For our bracket, we selected the 16 greatest, most influential shows since The Real World. (Yes, PBS’s 1971 An American Family was important, but a different animal from modern reality.) But to stage a more brutal fight, we did not pit the shows as an entity against each other: We picked each series’ greatest season. So many of these shows thrive on their consistency (read: repetition), with Survivor’s 28 seasons of alliances and blindsides, The Bachelor’s 18 journeys (and Bachelorette’s nine), and Top Chef’s restaurant wars. These reliable beats are part of these shows’ appeal, but when mercilessly judging them as a whole, it is easy to apply debits for this predictability. So instead we made our contest about the best seasons of these greatest shows: The Osbournes’ first, hilarious introduction to stars-are-just-like-us celebreality. American Idol’s second-season showdown between Clay and Ruben. Season one of The Hills, before … [Read more...] about The Reality Rumble: What’s the Greatest Reality-TV Season Ever?
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Ink Master ticks each box for the reality-contest checklist: It’s based on an unusual skill in a largely insular industry; the contestants are all passably decent (at least to a layman’s eye); and the judging — by tattoo legend Oliver Peck, Miami Ink alum Chris Nuñez, and, uh, Dave Navarro — is expert, harsh, and hugely informative. It’s the kind of show that at once demystifies a process (oh, that’s how you make a color tattoo really seem three-dimensional!) and deifies its practitioners (oh, and she is really good at it!). Each episode tests the artists on a different facet of tattooing: dimension, shading, old school, new school, cover-ups — even prison tattoos got an episode. When done well, shows like Ink Master (which airs tonight) create an instant hobby. Passion is inherently interesting, even when it’s not a passion you necessarily share. I didn’t mean to care this much about who can do the best photo-realistic … [Read more...] about Skill-Based Contests Are the Best Kind of Reality TV
Following on from hits such as Isn't It Romantic? and Love Wedding Repeat, Netflix now feels like the natural home for romantic comedy and its latest, Love Guaranteed, doesn't disappoint. Why? Because it knows all the clichés we love and celebrates them. Rachael Leigh Cook and Damon Wayans Jr star as a chalk-and-cheese lawyer and client, heading to court to sue a dating website for false promises. And though they struggle with each other at first, you know just where this is heading. … [Read more...] about Netflix: best movies to watch this week – September 2020
I needed a better connection to my father than I had, and the one I found was Adam-12, a series that was, in a way, designed with almost insidious perfection as My First Police Show — a smooth transition from kids’ TV into the grown-up world. For one thing, it was only 30 minutes; for another, that half-hour was usually divided among two or three bite-size, easy-to-follow, often amazingly uneventful stories of two white cops on the beat in Los Angeles (a city as exotic as Mars to a child who had never been west of New Jersey). For most of its seven-year run, it aired at 8 p.m., accommodating my bedtime. It was even, literally, the perfect shape for a TV series, by which I mean a show to be viewed on an old-fashioned 4:3 screen. The visual that dominated almost every episode was a two-shot of its main characters: Officer Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) — about 30, cranky, and sour — behind the wheel and, next to him, Officer Jim Reed (Kent McCord) — younger, … [Read more...] about Real-Life Cops, and Me
Ramona is really a human mood ring, just vacillating between emotions like changing from deep blue to cobalt to a frosty mint. She sways this way and that; her feelings are as changeable as a cloud bank rolling across the heavens. But for now, Ramona is having fun. She and Aviva toss a few more back together and stare into each other’s eyes, thinking about the possibilities of the year, the uncertainty of their contractually obligated future. They toast and smile. Eventually they get up and totter out of the restaurant together to hail cabs. They stumble back and forth on the sidewalk before reaching out for their respective chariots. What Ramona doesn’t realize is that in the all the fun, she seems to have lost a shoe. She’s like Cinderella or just some careless sorority girl who doesn’t know better. But there it is, a pump, sitting in the gutter telling some indistinct story that will definitely confuse a middle-aged man when he picks it up and tosses it in … [Read more...] about Season-Six Premiere Recap: New Girl, Same As the Old