Television Man

TV | by Aidan Morgan

It’s too bad I agreed to write a television column at this point in my life, because I just saw the Squatty Potty ad on YouTube with a cartoon unicorn pooping rainbow ice cream, and now I no longer care about television, or columns, or anything that isn’t the Squatty Potty. Such is life.

Avengers End, Game Of Thrones

Whoa, friends. I witnessed a grand cultural event over a recent weekend, the culmination of years of storytelling, a grand battle of enormous stakes in which some characters triumphed and others got stabbed through the eye. It was epic. It was amazing. It was irritatingly and extremely hard to follow at times, but mostly it was a spewing cornucopia of fan-service callbacks and fist-pumping moments designed to give audiences what they wanted, when perhaps those audiences would better have been served by being challenged and surprised.

I speak, of course, of Avengers: Endgame. No, I speak of Game of Thrones (HBO). The only difference is that I watched one at a theatre and the other at home. For some reason they’re calling Game of Thrones television, even though it ran 80 minutes and had a budget that kicks most feature-length movies into a moat of fire and sharpened sticks.

As far back as The Sopranos in 2000, critics proclaimed that television had begun to oust cinema as the sole purveyor of nuanced, adult storytelling. Now the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Game of Thrones have given us remarkably similar stories. One of them features sex, gore and profanity, and somehow, it’s the television show. It is the most spectacular and stark demonstration of the collapse of once-distinct modes of entertainment into a single stream whose only meaningful indicator is scale.

Friends, this is weird.

On The Edge Of Greyness

If you want nuance and complexity in your storytelling, may I suggest the second season of She-ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix)? She-ra is the latest in an increasingly long line of children’s animated shows that blend high adventure and afterschool special lessons with moral complexity and an intense, tangled relationship between hero Adora and villain Catra.

The second season, which runs a brisk seven episodes, dispenses with the expository setup that slowed down season one and digs deeper into the world of Etheria and its rainbow geographies. She-ra proves that even characters with names like Mermista and Spinerella deserve care and attention.

Best of all, the theme song is awful. You can skip the intro, but once heard, it will never leave your head.