CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
CHICAGO – In May 13, 1996, I didn’t know what an RPG was. That all changed with “Super Mario RPG: The Legend of The Seven Stars”. The term was right there in the title! Not only did they popularize the genre, Square Enix streamlined the numbers heavy RPGs of the past into something challenging, charming, thrilling, and accessible. The combat was required timed button presses, and the story was oddly touching; bittersweet moments supplementing the generally upbeat and zany antics. It was almost a kid-friendly water-slide prelude to the pop-culture Tsunami that was to be “Final Fantasy VII” only a few months later, at which point pretty much everyone knew what an RPG was and what to expect to from one.
CHICAGO – There’s too much TV being released on Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming services this time of year to watch it all. There literally aren’t enough hours in the day. So how do you work through it all, find what you want to watch, and set it aside for you valuable free time? What to Watch, once again this week split into two editions — one focusing on TV and the other on film. We’ll start with the boob tube one, which features a cult hit, two animated shows, a multiple Emmy winner, and one of CBS’s biggest comedies. In the order that we’d recommend you buy ‘em…
CHICAGO – They were likely distracted by the massive success of “The Book of Mormon” (and basically admit as much on the spectacular documentary “6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park,” included on this release), but the fifteenth season of Comedy Central’s often-brilliant “South Park” was a bit of a rollercoaster ride in terms of quality. There were still some brilliant episodes like the season premiere, “Humancentipad,” which merges Apple’s Terms of Service with “The Human Centipede,” but there are were some outings this year that just didn’t work.
CHICAGO- The longest running animated show in cable history is going to set the record even further. Comedy Central announced today that the long-running comedy series “South Park,” which is currently on its 15th season, will have new episodes coming to fans through 2016 and a milestone 20th season.
CHICAGO – The biggest and most talked about musical to hit Broadway in years will have a mission in Chicago come December 2012. “The Book of Mormon,” winner of 9 Tony Awards this year including Best Musical, will be coming to the Bank of America Theater in downtown Chicago for at least a 12 week run.
CHICAGO – If you haven’t kept up with Eric, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny, fear not TV fans — “South Park” can still be DAMN funny. I’ll admit that I don’t keep up consistently during the regular season and so sometimes wonder if the quality has dipped. With the 15th season having premiered this week on Comedy Central, the 14th was just released on Blu-ray and DVD and it’s pretty great, especially in HD.
CHICAGO – Brian Tallerico guests on Bill Moller’s show on WGN-Radio in Chicago on Apr. 23, 2011 to preview and review new shows for the next week including BBC America’s “Doctor Who,” HBO’s “Cinema Verite” & “Treme,” NBC’s “The Voice,” Comedy Central’s “South Park,” and more.
CHICAGO – Just a few years ago, it felt like TV animation for adults was in a golden age with the return of “Family Guy,” “The Simpsons” and “South Park” still going relatively strong, and Adult Swim truly breaking new ground in what could be done in animated form. It feels now like it’s plateaued a bit with many of the shows that were at the top of their game a few years back sliding down a bit in terms of quality. One such program is Adult Swim’s “The Venture Bros.,” a show that is still incredibly creative but doesn’t click like it used to do every week.
CHICAGO – Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay FX’s new often-brilliant animated series “Archer” is that, even with several new shows on my plate to watch, I actually went back and viewed a few episodes more than once. Like a lot of great animation - the best of “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “South Park,” “Venture Bros.” - “Archer” is immensely rewatchable. A future cult hit premieres tonight.
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
CHICAGO – I honestly never though Trey Parker and Matt Stone would still be pumping out “South Park” episodes in the era of HD Blu-Ray. It’s not that I’m not a fan. I’ve seen the brilliant movie, “South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut” a dozen or so times, but I thought that would be near the end of the phenomenon of Stan, Kyle, Kenny, & Cartman. Years later, it looks like it was just the beginning.