For most of the history of television, the barrier to syndication—and to profitability—has been 100 episodes. The shows that have made it to that mark are an unusual group. Many were big hits. Some found small cult audiences. Still others just hung on as best they could and never posted numbers quite low enough to be canceled. In 100 Episodes, we examine the shows that made it to that number, considering both how they advanced and reflected the medium and what contributed to their popularity. Television shows, like the babies born to casual acquaintances, attract intense scrutiny at their inception and in their early development. We make pronouncements on how they resemble their parents, cheer their precociousness, assess their promise. Then they turn into children, and we stop traveling in their circles. Before you know it, it’s nine years down the road, you catch a glimpse of a network promo, and the utterly unoriginal yet inevitable reflex reaction … [Read more...] about On the eve of its finale, it’s time to compare
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This week, DC Comics, along with former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, is bringing back Doom Patrol. This team of superpowered misfits has been around for decades, and this isn’t the first time they’ve been brought back. In fact, it’s kind of their thing. Here’s what you need to know about DC’s “latest” superteam. The Origins Advertisement The Doom Patrol came about, surprisingly for a team that would focus on people regarded as outsiders in society, due to a need for new superheroes. in 1963 DC Comics was in the process of converting many of its comic books from the golden age into superhero-focused series—and writer Arnold Drake was tasked with turning one such series, the sci-fi adventure anthology My Greatest Adventure, into a new superhero book. Working with fellow writer Bob Haney and artist Bruno Premiani, Drake came up with the idea for the Doom Patrol: a group of people who were given superpowers under freakish … [Read more...] about The Many Bizarre Lives of DC Comics’
Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory (pictured) first nailed down the fast radio burst repeater FRB121102 in 2016. No small feat. Universal Images Group via Getty Images Advertisement Our universe is flashing with random blasts of radio waves and, until now, their origin has been a complete mystery. Called fast radio bursts, or FRBs, these apparently random flashes in the sky were detected in 2007 when radio astronomers pored over historic data recorded a few years earlier. These pulses appear in different parts of the sky, and they seem to be happening all the time. The problem has been that FRBs haven't repeated in the same location, making follow-up observations nigh impossible. That was until 2016, when the famous Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico found the FRB equivalent of the holy grail: an FRB repeater. This eruption, called FRB121102, was emanating from a galaxy 3 billion light-years away, and now that astronomers have been able to study its repeating flashes, they think … [Read more...] about Has the ‘Twisted’ Mystery of Fast Radio Bursts Been Solved?
Sitcoms don’t really lend themselves to ambition, and the the ones that have strived for more nontraditional presentations (The Good Place notwithstanding) tend not to have the best track record—just look at Mixology or Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ misbegottenWatching Ellie. Character and comedy are the driving forces of a good sitcom, so layering in a lofty concept has the potential to distract from the format’s simple pleasures. Advertisement Me, Myself & I’s central gimmick—following one character, Alex Riley, across three pivotal times in his life—is so quietly subversive because it simultaneously enhances the sitcom’s familiarity as it alters the way one delivers laughs, lessons, and emotional resonance. By showing how a single decision or relationship can ripple throughout the years, the show has the ability to establish stakes and earn unexpected comedic and emotional payoffs in ways other shows of its ilk can’t. We see that … [Read more...] about Me, Myself & I