Samin Nosrat cooks for dinner guests in her home.

‘Salt Fat Acid Heat’ Shines Brightly Among Food Documentaries

Netflix has advertised their new food documentary, Salt Fat Acid Heat, for several weeks now, billing it as a delightful tour of the globe to teach their viewers about the vital elements of good food. With vibrant cinematography, a cheery soundtrack and compelling direction by Samin Nosrat, it delivers a unique take on the food documentary a la the late Anthony Bourdain. Part observational and part educational, this four-part series is an enjoyable watch with production value rivaling Chef’s Table. Samin begins her tour (albeit out of order) on the intricacies of fat, traveling to northern Italy to discover the secrets of such delicacies as red cow parmesan and traditional focaccia. This episode first captures the process of olive oil production straight from the source, complete with funny-looking harvesters and an industrial-size press.

Don’t Let These Legends Die

The episode is packed with goofy, nerdy references, and this kind of “fanservice” has continued throughout the show. In the Season Four premiere, the show even confirms in a one-off joke that Ray and Nate are “brony bros.”

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GUEST ROOM | Cel Shading, Framerates and The Dragon Prince

You may have first seen Cel Shading in 2013 with the premiere of RWBY, an “American Anime” aimed at both American and Japanese anime fans. Characters are 3D models, like a lot of modern animation, but they look a little different from their Disney-Pixar cousins. In stills, they could fool you into thinking they’re two-dimensional drawings or frames from some traditionally-drawn anime. The character’s skin looks flat and their eyes are large and cartoony. Cel Shading is a technique long used by video games, from the classic Katamari Damacy to the more recent The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but in recent years, animation studios have used it to bring the anime style into the modern era.

Rami Malek as the protagonist of Mr. Robot, Elliot Alderson.

GUEST ROOM | Why We Need to Watch Mr. Robot

The recent news that Mr. Robot’s fourth season will be its last signals the end of a show that redefines what it means to be revolutionary. The techno-thriller chronicles the story of cybersecurity engineer Elliot Anderson, a morphine addict who wants to save the world from corrupt corporate powers. The cybersecurity firm that he works for protects the data of conglomerates such as E Corp, a manufacturer of most of the world’s computers and phones and a provider of much of the world’s entertainment. E Corp, led by a power hungry board of directors, also covered up a toxic gas leak that led to some of their workers contracting leukemia — including Elliot’s father. Thus, despite the mission of his workplace, Elliot works to expose some of E Corp’s secure digital records with the hopes of diminishing their grasp over the global market.

Courtesy of FX

Legion Season 2 Premiere Promises A Trip Worth Taking

For many shows, from thrillers to dramas, mystery is just one force keeping the audience interested. In Noah Hawley’s Legion, however, uncertainty is the foundation on which the rest of the story’s world is created. Its narrative is as unreliable as the broken mind of its protagonist, David Haller, played by Dan Stevens. Legion’s wildly inventive first season followed David, diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, as he battled for control of his mind and explored his unknown, seemingly unlimited power. Technically, Legion is a superhero show.

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YANG | This One’s for the Theater Kids

When the trailer for NBC’s new series, Rise, popped up on my news feed a few weeks ago, I cursed Facebook’s advertising algorithm and made a mental note about the pilot airing date simultaneously. I mean, a show about a high school theater troupe putting on Spring Awakening, starring Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) and Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) and produced by Jeffrey Seller (Hamilton)? It practically has my name written all over it. So naturally I had high expectations going in, but I also worried that Rise might fall into the dangerous trap of clichés. And I believe I was right to a certain degree.

Courtesy of CBS All Access

Fighting The Good Fight in Trump’s America

The stakes are real and authentic in The Good Fight on CBS All Access. This rawness is visible in the show’s opening sequence, which intersplices explosions of luxury items like aged Scotch and Birkin bags with footage of top news stories, including Trump’s criticizing the media and the rally in Charlottesville. The show’s connection to current America is even deeper than just these references. Each episode is give the title “Day XXX,” which represents the number of days Trump has been in office as each episode airs. This show does not attempt to escape or shy away from reality as some other shows do, but rather embraces the uneasiness and division within the real world.

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The Beauty and Vulnerability of Netflix’s Queer Eye

On Feb. 7, Netflix released its reboot of mid-2000s hit reality series Queer Eye. For the uninitiated, Queer Eye features a crew of gay men — the “fab five” — who rejuvenate their subjects’ lifestyles. Each fab five member has a specialty: fashion (Tan France), grooming (Jonathan Van Ness), interior design (Bobby Berk), culture (Karamo Brown) and food and wine (Antoni Porowski). At first blush, Queer Eye sounds like an indulgent, if light, watch.

Black Mirror

Black Mirror: What Would Wilbert Do

I believe that we (“we” being those who watched the show, so yes, there will be spoilers) can all agree that “USS Callister” is the best installment on this season of Black Mirror. It had terrifying technology, surprising humor, an introspective meaning and plot twists that make M. Night Shyamalan gasp. But, it’s really the technology that I am concerned with. Since we are on the same page, here is the question: What will we do if the Black Mirror world arrives? Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror paints a universe that takes place in the future.