‘The pattern is the pattern’: Sentiment as therapy in Maniac

Owen Milgrim (Jonah Hill) has schizophrenia, and one effect of that is seeing a non-existent brother. This brother assures him that he’s meant for greatness, and that he’s “going to save the world," if only Owen could trust him. To be sure, Netflix’s Maniac portrays a simplistic, cartoonish version of a complicated disorder, but that’s …

Negative Space: Truth and Shadows in The X-Files

Twin streams of light cross in a shadowed hallway, illuminating little. Smoke unfurls from a Marlboro cigarette, and hands seek each other out in a dim hospital room. The iconography of The X-Files is minimal to the extreme and steeped in ambiguity: empty spaces, creeping shadows, and answers hidden beyond the next corner, always out …

Split Screens Festival 2018: “The Women Behind the Camera: Four Top TV Directors on Showing vs. Telling”

"Show, don't tell." As a writer, this is one of the biggest lessons you can learn. It's not that telling is a bad thing -- it can be useful if you write travel guides, or map directions. But if you're in a creative field, and especially in the world of fiction, telling your audience that it's …

Split Screens Festival 2018: “Can TV Really Be Cinematic?”

David Lynch told us that Twin Peaks: The Return was an 18-hour film. Of the few things he did tell us, this is one that stuck, and it has become galvanised ever since with the inclusion of The Return atop so many critics' Best Of 2017 film lists, including Cahiers du Cinéma and the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound. So is it any …

Notes from the Bookhouse: The Fans Speak

As part-time curator of the Bookhouse library (when Lucy's busy with police business) I often get to overhear some great conversations between patrons, those intrepid Bookhouse Boys and Babes who frequent this fine establishment. Sometimes — if the books are shelved and properly alphabetized, per Lucy's instructions — I even get to partake! Such was the case earlier …