The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant encourages you to hunker down for some binge enjoyment of Documentary Now!, Bill Hader, Seth Myers, and Fred Armisen’s sly and brilliant take on all types of documentaries and their tropes. The Eye Doesn’t Lie, a perfect satire of The Thin Blue Line and all docs trying to exonerate a wrongly convicted innocent, revolves around a hitchhiker denied the right to rock out to Poison in a jazz aficionado’s car. And the frame up begins. The faux music doc, Gentle and Soft: The Story of the Blue Jean Committee, features cameos by Cameron Crowe and Kenny Loggins. The Rant became giddy.

The breadth of quality on television at the moment reminds The Rant of the golden decade for movies in the 70s. To take comic book adaptations as only one example, both D.C. and Marvel only seem interested in how many ways they can destroy a city or prop up the next leg of the franchise in their movies1, while on television series like Supergirl, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones have genuine characters with diverse casts that explore what it really means to be human and good and a community, which attracts people to the genre in the first place.

To understand the ascendancy of television, The Rant directs your attention to showrunners, the men and women that shepherd a series through each episode. First and foremost, showrunners are writers, and the control bestowed on them has attracted the best writers in entertainment, which means the best stories get told on TV. Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, among others), whose face should become the new ABC logo, is just one of many women and people of color that have discovered the opportunities and diversity that the movie industry currently seems unable to address. Perhaps they could begin by questioning the notion that a plot can only be advanced by a white a guy with even whiter teeth blowing something up or shooting someone dead.2

The Rant likens the current state of television to the explosion of serialized novels in the Victorian era. Dickens, Thackeray, and Wilkie Collins garnered enormous followings publishing their novels in monthly installments. The public thrilled to every twist and turn in these sprawling stories. Crowds would gather at the docks in New York to await the boat carrying the latest installment from Dickens. This era in literature provides us with the term cliffhanger, as authors would end an installment with the hero in a seemingly impossible situation, sometime literally clinging to said cliff.

Spin a good tale and people will read, watch, or listen to it. Strange how often American pop culture forgets this. Perhaps all those explosions rattle the stories right out of our heads.



  1. Batman vs Superman is a 150 minute trailer for The Justice League movie
  2. Let’s be honest: Leo just won an Oscar for grunting. We rest our case.

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