A Republic, if we can keep our TV shows

Featured image When Scotland was getting set to vote on whether to leave Great Britain, “stay” supporters raised the specter that an exit might mean loss of access to popular BBC television series. The “leave” movement took pains to assure Scots they would still be able to watch such shows as EastEnders, Doctor Who, and Strictly Come Dancing. Scotland voted to stay, so we never found out whether an independent Scotland would »

A Rare Foray Into Culture Criticism

Featured image I can put up with just about any Game of Thrones sub-plot, as long as the show eventually gets back to Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. But the current Arya Stark misery, with no name or no face or whatever it is–no eyesight, for sure–needlessly and stupidly sidelines one of the program’s best characters. The story is boring, repetitious and as far as I can tell, going nowhere. We don’t »

Mad Men signs off with class and aplomb

Featured image The final episode of Mad Men, the long running hit cable show, aired last night. If you haven’t seen it but plan to, read no further. Mad Men is an overrated show, but that’s mainly because no television show could be as good as gushing liberals deem it. Why do liberals love Mad Men so? I think it’s because it tells them that America in the early 1960s was not »

Heh: House of Bricks, Indeed

Featured image Everyone waiting to binge-watch the next installment of House of Cards next week ought to satisfy himself in the meantime with this four-minute Sesame Street parody.  (I didn’t know Sesame Street was still on, and for the record, in my opinion the original British House of Cards from 25 years ago was better, and when is someone going to make the American version of Yes, Prime Minister?  What’s that you »

Do Jews have a future in France?

Featured image Ten years ago, on the one and only occasion I met Bat Ye’or, I told her that my wife’s cousin and her family of six, living in a Paris suburb with a large, increasingly hostile Muslim population, should seriously consider leaving France. Bat Ye’or strongly disagreed with me, arguing that French Jews should stay and fight. The family did stay and it did fight — literally in the case of »

Paris Suspects Identified, One With Terrorist History [Updated]

Featured image One of the three terrorists believed to have carried out this morning’s attack on Charlie Hebdo has turned himself into the police, while authorities apparently are closing in on the other two, reportedly in Reims: The youngest suspect in today’s deadly attack at a satirical newspaper’s office in Paris has turned himself in, French police said, while the other two are “on the loose, armed and dangerous.” Officials identified the »

ISIS’s rise was known for more than a year to anyone paying attention

Featured image Yesterday came word, through a former Pentagon official, that President Obama received detailed and specific intelligence about the rise of ISIS via the President’s Daily Brief for at least a year before the group took large swaths of territory beginning in June 2014. The former official told Fox News that the data was strong, and “granular” in detail. He added that a policy maker “could not come away with any »

The Americans: Check It Out!

Featured image A couple of weeks ago Scott linked to an article in the Wall Street Journal about the top television shows of 2013 in our Picks. My wife followed the link and learned about a series neither of us had heard of, called The Americans. She thought it sounded intriguing–it’s about Soviet spies living under cover in the U.S. during the 1980s–so we bought Episode 1 and watched it. Then we »

Another Totally Frivolous Pop Culture Post

Featured image So a week or so ago on my post on “Jay Leno For President,” I noticed that frequent Power Line commenter David Hill’s FB identification reads: “Works at Veridian Dynamics.”  No way!  This is almost as good as spotting the Fred Hirsch Social Limits to Growth reference on The Big Bang Theory.  Better Off Ted (the home of Veridian Dynamics) was one of my favorite short-lived shows (not as short-lived as »

A random “Mad Men” thought

Featured image Irving Kristol said that a neoconservative is “a liberal who was mugged by reality.” If so, then Abe Drexler — the lefty new-journalist in “Mad Men” — must have gone on to become one of Kristol’s prime neocon disciples. »

Live from pump 16, Burbank

Featured image I learn via Twitter that the video below featured this past Wednesday on the Tonight Show has gone viral. BuzzFeed explains: “Pumpcast News” is a Tonight Show sketch in which actor Tim Stack, posing as the anchor of a (fake) news show aired at gas station pumps, starts to talk directly to the unsuspecting gas station patrons. While usually the intention of the sketch is to frighten and shock normal »

Video of the Week

Featured image It is not necessary to be a Trekkie (but really, why wouldn’t you be?) to appreciate the intergenerational rivalry of this Audi ad featuring the original Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) versus the “rebooted” younger Spock, Zachary Quinto. And kudos to Nimoy, for being game to spoof the most embarrassing moment of his entire career; and no, I don’t mean that Trek episode where he got the seven-year Vulcan itch.  Rather, »

Big Bangers Indeed

Featured image Ken Masugi’s long post about “The Big Bang Theory” (the TV show, not the theory) at the LibertyLaw site deserves more notice than just a link in our Picks section.  Do read it; it is philosophical-scientific-cultural criticism at its best, with a special bonus of James Schall. I’ve been meaning to comment on BBT myself, but keep putting it off.  BBT is clearly the best TV science fiction comedy since »

Does This Ad Make Me Look Racist?

Featured image One thing you can count on is the gullibility and endless reserves of outrage of the professional victimologists of the Left.  Case in point: Volkswagen has released a new ad for the Super Bowl that has the Sensitivity Police yelling “racism!” at the top of their lungs.  Please.  Grow up people.  The ad already has over 1.5 million views on YouTube.  Volkswagen and their ad agency must be pleased with »

Larry Hagman, RIP [Updated With a Tribute to Jeannie]

Featured image Larry Hagman, who died yesterday at the age of 81, was of course best known for playing the evil J.R. Ewing on Dallas, a show that I never much watched and found boring on the few occasions when I did.  I enjoyed Hagman much more on I Dream of Jeannie.  I recall backpacking around Europe in the summer of 1980 right after graduating from college, and people I’d meet, upon »


Featured image Now he’s done it.  It wasn’t enough for Francis Fukuyama to declare (rather prematurely) the “end of history”; now he’s gone and declaimed about The Wire, the greatest television show ever done (except for Firefly, but that’s a rant for another day).   Actually, it’s quite a good piece.  Fukuyama notes that the series creator, David Simon, is a lefty who thought he was making a proto-Marxist critique of American society: »

Bill Katz: He won’t be right back

Featured image Occasional contributor Bill Katz holds down the fort at Urgent Agenda. Bill is a man of many parts, a few of which go back to his days as a producer on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Bill writes to mark the twentieth anniversary of the last show with Johnny: Tuesday will mark the 20th anniversary of Johnny Carson’s last show. There will be appropriate commemorations and notices. Already, PBS’s »