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Daily Reads: The Best of ‘The Walking Dead’ and Who’s Got the Best Chance To Live, ‘Collateral’ Ten Years Later and More

Daily Reads: The Best of 'The Walking Dead' and Who's Got the Best Chance To Live, 'Collateral' Ten Years Later and More

Criticwire’s Daily Reads brings today’s essential news stories and critical pieces to you.

1. “The Walking Dead” Best Moments and Character Survival Odds. “The Walking Dead” is returning for its fifth season, and fans of the show are looking back at its best moments and looking forward to what’ll happen in the next season. One of those fans is Noel Murray, who picked the top ten episodes for Rolling Stone and looked forward at the survival odds for the main characters in Details.

“Better Angels” (Season 2, Episode 12). Though it’s just the penultimate episode of Season Two, “Better Angels” brings to a head everything that the show’s sophomore go-round has been about…But what makes this episode great isn’t that it contains the most significant death that the show had allowed up to that point, but that it comes just as Rick’s group was had finally found sanctuary…Read more.

Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride). Carol’s become one of the most fascinating characters on The Walking Dead: a former victim of abuse who’s developed into a hard-core pragmatist, training the group’s children how to forget sentimentality in order to survive. In season four, Carol was exiled for taking her kill-or-be-killed philosophy too far.
Kill odds: 5-1
Threat assessment: As fascinating as Carol is, she’s on the outs with her former friends right now, and wasn’t in a large chunk of season four’s episodes. The stage is set for The Walking Dead to give Carol a moment of redemption, and then disembowel her. Read more.

2. “The Knick” and Steven SoderberghThough he’s “retired” from directing films, Steven Soderbergh is still making waves with his TV series “The Knick.” Writing for Sight & Sound, Peter Labuza argues that while television is usually thought of as a writer’s medium, Soderbergh’s distinctive style adds depth and dimension where the scripts don’t. 

In the pilot, Soderbergh transitions between conversations by gliding his camera in an Altmanesque tracking shot, heightening the sense of the hospital as a community. His most ambitious gambit comes at the end of the third episode: for a back-alley brawl with a drunk Edwards, he achieves a thrilling “you-are-there” feeling by attaching a camera rig close to the actor. The muted sounds bring us into the character’s internal reverberations. Read more.

3. A Guide to the CW’s DC Comics Shows. With “The Flash” and “Arrow,” the CW has two successful superhero series in their corner, but neither feature DC Comics’ biggest figures. In order to help casual superhero fans into the series, Decider’s Meghan O’Keefe did a rundown of the show’s major characters and how they relate to their source material.

The Flash (Barry Allen) played by Grant Gustin. The comic book version of Barry Allen got his powers after he was doused in chemicals and hit by lightning at the same time — as often happens. The CW’s version of the Flash is a little bit more intriguing. As a boy, Barry Allen watched his mom get murdered by what appeared to be a man moving as lightning. Years later, an adult Barry is hit by lightning caused by a particle accelerator accident and falls into a coma and then wakes up and has super speed, super muscles, and super fast healing abilities. Again, this is something that also happens to people everyday. Read more.

4. Why “Mulaney” Failed to Meet Expectations. John Mulaney is a terrific stand-up comic, but his new series “Mulaney” is pretty stale stuff. Part of it has to do with the unsuccessful reworking of Mulaney’s stand-up material for the show, but there’s also an issue with the staging. Jasper Pike wrote on his blog Me + TV about the strangeness of “Mulaney’s” acts being performed on the sets rather than the stand-up clubs of “Louie” and “Seinfeld.”

It also immediately takes the audience out of the world of the show, because its clear that the whole thing is a production. Great multi-camera comedies like “Cheers” may have been performed for a live studio audience, but no one ever directly addressed them, well at least not in the first scene of the first episode. It also makes “Mulaney” feel more like an extended SNL skit rather than an episode of a sitcom, which kind of makes sense. Read more.

5. “Collateral” 10 Years Later. Michael Mann’s post-“Collateral” films (“Miami Vice,” “Public Enemies”) have their passionate advocates, but his 2004 crime-drama about a hitman who takes a cab driver hostage was the last time seemingly everyone loved the latest Michael Mann film. Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich wrote about the film (his favorite film) on its tenth anniversary, from the brilliant inhumanity of Tom Cruise’s performance to a view of the film as a superhero movie, a buddy-cop movie, a horror movie and more.

Is Vincent a monster—a supernatural being, metaphorically if not actually? He has no past that we can understand. (He tells us two different origin stories—and it’s never clear if one is true, or if they’re both lies.) There’s a moment late in the movie—the beginning of the best scene in “Collateral,” although there are at least 10 others tied for second–when Annie tries to flee the darkened office, and just as she gets to the door, we can see Vincent’s shadow on the other side of the glass. It’s an unsubtle moment, and so classical it recalls the shadow crossing the sleeping girl’s face in “I Walked With a Zombie.” Read more.

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