Sunday, December 25, 2011

Year in Review, 2011

A year that began with me in the hospital ends with me teaching a course (on Doctor Who) in London.

Life is good. Joyce continues to do an amazing job as executive director of Safe Haven Family Shelter in Nashville; Rachel (married last August to Neel Dhingra) is still a lawyer in New York; Sarah (married last May to Jason Porterfield) works for Read to Succeed in Murfreesboro; Adelyn Belle Porterfield turns two (2!) in January. Sons-in-law and a granddaughter to dream of.

2011 saw the publication of three new books:  TV Goes to Hell: An Unofficial Road Map of Supernatural (ECW Press), co-edited with Stacey Abbott;  The Essential Sopranos Reader (UP of Kentucky);  Joss Whedon: Conversations (U P of Mississippi), co-edited with Cynthia Burkhead.

I continued to write my own blog-——-and one for Critical Studies in Television as well--Telegenic.

Doug Howard, Michele Byers, and I founded Series/Season/Show: An Online Journal about Television Texts.
And I became an expert witness in a major network television law suit.

In the year ahead, I will be finishing work on a textbook, Television Art, for Blackwell; my long-delayed Joss Whedon, A Creative Portrait: From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers (Tauris) will finally see the light of day; I will teach a summer course on Moby-Dick and be co-convener of the 5th Slayage Conference on the Wheonverses (July).

Happy holidays and have a great 2012.

Off to London

I leave for London tomorrow, where I will be teaching a Doctor Who course. Minimal or no blogging for the next two weeks.

Artist of the Week will continue each day.

Happy holidays everyone.

Artist of the Week, 12/25/11: Giuseppi Arcimboldo

Arcimboldo, Water

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Oil We Don't Have

David Harewood

I knew that David Estes, the ambitious CIA official who has stood in the way of Carrie Mathison's instinct about Nicholas Brody's agenda, looked familiar.

But it was not until I rewatched The Doctor Who special "The End of Time" that I realized where I had seen him--as billionaire Joshua Naismith.

Artist of the Week, 12/21/11: Francisco Goya

Goya, Inquisition Scene

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shirley Henderson

Watching Todd Solondz's Life During Wartime and kept thinking the actress, Shirley Henderson (on the right), playing Joy looked familiar.

Sure enough, the IMDB reminded me: Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and one of the members of L.I.N.D.A. in "Love and Monsters" (Doctor Who 2.10).

"2011's Hollywood By the Numbers: THR Year in Review"

An interesting Hollywood Reporter slide show.

Artist of the Week, 12/17/11: Francisco Goya

Goya, The Family of King Carlos 4th

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Twas the Month Before Iowa"

This was posted today on The Daily Beast.


[Original by Clement Moore, Updated version by Mauiboy 2011]

Twas the month before Iowa and all through the land
Not a creature was stirring not even Ayn Rand.
The candidates were crisscrossing the state with flair
In hopes the state’s caucuses would cast their names there.

The farmers were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of ethanol subsidies danced in their heads.
Mama’s got her snuff and I with my booze, lest
we settled down for one more GOP snooze-fest.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appears,
But a withering debate and six tiny right-wingers.
And the head of the group, so angry and so lewd.
I knew in a moment it must be St. Newt.

More vapid than rabid dogs, his colleagues they came
He berated and belittled them as he called them by name.
Now Romney, Now Bachmann Now Huntsman and Paul
On Santorum, On Perry On Trump and on all.

To the top of the heap, to the top of the polls
Dash away dash away dash away all.
He spoke not a word and went straight to work
Disavowing his old record and acting the jerk.

And laying a finger to the rest of the pack
“I’m not a politician” he claimed
Fingers crossed behind his back.
He turned to the others to lecture them all
Romney, he said would take a big fall
Bachmann inauthentic, Perry a twit
Paul and Santorum, not worthy of spit.
Then he saved the media for the last
Fire in his eyes, he let out a huge blast.

Through spittle, and sweat and part of his meal
He lambasted, he derided, he cajoled, he reeled.
“They coddle the poor, they enable the elite,
They play gotcha with the wealthy and they belittle the effete.”

With that he stood up and peered out at the crowd
He left the others behind as he grumbled and growled.
He puffed out his chest and he said with some glee
“I am Newt Gingrich, I WILL be the nominee!”

Artist of the Week, 12/16/11: Francisco Goya

Goya, Cudgels

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


My last contribution to the "Great Buffy Rewatch" on Nik at Nite is up now. Read it here.

Frank Stallings, Charles Dean

At the CCSA orientation in Louisville earlier this month, I learned, sadly, that Frank Stallings, a colleague (and a neighbor) when I taught at Northern Kentucky University early in my career, had passed away.

And now today comes the news that Charles Dean, the English Department's senior faculty member when I arrived at MTSU, has died as well.

Two genuine losses. Authentically kind and wise individuals--role models to a younger faculty member. I will mourn their loss.

Mamet, Now Officially Bonkers

In abandonment of the state of Israel, the West reverts to pagan sacrifice, once again, making a burnt offering not of that which one possesses, but of that which is another’s. As Realpolitik, the Liberal West’s anti-Semitism can be understood as like Chamberlain’s offering of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, a sop thrown to terrorism. On the level of conscience, it is a renewal of the debate on human sacrifice. - David Mamet, WSJ

Just nominated for Andrew Sullivan's Michelle Malkin award.

"All American Muslims"

Jon Stewart dismantles the controversy over a show deemed unaceptable by the right because it doesn't engage in Muslim stereotyping.


A caller on NPR's On Point yesterday suggested that the Tim Tebow controversy should lead to a "separation of church and football."

As a fellow Gator, I couldn't agree more.

Artist of the Week, 12/14/11: Francisco Goya

Goya, Little Giants

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"The Big Bang": The Doctor "Dances"

The Doctor dancing at Amy and Rory's wedding--a new addition to the dancing Hall of Shame, joining Elaine's "dry heave set to music" on Seinfeld and Angel (and Wesley's) hilariousness on Angel.

Watch Elaine dance on YouTube.

Whole Foods v. Cracker Barrel

A fascinating, and possibly predictive, comparison.

Heard in "Amy's Choice"

What a nice . . . bench. What will they think of next!
--The Doctor

Heard on "Flesh and Stone"

The Doctor: Can I trust you River Song?
River Song: Yeah, but where's the fun in that?

Amy Pond: You laughed!
The Doctor: No! That was just a snort, of fondness.

The Doctor: That's the problem. You make all of space and time your backyard, and that's what you have: a backyard.

Artist of the Week, 12/23/11: Francisco Goya

Goya, The Shootings of May 3, 1808

Friday, December 09, 2011

"Morning Joe"

I have called Morning Joe "unwatchable," though I have begun to watch it occasionally.

This morning Scarborough was absent, and I found it fun and informative--somewhat the same way I find Hardball much better sans Chris Matthews.

I do find the new Morning Joe ad intriguing, turning its talking heads into cult news characters. Scarborough (the ad suggests) is decadent, in need to CPR to get his day started, and possibly gay; Willie Geist is a 24 hour playboy; Mike Barnacle is a homeless drunk; Mika is an exercise fanatic and the only one with her act together

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"''How I Met Your Mother': The Optimism Of Inevitability"

Read it on the NPR website.

"Kamikaze Swimmers Finally Reach Pearl Harbor"

The Onion has the story.

Artist of the Week, 12/9/11: Chaim Soutine

Soutine, Tree of Vence

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

"Are you my mummy?"

Watching "The Poison Sky" (Who, 4,5).

At one point the Doctor dawns a gas mask and asks of the British General

Are you my mummy?

--evoking, of course, Season One's "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances."

"To Be," Act 2 (Spoiler Warning)

Last night's Sons of Anarchy season finale was incredibly disappointing.

It has long been a narrative no no [NNN] to procure fan investment in a story line and then reveal that thread to be inconsequential, but with the revelation (very early on) of the CIA's behind the scene's manipulation of the guns / cartel / drugs / Irish arc, Kurt Sutter and company committed just such a NNN. It's hard to imagine what they were thinking.

Zack Handlen takes "To Be" 2 apart on The Onion TV Club, though his B- grade is way too high. C- is more like it.

Television Winners and Losers

A terrific slide show from Jace Lacob on The Daily Show.

Artist of the Week, 12/17/11: Chaim Soutine

Soutine, Returning from School