Best Of The Web
“Chernobyl, which wrapped up its five-episode run on HBO last week, is one of the more unlikely hits of 2019—a bleak, panicky, emetic drama about a nuclear disaster whose defining stylistic qualities were British accents, a fanatical commitment to historical detail, and a score that sounded like two pieces of metal being scraped together. And yet: I loved it. Lots of other people did, too, so much so that it’s currently the highest-rated drama on IMDb of all time. Chernobyl was urgent. It was the kind of show whose stakes were so high that a two-degree helicopter detour could mean death. It was allegorical. And, best of all, the whole thing concluded in less than six hours.
It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that television episodes are getting longer. The paradox of living in this specific cultural moment is that people have less free time than ever and infinitely more things to watch—and yet the powers that be have been compelled to stretch many of those shows into packages that rival, in their running time, the audiobook of Moby Dick. Single installments in dramatic series run 70, 80, even 90 minutes long. Mid-season streaming episodes in which not a single dynamic thing happens reliably last an entire hour. Even existing shows returning for contemporary continuations or reboots are getting drawn out into formats that simply don’t do them favors. PBS’s 1993 miniseries based on Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City clocked in at six episodes; the new Netflix update runs to 10. The Twilight Zone, that paragon of cogent speculative storytelling, has been stretched out into a flabby, hour-long format by CBS All Access.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"When Mark Twain observed that rumors of his death had been “greatly exaggerated,” he left out the fact that those words would become true eventually, as they did in 1910 when the great American author died. Similarly, given the huge resources..."
"No one is going to confuse President Trump’s remarks Tuesday at the Economic Club of New York with anything approaching eloquence. He is at his worst when he stiffly reads the teleprompter or flies widely off script with gratuitous remarks about..."
"Everything we think we know about the shape of the universe could be wrong. Instead of being flat like a bedsheet, our universe may be curved, like a massive, inflated balloon, according to a new study. That’s the upshot of a new paper published..."
"Being lonely hurts — it can even negatively impact your health. But the mere act of being alone with oneself doesn’t have to be bad, and experts say it can even benefit your social relationships, improve your creativity and confidence, and help..."
"Sen. Elizabeth Warren is campaigning for a 2% surtax on anyone’s net worth over $50 million and 6% on more than $1 billion. Most discussion of the wealth tax has focused on whether it could generate sufficient revenue to fund Ms. Warren’s..."
"TV depression looks fabulous. I’d love to have that kind of depression. And it’s not just TV depression; any mental illness on-screen looks rather thrilling. Either it’s dark and dramatic — unlike day-to-day depression, which is at best super..."
"Hebrew remained, to Oz, Zionism’s greatest achievement. Certainly, it was the one he was least ambivalent about. “I have said many times that I’m a chauvinist only in respect of the language,” he told the Paris Review. “I feel for the language..."
"Talk about missed connections. Earlier this week, hundreds of people received seemingly random text messages, out of context and out of the blue, addressed from friends, family, and loved ones. The first part of the mystery was solved pretty..."