Designated Survivor is back, and is still trying to be two shows at once

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The world is full of stories that have already been told. It’s nearly impossible, in fact, to avoid all tropes and formulas when you’re making something new, because those familiar elements of storytelling are part of a language we all speak. It becomes a problem only when it’s a) plagiarism, or b) when it so lacks…

13 onscreen female presidents who would be better than Donald Trump

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the day that will live in infamy: the election of Donald J. Trump. On one hand, it feels like yesterday; on the other, it seems like 200 exhausting years have passed, full of Twitter rants and never-ending embarrassing moments by our ridiculous and dangerous commander in…

A fun hour on 24: Legacy enters disaster mode and generates some terrific comedy

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I’m never sure how comfortable we’re supposed to be with CTU’s magic surveillance technology. In the context of the show, the good guys’ astonishing ability to track nearly everyone and everything (albeit never quite well enough to completely stop the bad guys) seems to be presented as an undeniable positive. But…

Jack Bauer’s gone but torture and Middle Eastern terrorists still threaten 24: Legacy

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Within the first five minutes of the newest season of 24—or rather, the very first season of 24: Legacy because this is a reboot or remake or whatever—we see Middle Eastern terrorists on American soil murdering an Army Ranger after torturing him for information. Later, we meet a high school student from Chechnya who’s…

Kiefer Sutherland might be back to torture us all on the new 24

After years of shouting at, shooting near, and just generally climbing all over the President of the United States, Kiefer Sutherland has finally gotten the job himself. But just because he’s now the head of state on ABC’s Designated Survivor—where he plays a low-ranking Cabinet member who’s suddenly thrust into the…

Watch what you read: 19 essential books about TV

Among its 100-plus lists, the 2009 Inventory book (now available for the low, low price of a penny!) contains “TV Guides: 5 essential books about TV.” The books it highlights—The Late Shift by Bill Carter, Live From New York by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales, Total Television by Alex McNeil, The Glass Teat by…