star trek discovery lethe review 1

This week on Star Trek: Discovery, we got back into Vulcan territory with “Lethe.” Michael (and Tilly and Ash) had to save a stranded Sarek in a remote nebula, thanks to a “logic extremist” (read: Vulcan terrorist) who was against Sarek’s love for humanity. We got some much-needed backstory on Michael and Sarek’s relationship, but I can’t help but feel like there are some…inconsistencies with how the relationship is being presented. To go along with the episode’s theme of nature versus nurture, perhaps the social and political environment that this very modern show was birthed from just doesn’t mesh with the original series’ nature, which is to present an allegory for humanity at its finest. Walk with me on this mental journey. As Sarek and Michael would say: my mind to your mind, my thoughts to your thoughts.

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Star Trek Discovery Choose Your Pain Review 2

Okay, what was with that ending of the latest Star Trek: Discovery episode? Did “Choose Your Pain” turn Star Trek into a horror show?

“Choose Your Pain” is, as the title suggests, filled with tons of pain, including the minor pain of seeing another Stamets continue to look in his bathroom mirror while the real Stamets walked away. The only levity found in this episode, aside from the first usage of the f-word in Star Trek history, was Rainn Wilson’s highly enjoyable Harry Mudd. Seeing this Star Trek OG character was a sight for sore eyes. Speaking of sore eyes, let’s get into the types of pain caused by both the Klingons and Starfleet.

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star trek discovery The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry Review bridge

In this week’s episode of Star Trek: Discoveryaptly-titled “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry,” the unofficial theme was definitely “Who’s got it worse?” Because there were plenty of losers in this episode. The most definite loser — aside from the poor folks who died in the space mines—was the poor mega-tardigrade.

This week, the crew had to find a way to save crucial Starfleet mines — and the families who work them — from Klingon fire. Many had died already, thanks to Stamets not knowing how to set a proper course with his new instantaneous warp technology. Actual navigation was the other issue — with such new bio-based tech, how could one successfully chart a course to a far-off planet? Enter the tardigrade, the monster from last episode. It turns out that it’s not a killing machine after all; it’s actually a docile creature that can interact with the spores that fuel the warp technology. But the animal’s navigation skills come at a cost — they basically have to torture it to get their warp to work. Why?! Leave the poor animal alone! Was this possibly one of the darkest moments in Star Trek TV history? Because I don’t remember even tribbles being tortured.

Now let’s go over exactly who else got the short end of the stick this week in our The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry review.

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star trek discovery context is for kings review 2

(This review contains spoilers! If you haven’t seen the third episode, then live long and prosper and get out of here.)

This week on Star Trek: Discovery, in an episode titled “Context is for Kings,” we learned that Michael is, in fact, Spock’s adopted sister. Some hardcore fans won’t consider this canon — from I’ve seen on Twitter, it seems it’s solely because Michael is a black woman. But it’s canon, so get used to it.

In this episode, Michael is supposed to be going towards the prison colony to start her life sentence for mutiny, among other charges. But she’s rerouted to the U.S.S. Discovery, where Capt. Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) wants to use her skillset for his ultimate mission of creating faster warp capabilities using co-opted Starfleet research. That research is what Lt. Starmets (Anthony Rapp) has been working on for years, along with his research partner (who seemed like a lot more than just his “research partner” and “best friend” if you know what I’m saying).

Unfortunately, his partner, who was on the U.S.S. Glenn, is killed along with everyone else on the ship in a freak accident that has something to do with the research conducted — the way to create a faster warp speed is by using spores that are basically the energy of the entire universe, meaning the universe is a living, breathing thing. Starmets is tasked with leading a crew, including Michael and her insufferable bunkmate Cadet Tilly (Mary Wiseman) on a mission aboard the ghost ship and recover the valuable findings from Starmets’ partner’s studies, while trying to escape a huge space monster. Michael is later recruited by Lorca to officially join the Discovery to help him achieve that faster warp give something meaningful back to Starfleet. Or so he says.

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star trek discovery review 1

(We are running two reviews of Star Trek: Discovery – one from an old school Star Trek fan and one with less experience in this iconic universe. Here is the first of the two reviews.)

Star Trek: Discovery has brought the historic Gene Roddenberry property back to the network that started it all for the U.S.S. Enterprise. Thankfully for CBS and many Star Trek fans, Star Trek: Discovery doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it stands up to the original and the movies while retaining the classic Star Trek cerebral nature.

Perhaps this intro reads more Vulcan than I would like it; speaking in standard human terms, Star Trek: Discovery is fun, exciting, and provides us with one of the most interesting protagonists we’ve seen in a while. It’s not without its issues, though, which we’ll get to soon enough.

If you’ve seen the first two episodes, keep reading; if you’re afraid of spoilers, you’d better bounce now.

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stephen king's it

The new It has become one of the biggest blockbusters of 2017, and has reinvigorated the box office for the fall. Much of that success comes from the amazing performance of Bill Skarsgård, who transformed himself into the monstrous Pennywise.

Pennywise has been a horror staple for years, thanks both to Stephen King’s original novel and Tim Curry’s performance as the character in the 1990 TV miniseries. But this Pennywise has definitely been reinvented to match today’s times and our struggles, chief of which being our struggle to get over the past. It would seem that for all of our technological advancements, the 21st century is still full of confusion and fear about the future.

On the surface, Pennywise’s popularity comes from an almost universal fear of clowns, fears that stem from childhood. But looking deeper, you can see that these fears only still retain their power because of how connected they are to our nostalgia for our childhoods. We closely identify with these fears because they came to us during a time when we felt the most protected and secure. Characters like Pennywise play on this strong connection and exploit it. But when we put Pennywise in today’s time, we can see that the character, through his makeup and costume, also says a lot about how our lives currently are being exploited by the strong pull of nostalgia’s lies.

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the jetsons reboot 7

After years of development for the big screen and the small screen, Hanna-Barbera’s futuristic cartoon The Jetsons will be reborn on ABC as a live-actino multi-camera comedy. Robert Zemeckis and Jack Rapke will act as executive producers, and Gary Janetti, whose writing and producing credits include Family Guy and Will and Grace, will also executive produce and write the show. While there aren’t many other details out, the news is yet another chapter in Warner Bros. saga to bring The Jetsons back into today’s pop culture.

Bringing The Jetsons to the TV screen is probably the easiest way to introduce the show to a new audience because The Jetsons has threatened to come to theaters many, many times. Even Kanye West tried to bring The Jetsons to the big screen as the film’s creative director. Currently, Warner Bros. seems to have settled on an animated Jetsons movie, with Sausage Party co-director Conrad Vernon hired to bring the space-age family to the big screen. But despite Warner Bros. finally finding a way to go forward with their long-suffering Jetsons film, the question still remains: What’s so difficult about bringing a simple Hanna-Barbera cartoon to the big screen? For some possible answers, let’s turn to The Flintstones.

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fragile masculinity of the mcu

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, and opinionated about something that makes us very happy…or fills us with indescribable rage. In this edition: a dissection of the fragile masculinity of Marvel movies, the overlooked homoeroticism of superhero stories, and how everyone can do better.)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whether you realize it or not, it’s considered one of the biggest pop culture institutions defining modern American manhood. Heroes like Captain America, the Falcon, Iron Man, War Machine, Hawkeye, and Thor are considered red-blooded, hypermasculine American men (despite Thor’s role as a Norse god), and even outer space heroes like Star-Lord and lower-rung Avengers like Ant-Man evoke the ideals of fanboy manhood through snarkiness and Teflon attitude.

But all of this is really just a façade for a bubbling societal fear. These characters are archetypes for the fragile masculinity that affects too many men in America. That fear of not being “masculine” enough leads to misogyny, self-loathing, fear of homosexuality, and, at its most extreme, the deaths of gay and trans people (usually trans women).

I can already feel you getting overwhelmed, so let me scale this discussion back a bit to look at the small picture: Marvel and Disney. How does Marvel and Disney’s beloved MCU perpetuate this idea of fragile masculinity? How does it affect their audience? And, most importantly, what can they do to stop the cycle? Take a journey with me as I pick apart the MCU, its men, and why Marvel and Disney shouldn’t be afraid to show them as the vulnerable, soft-hearted human beings they actually are.

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midnight texas review 1

NBC’s foray into the supernatural, Charlaine HarrisMidnight, Texas, brings the familiar flair of Harris’ other work, True Blood. But this time around, things are less R-rated and more suitable for the conventions of primetime basic cable viewing. If you’ve been hankering for a dark fantasy show while you wait on the return of FOX’s Lucifer and The Exorcist, this might fit the bill.

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planet of the apes remake 2

War for the Planet of the Apes has already received rave reviews, with many critics calling it the last great chapter in one of the best film trilogies of modern times. With so much goodwill, it almost makes fans forget about the dark point in history when it seemed like the Apes franchise was dead.

Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes reboot effectively killed the franchise for several years. The effect of the film was such that many though Rise of the Planet of the Apes would be a huge flop as it was being made. It was unclear if the audience appetite for talking apes had recovered since 2001. Thankfully, the gamble that was Rise worked.

But why did Burton’s Apes fall so hard? It had everything going for it on paper. What made it fail so spectacularly? The simple answer is that it tried to outsmart the original Apes film franchise. It seemed to assume that just because the original franchise was old, it was outdated and needed a completely new revision to make it “fresh” and “relatable.” However, there was nothing relatable about ape characters the audience could have cared less about, and human characters who were more annoying than sympathetic.

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