The Walking Dead (AMC) vs. Falling Skies (TNT)

March 7, 2012 Bryce Zabel

There’s just something about ragtag teams of extended families trying to get by after an apocalypse. It feels like a particularly American fantasy — that when the chips are down, we’ll all put aside our petty differences, realize what’s truly important and come together to kick some ass, whether it be Nazi or Commie or even alien or zombie. The point is that our melting pot really doesn’t get cooking until the heat is applied and the burner’s on high.

These two series are flagship action pieces for their respective networks — The Walking Dead came first on AMC, followed within a year by Falling Skies on TNT. The former has its second season finale this Sunday and the latter comes back this summer for its sophomore year. Both are in their prime when it comes to the life of any TV series — enough of a run to fix some early mistakes but not so much as to render the week-to-week predictable. […]

And the Smacky Goes To…

March 6, 2010 Bryce Zabel

This year’s poll of the Oscar favorites attracted hundreds of our most intelligent readers (see how much we’re willing to pander to those activists?) and they have spoken. We asked them not to vote for the film they think will win but for the film they think should win. They’ve given us a statistical tie between…
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Help Us Crown a Christmas Smackdown Winner!

December 10, 2009 Bryce Zabel

Two years ago, we asked ten of our SmackRefs to each recommend a Christmas film that they have a special fondness for, something that can stand the test of repeat viewing. That poll turned out to be a squeaker with an unexpected winner when the nostalgia-rama “A Christmas Story” edged out traditional favorite “It’s A Wonderful Life” with a strong third place by the relatively new “Love Actually.”
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The Dark Knight (2008) -vs- The Godfather, Part II (1974)

December 12, 2008 Beau DeMayo

When “The Dark Knight” hit movie screens earlier this year, critics screamed that cinema history had just been made, that it was even better than the movie that spawned it and, just possibly, one of the best films ever released. In 1974, the same thing happened.

“The Godfather, Part II” was not only seen as the best sequel ever but it stood up as a great film, winning the Oscar for Best Picture, like its predecessor from two years earlier. The test for these sequels is whether they managed to continue and expand upon the originals that came before them, by charting fresh new territory, raising the stakes and deepening the concepts. […]