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Martha Bayles is the film and TV critic for The Claremont Review of Books and the author of two books: Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America’s Image Abroad, and Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music; and a regular columnist for The American Interest. Since 2003 she has taught in the Arts & Sciences Honors Program at Boston College.
Articles by Martha Bayles
The BBC series Wolf Hall is as beautifully cut, fitted, embroidered, and bejeweled as the heavy, intimidating garments of the Tudor nobility.
Borgen, the celebrated Danish TV series about power, politics, and media, puts Hollywood in the shade.
The ghost of Neville Chamberlain.
Spielberg’s West Side Story is a masterpiece based on a masterpiece.
The satirical Netflix series The Chair is not sharp enough to draw blood.
The film Nomadland expands the scope and meaning of the book that inspired it.
Are America’s cultural exports worse than junk food?
The great novel of the Eastern Front, adapted for television.
Rewatching HBO's masterpiece, The Wire.
Normal People puts a postmodern twist on a classic tale of passion.
Correcting the record on Clarence Thomas—again.
Big problems with Greta Gerwig's Little Women.
Hollywood is choosing Chinese profits over American liberties.
A binge-worthy series for grown-ups.
Hidden signs of faith and redemption in two notable films from Europe.
Why the TV adaptation of My Brilliant Friend is better than the book.
The uninspiring side of Marvel Studio’s Afro-futurist utopia.
Netflix’s clever Black Mirror.
Ken Burns’s The Vietnam War does not take sides.
Hollywood’s romance with China may be breaking up.
Detroit rips open old wounds.
Dignity, not celebrity.
The Young Pope is a dazzling work of art.
The Cold War novelist on the big and small screen.
What does The Walking Dead say about American anxieties?
Truth, lies, and TV spies.
Donald Trump's bad reality show.
Democracy and transparency need each other.
Two television shows' very different outlooks on war and prisoners of war.
â€œWhat does it mean to understand man well enough to create one?â€
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House of Cards is a hit in China, too.
Oh Brother! Why Bother?
Why Breaking Bad is unexpectedly good.
A test of this insight is The Great Gatsby, the latest screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan and co-written and directed by the Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann.
Lincoln and Django Unchained represent what passes for artistic sensibility in todayâ€™s Hollywood.
China plans to blow up Hollywoodâ€™s monopoly.
The high priestess of Change Your Life TV.
What soap operas at home and abroad teach us.
Cambridge, MA, March 15, 2014â€”Noh Hao, at 25 the social mediaâ€™s youngestâ€”and first femaleâ€”multibillionaire, explains her meteoric success in an exclusive interview with Martha Bayles.
Each episode in the TV series begins with a question, some more portentous than others.
Avatar is the latest example of where art, politics, and theology meet.
Can any film do justice to the political genius of Abraham Lincoln?
War and torture get the Hollywood treatment.
Martin Scorsese's The Departed is a blurry copy of the Hong Kong original.
The merciless comic keeps hitting below the Borscht Belt.
An inside look at Dan Brownâ€™s new novel.
The films of Krzysztof Kieslowski.
The Queen and Marie Antoinette ask whether the modern world can understand monarchy anymore.
HBO gets "Rome" right.
Cantor attempts to link four TV programs to the themes of globalization and the end of the nation-state