We are about to watch the first episode of the final season of Game of Thrones. (“We” being my wife Lacy and I.) I have been with this narrative a long time. I read the books starting back in the early 2000s when my friend and former student made a gift of the first one. (Thanks, Hugh Long, I think…) When the first season was in post-production, I was Mark Addy’s photo double for the ad campaign. (Hundreds of buses, bus stops, and billboards in the greater Los Angeles area featured Mark Addy’s face on my body with the tagline, “Killing Things Clears My Head,” written across the bottom.) Really cool. Been watching it ever since and have written about the last few seasons for Fanbase Press, analyzing theme, character, and plot, connecting the narrative to theology, history, culture, and science. But I am giddy for the last season. So, today, for the first episode of the last season, if you will indulge me, I simply kept a handwritten live blog (Yeah, I know…) of the episode and my in-the-moment reactions. If you will forgive a moment of auto-ethnography, here we go. [SPOILER ALERT – the overarching theme of the episode is “Oh, Game of Thrones, you’re so…you. Many reunions – not just of people but of things the show had kind of stopped doing for awhile. You’ll see.]
The Second Golden Age of Television has brought us great serialized entertainment, but there will always be a special place for fantastic standalone episodes. This week's episode of American Gods, “Donar the Great,” demonstrates their importance. Adapting American Gods into a TV show allows for the source material's mythology to expand and develop concepts that are only touched on in the book. Thor's story is briefly mentioned in the book, but what was originally a few passing lines now takes on a whole new meaning. I expect nothing less from an episode directed by Rachel Talalay.
As season 2 of American Gods continues, the show has diverged more and more from the book. The creators have introduced more characters and made a point to focus on some of the darker atrocities in American culture. I am not quite sure where they are going with the story this season. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do hope that we'll start to see how some of these tangential threads will be woven together.
In the latest episode of American Gods, New Media has emerged from her digital chrysalis. She shed her pop culture icon identity and now speaks in emojis. Media and how we consume it has changed in the time since the book of American Gods was released, so it makes sense that the character would evolve to reflect the times.
In today’s tumultuous political climate, the job of providing the world with clarity and perspective, once reserved for news anchors, has somehow fallen to late night talk show hosts. One of the people at the forefront of that movement is Stephen Colbert. This role he’s taken on, and the climate that led to it, were core themes throughout his panel at PaleyFest on Saturday night, March 16, 2019.
I’m fully aware that fans of something can inflate their initial experience with their fandom, turning it into a perfect achievement that nothing can ever touch. After binging season one of The Umbrella Academy over two days, on the third day I went back to read the first two volumes of the Dark Horse comic book series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, and I’m glad I did, because it freed me to write a review unfettered from my initial experience with the comics.
I haven’t reviewed an issue of Deadly Class, a comic about a training ground for teenage assassins set in 1987, but it is one of the most unhinged, frenetic, visceral, unapologetically twisted comics around. It’s the Wizarding World for those who need a little more anarchy and chaos in their lives. It certainly doesn’t take four novels before a single character meets their demise. It is a pure adrenaline rush of joy and anxiety brought on by hypertension and violence. We have Rick Remender (writer) and Wesley Craig (artist) through Image Comics to thank for this perverse, character-driven, action extravaganza.
Like a lot of episodes this past season, I enjoyed the subplot of “Resolution” better than the main story. I am much more invested in the companions’ arc than the adventure aspects. Showrunner Chris Chibnall’s decision to shift the focus of the show back on the companions was the right move (especially since the previous era focused so much on mystery and suspense); however, I needed more from the Thirteenth Doctor’s first confrontation with the Daleks—or any classic monster for that matter.