Writing craft: Studying a show’s pilot script is a useful way for aspiring scriptwriters to get a sense for how its creators chose to establish the world of the story, introduce its characters, and leave the viewer wanting more.
Satire: “Hey there, I’m a TV show set in New Orleans. I’m about art and integrity, and I don’t give a shit what you think of me.”
Personal essay: Thirty years ago, Rolf and a friend from elementary school created a vision of the future—a space opera put to tape—and buried it in a time capsule. Listening again today reveals how we remember the present as it never quite was.
TV criticism: HBO’s series about post-Katrina Louisiana obsessively works to prove it’s not a tourist in New Orleans. It ends up losing the city — and the viewers — in the process.
Cultural criticism: Dennis O’Rourke’s 1988 documentary “Cannibal Tours”, which probed the absurdities of global tourism, was as brilliant and cringe-inducing as any episode of “The Office” or “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Twenty-five years after its initial debut, the rise of social media self-documentation has made the film feel more relevant than ever.
Media criticism: Compared to the “Generation X” media frenzy of the early 1990s, the online chatter surrounding HBO’s Girls is a refreshingly diverse inquiry into what it means to be young in recession-era America.
Media criticism: Where does the Travel Channel take us? To find out, Rolf locks himself into a Vegas hotel room and embarks on a one-week experiment in gonzo-criticism.
In a five-part series, Rolf Potts joins Trekkies aboard a “Star Trek” theme cruise to Bermuda.
A video teaser for Rolf’s “Star Trek” fan-cruise series. Original music by Rolfe Kent and Meredith Meyer; edited by Mike Marlett.
Commentary: “In Cuba, Guevara’s ubiquitous image appears to fill the role of both Jesus Christ and Ronald McDonald — a sainted martyr of unwavering purity who also happens to promote a standardized (if not particularly nutritious) political menu.” An analysis of Che’s legacy in light of Steven Soderbergh’s 2009 movie biopic.
Film commentary: To mark the DVD release of In Bruges, Focus Films asked Rolf and a panel of select travel writers (including Pico Iyer, Heidi Julavits, Tony Wheeler, and Ayun Halliday) to outline their favorite cinematic portrayals of cities. Films mentioned in Rolf’s profile include Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset, Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, and Alexander Payne’s About Schmidt.