I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Preston Barta // Editor
There’s so much great TV out there these days that it’s hard to keep up with the Joneses. But there’s one network that makes it easy for us: FX.
THE STRAIN: SEASON 3
In a post-BUFFY and ANGEL world, it’s nice to have a vampire series to be excited about again. However, THE STRAIN’s vampiric universe is nothing like we’ve seen before on film and television. Of course, it has some of the signature elements we’ve come to expect from the genre, but this is Guillermo del Toro (PAN’S LABYRINTH) and Chuck Hogan (THE TOWN) leading the charge, and they’ve got something more rich and mythological flowing in their veins.
This season sees the vampires (known as the strigoi) evolving and getting smarter by the episode. The good guys (including Corey Stoll, David Bradley and Kevin Durand) continuing their quest to cut the head off this chicken, but the virus is rapidly spreading, and the odds of survival are looking slim.
While blood in THE STRAIN runs thick, the characters are what make this series worthwhile and fun. It may not hit all its marks, but it keeps us on our toes and invested.
YOU’RE THE WORST: SEASON 3
Over the course of two seasons, we have followed two interesting, complicated people who have reasons to be together and reasons to not be together.
Now we’re in the third season of YOU’RE THE WORST and creator Stephen Falk still manages to keep the show feeling new.
We’re discovering how the lead characters, Gretchen and Jimmy, are adjusting to life after saying “I love you.” Plus, we have all the great drama amongst their coupled friends Edgar (Desmin Borges) and Dorothy (Collette Wolfe), and Lindsay (Kether Donohue) and Paul (Allan McLeod).
As bold as this may sound, YOU’RE THE WORST is the best thing FX and FXX (the sister channel) has to offer. It achieves a seamless balance of humor and true-to-life moments that are poignant for this age’s youth and dating culture.
Of FX’s new series, ATLANTA is the record to spin all this fall. It stars Donald Glover (also serving as the creator) as a failed rapper named Earnest “Earn” Marks who is alternating between living off his parents’ dime and crashing with his ex (Zazie Beetz) whom he has child with.
ATLANTA so easily could have been something bordering on safe, especially with Glover coming off of COMMUNITY a few years ago. While it has the laugh-out-loud jokes Glover is good at penning, the tone is more serious and artful than you may anticipate. But soak it in and be surprised by how much you’re in sync with it.
If you like Louis C.K. or his show LOUIE (currently on a hiatus), then you’ll love BETTER THINGS, which follows the same tradition of a single parent (a very funny Pamela Adlon) doing her best to survive the entertainment business and raise her three children.
It’s not quite as crisp as ATLANTA, but it’s an enjoyable effort for parents who are struggling to make it through life as it constantly beats us down.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: SEASON 6
The theme for AMERICAN HORROR STORY’s sixth season has yet to be revealed, but there have been plenty of clues that hint at something even more twisted.
Their latest promo leading up to its premiere features a creepy doll looking around a room in a rocking chair before focusing on the viewer. Could this season invoke the classic horror trope that CHILD’S PLAY did so well? Even this week’s TV Guide hinted that the theme may be “The Mist.”
Nothing is confirmed. So for for now, it remains a mystery.