Obsessed with the future of TV

This is a notebook about television, internet video, and what the next living room will be. It's an outline powered by Fargo. The editor of Glass is Zach Seward; the lead developer is Sam Williams.

The name is an argument: that media are best understood as competition for attention on screens connected to the internet. Phones, tablets, laptops, monitors, television sets—it's all just glass.

  • David Chase says the ending of The Sopranos is about Edgar Allen Poe's "Dream Within a Dream."
      • ...which in turn suggests that, no, Tony wasn't killed in the show's final scene. I thought this was settled long ago, but Martha Nochimson has kicked up the issue again with a smart piece on Vox, which takes a long time to get around to this:
      • Welles' magic, Bunuel's real-looking dreams, Poe's sand that keeps flowing through our fingers no matter what we try to do to stop it, are the inspirations for the cut to black. The cut to black brought to American television the sense of an ending that produces wonder instead of the tying-up of loose ends that characterizes the tradition of the formulaic series. Tony's decisive win over his enemy in the New York mob, Phil Leotardo, is the final user-friendly event in Chase's gangster story that gratifies the desire to be conclusive, and it would have been the finale of a less compelling gangster story. The cut to black is the moment when Castaneda and the American Romantics rise to the surface and the gangster story slips through our fingers and vanishes.
      • I'm not guessing. When I asked Chase about the cut to black, he said that it is about Poe's poem "Dream Within a Dream." "What more can I say?" he asks when I prod him to speak more, and I admire his silence. I am his audience too and he wants me to reach for his meaning. And here's what I conclude. Though you wouldn't know it from watching Hollywood movies, endings are by nature mysterious. There is the instability of loss in an ending as well as the satisfying sense of completion. American television before Chase, with the exception of David Lynch's Twin Peaks, one of Chase's avowed key inspirations for the art of The Sopranos, built a craft that dispenses with the destabilizing aspects of an ending. The true art of closure will not tolerate such a boring decision. Moreover, the art of closure forbids merely telling the audience in words that there is loss, since words can create the illusion of safety and control. Chase's art seeks a silent level of knowing more profound than words. He believes we already know if we open up to that deeper part of us.
      • Poe's poem ends, "Is all that we see or seem / But a dream within a dream?"
  • Wednesday 8.27.14