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TV So Complicated!

Forget the linear plotlines of police procedurals or medical dramas. The best TV shows today are dystopian Rubik’s Cubes. Zoning out is not an option

TELEVISION

SHUJI KOBAYASHI/GETTY; SCREEN IMAGE BY: MOVIESTORE COLLECTION LTD/ALAMY

MISS THE DAYS OF PREDICTABLE, uncomplicated television? Blame Christopher Nolan.

The Dark Knight mastermind’s 2000 psychological thriller Memento, based on his younger brother Jonathan’s idea, was a head spinner. Trauma victim Leonard (Guy Pearce) searches for the man who murdered his wife—but he suffers from anterograde amnesia, a condition that produces short-term memory loss every five minutes, preventing him from forming new memories. Nolan visualized the main character’s profound disorientation by splitting the plot between color sequences of Leonard trying to solve the mystery, presented in reverse chronological order, and black-and-white flashbacks presented chronologically. The highly complex, nonlinear narrative enthralled moviegoers and critics alike. With box-office success and two Academy Award nominations (one for best original screenplay), Nolan was on his way to becoming one of our most influential contemporary filmmakers.

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