In our second excursion into the theme park, the plot has thickened, more mysteries are brought forward, and more themes have been revealed. I wish to point out three recurring elements of this episode that point towards a fourth as a means of viewing Westworld: stories, secretsm and player pianos, all of which culminate in ruminations on the real.
Starring: Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, Erik LaRay Harvey, Rosario Dawson, Alfre Woodard.
“Who could have thought a black man in a hoodie could be a hero?”
The above quote doesn't come until the end of the series, but it's an apt one. With the release of Marvel's Luke Cage on Netflix, the story of the “bulletproof black man” is something that is not only relevant in terms of the series, but of the world as a whole. While Cage has been around since 1972 (when he was imagined by George Tuska, Archie Goodwin, and John Romita Jr.), his presence is just as important now as it's ever been, if not more so.
Like the canyons and mesas that form its beautiful, if artificial, backdrop, Westworld is full of echoes. One can see and hear many, many other texts resonate through this one, including, but not limited to, Battlestar Galactica, Quentin Tarantino films (most notably Kill Bill and Django Unchained), The Hunger Games, Terminator, and any number of “killer robot” films, including the original Westworld. (Tangentially, was Michael Crichton beaten up at a Six Flags or something? Between this and Jurassic Park (also echoed), we get it - theme parks are evil. I’m still keeping my season pass to Universal Studios!) References to other texts, to history, and to our world abound (not like in Stranger Things, in which virtually every reference is for nostalgic purposes, but rather to give us a world we think we know, but don’t really). Yet for all these echoes, what results on screen is a highly intelligent and original (if a little slow), unfolding narrative with great promise. Part of the pleasure is playing spot-the-allusion (especially the music - the player piano rendition of “Black Hole Sun” is worth the watch alone!), but much of it comes from learning about this world and then seeing everything we think we knew (both from assumptions while watching and from presumptions based on earlier texts that do similar things) reversed or erased.
Get ready, because I’m getting ready to totally spoil everything that happens in the first five minutes of the series premiere of Colony, USA Network’s new alien-occupation dystopian series set in a near-future Los Angeles.
In the recent Batman-heavy years, darkness has done DC Comics good, especially on the big screen. From Nolan’s Batman films, to the dark and drab feel of Man of Steel, to the gritty and gothic Gotham TV series, DC has perfected this skill for the brooding and brutal so sharply that many fans even wondered aloud whether DC Comics had forgotten the fun and adventure that also existed within their characters and worlds. Well, no answer could dispute that notion more clearly than the brilliance and excitement that is The Flash TV series. DC Comics has just recently released The Flash: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray and if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of enjoying this amazing and addictive show, it is time to develop some super speed powers and catch up while you can!
I love zombies of all forms, slow, fast, sentient, drooling, and falling apart. And, I am an ever-loyal Marshmallow (Veronica Mars uber-fan). So, zombies written by Rob Thomas? Yes, please!!
There is a featurette on the Gotham: Season One DVD called “Fractured Villains of Gotham.” This word, “fractured,” turns out to be an accurate description of almost every aspect of the show, both in front of and behind the camera. It is this schizophrenic nature that informs both its strengths and its weaknesses.
"The Siege of Lothol"
Last week, I had the privilege of attending Star Wars Celebration for the first time. It was unlike any experience I'd ever had and such a joy to meet so many different fans from around the world. My last day there, Saturday, was a non-stop Star Wars Rebels fest for me, as I attended the Cast-and-Crew panel, where they debuted the Season 2 trailer and capped it off that evening with the big event: the Season 2 premiere! For this review, I'm going to keep it pretty much spoiler free and under the assumption that you've all watched the Season 2trailer (which is available after the break), because if you haven't seen it yet, you really should!
You know that friend who only has a few anecdotes and constantly keeps retelling the same stories over and over again? Steven Moffat has become that friend to Doctor Who, and no matter how great those stories were the first time, I am tired of them.