Death of a President


Last night, NBC debuted yet another new series with a documentary style structure. The network is no stranger to the format, but this show is apparently more confusing for viewers than, say, The Office and Parks and Recreation. The difference is that this show, Siberia, is not a comedy. It’s a fictional show that plays like a reality game show. Any blurbs calling it “Survivor meets Lost” are unnecessary praise because that is literally what is intended. The premise is a more anarchic take on a Survivor-type show, dropping contestants in the middle of the notorious Russian region, while the pilot is nearly a play-by-play of a crash-less version of the Lost pilot, complete with a male version of Shannon (he even sunbathes while everyone else works together as a team) and an unidentified creature in the woods, a la “The Smoke Monster.” By the time Siberia starts to get deadly, the audience should be fully aware that this is not a real reality show. That is if they aren’t already keen enough to see the impossible camerawork (common to other doc-style fiction series) or haven’t bothered looking up the program on IMDb or NBC’s website. But why would they go looking if they believed it to be just another nonfiction show? There’s not much that indicates otherwise in the opening credits (no writers are listed and the cast is listed by first name only) and while the network isn’t necessarily trying to dupe viewers, its marketing of the show […]


Movies Arent to Blame For Real World Violence

While it’s not the media witch hunt of the mid-90s, it needs to be reiterated that movies and other pieces of art are not to blame for violent acts. A national tragedy has both left us numb and stirred up the slumbering emotions of a fevered national discourse, and while it’s important to air those grievances (no matter what end of the spectrum we fall on), it’s imperative that pundits of all stripes keep a level head and avoid irresponsibly throwing art under the bus for the sobering acts of one individual. Unfortunately, several media outlets have – in their hurry to toss more examples onto the argumentative fire – evoked the name of a four-year-old festival film from Britain (that few people saw) in order to help prove a trend in filmmaking of inciting violence against public officials. A trend, of course, that does not exist. To callously toss Death of a President out into a sea of negative context and to suggest that public entities of varying types should have decried the film as hateful is to tacitly champion censorship of the worst kind. It’s to quietly claim that some subject matter is off limits, and that’s unacceptable.

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published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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