Season 3 kicked off this week for the funny and thought-provoking show about young entrepreneurs in Palo Alto. Season 1 had them getting their idea for data compression off the ground. Season 2 showed them fighting for funding and fending off lawsuits from power-hungry competitors. This season is heading toward a restructuring among the team. The show has great characters, is endlessly clever in its fun with techy nerds and do-gooder hipsterism ("making the world a better place" is a running joke), and gives a fascinating look at the trials of running a real business. Can't wait to see how this season plays out.
The Night Manager (AMC)
The new mini-series, based on the writing of author John le Carre, features deliciously devilish arms dealer Hugh Laurie and clean cut former soldier/super suave undercover agent Tom Hiddleston and just aired its second episode. Like most of the novelist's adaptations based on international intrigue, the story starts a bit slowly, but it's methodical and a valuable payoff is always imminent. I look forward to seeing all of the twists and turns that lie ahead.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Some interesting word choices regarding pregnancy have appeared over the last three weeks on the hit comedy series. Raj has told Howard and Bernadette that they have "made a person." Howard has commented that he "can't wait to see if he has a boy or a girl." And last night, Leonard noted that Bernadette is "bringing life into the world." At this point, Bernadette is still well under the all-important 24-week mark. For overtly political executive producer Chuck Lorre, it seems strange for him to betray his personal views with such a politically incorrect pro-life message. Curious.
Real Sports (HBO)
The latest edition of the long-running show highlighting sports journalism and the larger social implications found in such stories is an important one for those of us who work in academia. It examines the business of athletic programs on university campuses, or perhaps I should say the lack of business. Nearly every school in America is losing massive amounts of money through their sports teams, and it's the academic departments and average students who end up footing the increasingly exorbitant bill. An enlightening and infuriating investigation, to be sure. (Here is a clip.)
60 Days In (A&E)
My favorite reality show of the spring has innocent volunteers locked up in prison for two months as a social experiment and to gain intelligence inside the walls for prison administrators. It's an eye-opening show that depicts both the evil of humanity and the need for effective reforms. It's fascinating to see how each guest prisoner attempts to adapt to the animalistic life of confinement. Disturbingly, the most idiotic person on the show is... a teacher.
The Last Man on Earth (Fox)
And the best scene of the week...