The disturbingly beautiful rendition of “Edelweiss” by Jeanette Olsson in the opening credits of The Man in the High Castle brings us to the alternate reality where the Nazis rule eastern America and the Japanese have control of the west coast. Adapted from Philip K. Dick’s short novel of the same title, The Man in the High Castle shows us an America that lost World War II; however, this world is not as simple as an alternate version of history. When videos inconsistent with this reality are discovered, showing America winning the war, the characters risk their lives trying to get their hands on the films. Season 1 left us wondering whose side characters were really on, with growing tensions between the Nazis, the Japanese, and a secret group called Resistance. The sci-fi element throughout Season 1 has been subtle but present enough to raise questions as to whether these characters can recover the history that we know. Season 2 provides similar suggestions of alternate realities coexisting, and the first episode, “The Tiger’s Cave,” leaves us anticipating another great season.
Like its predecessor, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra is a miraculous mix of Eastern and Western influences, comedy, drama, and action. Now, Nickelodeon has packaged all four seasons – or books – in one handsome package as The Legend of Korra: The Complete Series. Does the series hold up after its 2014 conclusion?
Okay, at this point you HAVE to know there are going to be spoilers here. It’s unavoidable. Like, even here, in this spoiler alert, I’m just going to throw out that the chick in The Crying Game is really a dude, and that Rosebud was Citizen Kane’s sled (and, apparently, William Randolph Hearst’s nickname for his mistress'…know what? Let’s not go there.) The point is: There be spoilers here! You have been warned. No refunds past this point.
For those not inclined to classical music, “The Well-Tempered Clavier” was written by Johann Sebastian Bach in two books, each consisting of a prelude and fugue in each of the 24 major and minor keys in chromatic order from C major to B minor. The “well-tempered” of the title refers to a type of tuning in which the keys will be in tune with one another. An interesting choice of title for an episode that also shows off intricate patterns, fugues, and characters coming in tune with each other. The entire episode is a bravura score, touching on all the keys of the show. Plus, it’s really hard to play.
HBO’s Game of Thrones played the episodic series structure differently. Think back to the number of genre shows that would end their season with a big climax and perhaps a cliffhanger. This structure was de rigueur. (I’m looking at you, Walking Dead and every Star Trek series from the nineties!) Then, along comes GoT and suddenly the penultimate episode (number nine) is the big climax. The finale is for cleanup, reset, and setting up the next season, not as a cliffhanger, but as the next arc of an ongoing story. Westworld might be following this model.
As Shout! Factory’s periodic releases of Mystery Science Theater 3000 get closer to creating a complete library of the show’s original run, some of the more esoteric episodes are finally making their way onto DVD, and the newly released Vol. XXXVII showcases four of the more impenetrable movies Joel, Mike, and the bots ever faced.
Maeve wakes, dresses, and walks the street. Behind her two men bump, turn, and shoot - one falls. She does not even turn. She is fixed and focused. She enters the Mariposa Saloon and Hotel where she is the madame and relieves Clementine of a newcomer who looks like he plays rough. She insults his manhood, taunts him as he prepares to have sex with her, and then encourages erotic asphyxiation by further insulting him while he assaults her. She dies and wakes on the table looking at Felix.
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.
The opening lines of Dante’s Inferno (which if you have not read, shame on you - go read it and then come back)1, which, roughly translates, “As I had wandered halfway through our life’s way, I found myself in a shadowed wood, for I had lost the straightforward path,” begins an epic journey that takes thirty-three cantos to work its way through nine levels of hell and a whole bunch of sublevels through the craziest landscape you will ever encounter. Hell is full of the famous, the infamous, and the common. Dante keeps fainting, but he keeps going because the woman he loves, Beatrice, sent the poet Virgil to guide him through. Gotta keep going, Virgil reminds him. But Dante, when he is not fainting, is also constantly stopping to chat with the residents of hell.
Whatever happened to Sunday night? Used to be a fanboy/fangirl could enjoy The Simpsons then The X-Files and, if feeling really kooky, maybe watch a late-night rerun of a ST: TNG episode. Now, my goodness, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Preacher, Fear the Walking Dead, Westworld, and Fox’s ongoing animation sort-of-domination have made Sunday a Tivo-filling night. Add in John Oliver, and I’m swamped. [Note to self: Stephen Ogg appears in both The Walking Dead (Simon) and Westworld (Rebus) - crossover character? Is he the thing that ties all of Sunday night’s narratives together? Must watch to see if he shows up in GoT (looks a little Night Watch-y), Simpsons, or Preacher.]1