Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Preston Barta // Editor
The fall season for FX and FXX is nearly in full-swing. Here’s what you should look out for.
Season 2 Finale Thursday, 10/1 @ 10:00pm e/p
Russ and Lina Bowman can barely remember what life was like before kids, debt, and suburbia rained on their romance. But every once in a while, in between arguments about their declining sex life and who is driving carpool, they are reminded what drew them together in the first place – they are best friends.
Why watch? Of the comedy-dramas churned out of this network, MARRIED doesn’t quite stack up to YOU’RE THE WORST. Although, Season 2 keeps the jokes and truth coming. So why not?
Season 2 Finale Sunday, 10/4 @ 10:00pm e/p
New York City is rapidly falling to an evil epidemic, and its citizens must fight or die. Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his unlikely allies concentrate on creating a weapon to wipe out the strigoi, but the Master is out for revenge, sending new and even more terrifying breeds of bloodthirsty creatures after his team. They must find a way to defeat him before the transformation becomes irreparable – and before they become monsters themselves.
Why watch? If you’ve kept up with this season, you know the blood has flown heavier and the quality is at an all-time high. Yes, while the show spins its wheels from time-to-time and gets a little irritating, Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan and Carlton Cuse have their teeth in our necks, waiting to see how this second chapter comes to a close.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL
Installment 5 Premieres Wednesday, 10/7 @ 10:00pm e/p
The fifth installment of the Emmy®- and Golden Globe®-winning American Horror Story anthology series premieres Wednesday, October 7 on FX, featuring an all-star cast that includes Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Wes Bentley, Matt Bomer, Chloë Sevigny, Denis O’Hare, Cheyenne Jackson, Evan Peters, Finn Wittrock, Max Greenfield, Emma Roberts, Lily Rabe, Naomi Campbell, Darren Criss and internationally renowned singer-songwriter Lady Gaga.
Why watch? If this show has proved anything it’s that it never misses a step in its twisted absurdity. Each season gets even crazier and creepier. With new and familiar faces, HOTEL definitely has us checking-in.
Season 2 Premieres Monday, 10/12 @ 10:00pm e/p
Under the cheerful face of “Minnesota nice” lies a dark underbelly of “true” crime. In 1979, a young Minnesota State Trooper investigates a multiple homicide, and soon he is pulled into an interlinking web of a local crime family, a major crime syndicate looking to expand its territory, a small-town husband and wife, and even presidential candidate Ronald Reagan.
Why watch? FARGO was last year’s strongest show on television, in my opinion of course. While TRUE DETECTIVE presented an engaging and rather out there crime story, FARGO was more accessible, yet just as deep and rich as the HBO juggernaut. The great performances were impeccably balanced by Noah Hawley’s skilled pen.
Season 2 is tonally different for the first season, but it’s just as rewarding and entertaining to watch. Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson and Ted Danson are great additions to the Coen brothers’ world. Blood, secrecy and snow are the ingredients here, and it’s quite the delicious feast that Hawley and FX cooked up.
THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER
Season 1 continues Tuesdays @ 10:00pm e/p
When a medieval warrior knight receives a divine message, he lays down his sword to become a journeyman executioner. In a time and place torn apart by rebellion and upheaval, the executioner must protect his true identity and surmount political, emotional, and supernatural perils – while also trying to understand his purpose in serving a mysterious destiny.
Why watch? Now, the show hasn’t kicked off in the most engaging way, but something tells me creator Kurt Sutter (SONS OF ANARCHY) has a few tricks up his sleeve, and things will pick up in a big way.
Season 7 Continues Wednesdays @ 10:00pm e/p
A group of old friends in a fantasy football league care deeply about one another – so deeply that they use every opportunity to make each other’s lives miserable with a relentless blitz of trash-talking, deceit, and ruthless extortion. Their obsession with winning the highly coveted (yet utterly absurd) championship trophy will jeopardize their careers, sex lives, families –and above all, their dignity.
Why watch? It’s the same old funny, pushing the envelope THE LEAGUE— nothing more, nothing less.
YOU’RE THE WORST
Season 2 Continues Wednesdays @ 10:30pm e/p
After a whirlwind courtship, narcissistic, brash, and self-destructive Jimmy has inadvertently found himself paired up with cynical, people-pleasing, and stubborn Gretchen, and they are forced to take their relationship to the next level by moving in together. Now they must learn how to live with each other when they can barely live with themselves.
Why watch? YOU’RE THE WORST continues to cement itself as one of the more engaging and comical shows on the tube. Mad props are in order for showrunner Stephen Falk, who builds upon the universe he created last year by injecting his show with a sincerity and humor that hits a wide range of buttons. Sometimes it’s quirky and sarcastic, other times it’s dry, vulgar and weird. No matter how you like your comedy, you’ll notice an improvement on an already great show.
All summaries are courtesy of FX and FXX.