaw of George Clooney’s Catch-22

Episode 102

Christopher Abbott as Yossarian prepares to fly yet another mission.

Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 is a classic American novel about World War II, bureaucracy, the illogic underpinning our social charades, and the courageous use of cowardice to do the one thing that really matters: survive. It is long, dense, and nonlinear, with a large cast of characters who represent Heller’s satires of capitalism, incompetence, American exceptionalism, and more.

Previous attempts to translate Catch-22 in motion pictures proved difficult. Mike Nichols’s 1971 film fell flat before critics and audiences, though Heller himself praised it. A 1973 TV series fizzled before it got off the ground. Now, Hulu and George Clooney have produced a six-part miniseries and most reviews contend that Heller’s epic novel has finally been given the treatment it deserves. Continue reading

How Better Call Saul stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Breaking Bad

Saul-Mike

The show’s dual lead characters, Mike Ehrmantraut and Jimmy McGill, before Walter White turns their worlds upside down.

Spinoff shows don’t usually generate the same enthusiasm and critical appreciation as their parent series. In today’s Golden Age of Television, the very term “spinoff” connotes an idea that’s run its course but left a few bucks on the table for a studio to scrape up. Not so with Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, a show that manages to have an identity of its own while living with its epoch-defining parent’s legacy. Continue reading

South Park is having its best season in years

Historic SodaSopa, located in South Park's most desirable neighborhood, Kenny's House.

Historic SodaSopa, located in South Park’s most desirable neighborhood, Kenny’s House.

A staggering 19 seasons in and South Park is as poignant, sharp and funny as it’s ever been. It hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing for the show. Heavy-handedness bogged it down for a few seasons and somewhere along the line, episodes began revolving around single jokes. But it’s back in top form now, tackling political correctness and 2015 America with the appropriate amount of both cynicism and affection. Continue reading