If you had asked high school or college Chris to name his favorite TV show, Star Trek would have been near the top of the list. I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation right from its 1986 beginning, and in the process worked my way back to “The Original Series,” which debuted on NBC fifty years ago tonight. I’ve enjoyed … More Religion in Star Trek
Time to show my hand and reveal of my favorite examples of historical moviemaking. Well, TV series-making, but then that’s just another form of the motion picture. After spending two Anxious Bench posts developing a set of four criteria for evaluating that kind of storytelling, today I applied them to two cable TV shows: the feminist time-traveling drama Outlander (Starz!) … More Soviets and Sassenachs: My Two Favorite Historical TV Series
Today at The Anxious Bench you’ll find part two of my series on how we might evaluate historical movies like Free State of Jones, which has inspired rave reviews from some historians and criticism from others. If you missed the first part, go back to read what I meant that historical movies and TV series must strive to be both … More What Makes for the Best Historical Movies? (part 2)
I’m not planning to blog this week, while I join my family on vacation on Minnesota’s beautiful North Shore. But over at The Anxious Bench, my regular Tuesday post kicked off a new series on historical movies like this summer’s Civil War/Reconstruction epic, Free State of Jones. At the end of the series, I’ll reveal two of … More What Makes for the Best Historical Movies? (part 1)
While Bethel doesn’t actually start its break until Wednesday, I plan to take the entire week off from blogging. In the meantime, let me suggest some alternate reading material: • Tracy McKenzie’s Thanksgiving countdown: “As an alternative to the ubiquitous countdown to Black Friday, each weekday this month I have been posting brief essays on … More Thanksgiving Break
The recent release of Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks as the Eisenhower era lawyer tasked with defending a Soviet spy (played by the awesome Mark Rylance), got me wondering: What are the best Cold War movies? I actually dedicated a three-post series to the question of the best war movies back in 2013, so I … More What Are the Best Cold War Movies?
There are other things I’d love to see my university get recognized for, but if hilarious pictures of our nationally-ranked football team are going to get Bethel publicity, so be it. Apparently, this all started a few years back when now-assistant coach Jesse Phenow (also a Pietist Schoolman guest-blogger, I should point out) took this picture. When roster photo-taking time rolled … More Christianity, Comedy, and Joy
Until he died last night, I had no idea that horror film director Wes Craven had graduated from Wheaton College. (He discussed his fundamentalist Baptist upbringing and his decision to flee from it in a 2011 interview with the New York Times Magazine.) Of course, this got me wondering: who else would I be surprised to learn … More Who Are the Most Surprising Christian College Alumni?
The last episode of The Late Show with David Letterman aired last night — just over twenty-two years and four thousand episodes after I watched its debut in the middle of a hurricane warning, on my first evening as a college student in Virginia. I can’t really improve on all the commentary recognizing the significance of my all-time favorite TV personality to … More What Does It Mean to Be Midwestern? (A Post-Letterman Question)
4/22/15 – This week’s episode of Past & Presence takes us to the intersection of popular culture and the past. I take viewers on a walking tour of F. Scott Fitzgerald sites in the author’s hometown of St. Paul, MN, and moderate a conversation about how the past is portrayed in films, TV series, video games, novels, and other media.