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 // Critic
We are officially in the fall season. New shows are popping up and other shows are returning – AMERICAN HORROR STORY, ARROW and MODERN FAMILY to name a few. There are some tough calls to make as to which show you should turn your head to, but let us help you with our Wednesday Night TV Smackdown!
“The Calm” – With crime in Starling City at an all-time low thanks to the Arrow and his team, Oliver (Stephen Amell) thinks he can finally balance being both the Arrow and Oliver Queen and asks Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) out on a date. However, when a new villain emerges, who has claimed the name Vertigo from the recently deceased Count, Oliver is caught off-guard and someone close to him is hurt. Oliver and a newly suited up Roy (Colton Haynes) take on the Count. Meanwhile, Diggle (David Ramsey) becomes a father, Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is promoted to Captain, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) joins Arrow’s inner circle and Felicity gets a part-time job at a tech store to make ends meet. Also, Oliver fights to regain his company, Queen Consolidated, but comes up against a very worthy opponent – the charming Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh).
“Major Anxiety” – Brick (Atticus Shaffer) wants to go to a school dance, much to the surprise of Frankie (Patricia Heaton) and Mike (Neil Flynn). Axl (Charlie McDermott) has not much time to choose a major, and he has no idea what to choose.
Winner: Psh, you kidding? There’s no contest here. Big changes are coming to Starling City in ARROW – new characters (Routh), the world is expanding (a juicy FLASH crossover, and our heroes are going through changes of their own. Needless to say, there’s a lot going down, and you should celebrate the show’s third season premiere tonight.
Honorable Mentions: THE GOLDBERGS (ABC) at 8:30PM
MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
“The Cold” – Phil (Ty Burrell) is putting together Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam’s wedding video for a special family screening, but when the footage reveals that he is responsible for a horrible cold that has plagued the family, he must do some creative editing. Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Gloria (Sofía Vergara) have different ways of helping Manny (Rico Rodriguez) cope with the stresses of high school football, while coach Cam (Eric Stonestreet) struggles between whether or not to bench him. And, Mitchell gets strangely competitive with Lily’s (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) new friend, Sydney, who is clearly a genius.
RED BAND SOCIETY (FOX)
Winner: RED BAND SOCIETY has been a decent, heartwarming show since it premiered a few weeks back, but MODERN FAMILY brings heart and the laughs, and you just can’t beat that.
Honorable Mentions: BLACK-ISH (ABC) at 9:30PM, CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS), LAW & ORDER: SVU (NBC), LEGENDS (TNT),
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW (FX)
“Monsters Among Us” – One of the only surviving sideshows in the country struggles to stay in business during the dawning era of television. When police make a terrifying discovery at a local farmhouse, the eccentric purveyor of the freak show sees an opportunity that will lead her troupe either to their salvation or ruin.
THE LEAGUE (FXX)
Winner: While THE LEAGUE has been bringing the laughs at full tilt all season long, you cannot top the sheer eeriness and madness that is brought by Ryan Murphy and his AMERICAN HORROR STORY crew. And they pull back the curtain to reveal the most bizarre season yet.
Honorable Mentions: KEY & PEELE (Comedy Central) at 10:30PM, SOUTH PARK (Comedy Central), NASHVILLE (NBC), WAHLBURGERS (A&E)
*all times are ET