Viewing posts tagged mirrors

Lost Exegesis (Tabula Rasa)

One of the problems with Pilot episodes is that they’re made specifically in order to hook people (almost like fish) not just into watching a TV show, but to actually sign off on it being produced. As such, they tend not to be as representative of the series as a whole. So what a TV show has to do after its pilot is to kind of hit the reset button and start playing its cards, showing us what we might expect on a weekly basis going forward. As such, Tabula Rasa is a rather aptly named episode, given that it’s a fresh start for LOST, employing a number of techniques that we did not see previously.

For starters, we get a “Previously, on LOST” segment. It’s the sort of thing we’re all familiar with, nothing new under the sun in terms of TV, but just its very presence indicates what kind of show we’re dealing with, namely something that’s serialized. The vignettes in this segment briefly depict: the plane crash; the man wounded by shrapnel in his gut and Kate’s apparent interest in him; the fact no one has come yet to the ...

Lost Exegesis (Pilot Part 1)

Hello, I’m Jane, your stewardess for the Lost Exegesis, a flight of fancy that explores the esoteric mysteries of LOST, an American TV show that ran on ABC from 2004 until 2010. It’s a show that had a significant impact on TV at the time, and still does to an extent.

But the Exegesis isn’t going to be about charting any of that, or commenting on the value of individual episodes; we’ll not be diving into fan rankings, outside critical acclaim, comments from the showrunners, or how the show fit into the televisual landscape at the time. Rather, the primary focus will be on interpreting the text regarding the show’s esoteric elements (as you might have suspected, given I’m calling this an “exegesis”) through a thorough close reading. This will include an examination of the show’s intertextuality: if Watership Down shows up in the text, we’ll take a look at Watership Down.

Every few weeks or so we’ll examine one episode from the series, in order. With 121 episodes, we’ll be at this for quite a while. There’s no rush. We might even cover what we need to cover ...

Ars Specula: Humans/Ex Machina (plus Mr Robot)


  1. made by human skill
  2. imitation; substitute
  3. pretended; contrived; feigned
  4. lacking in spontaneity; affected
  5. (biology) relating to superficial characteristics not based on the interrelationships of organisms

-- from Latin artificialis, "of or belonging to art," from artificium (see artifice).


  1. a clever trick or stratagem; a cunning, crafty device
  2. crafty or subtle deception; trickery; guile
  3. ingenuity; skill; inventiveness

-- from Latin ars, "art," + facere, "do, make"


As Above, So Below

Ex Machina, written and directed by Alex Garland, is a slick and intellectual film that charts the journey of Caleb Smith, a computer programmer for a Googlish company who’s won a “lottery” that grants him an invitation to the northern retreat of the company’s founder, the grotesquely hypermasculine (and misogynist) Nathan Bateman. Nathan wants Caleb to perform a Turing Test over the course of one week on his latest creation, an android named Ava who seemingly possesses artificial intelligence. Each day, Caleb interrogates Ava in a numbered “session,” made apparent to us through the use of interstitial title cards. Caleb dutifully examines Ava, then reflects afterwards with Nathan, conversations which serve to flesh out some of the film’s themes, ranging from art to human nature.

Humans, on ...

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