death of the happy ending 3

This post contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

We live in an age where pop culture never dies.

No one mourns the loss of a beloved show – they wait for Netflix or Amazon to rescue it. Beloved movies from decades past are granted sequels that double as soft reboots. If something does come to a definitive end, you can always count on the comic book series to fill in the narrative gaps, or the fan conventions that keep the spirit alive. Nearly 50 years ago, a letter-writing campaign saved Star Trek from cancellation after its second season. Today, it’s hard to imagine anything with a passionate following completely slipping through the cracks. It will find a way to live on, to endure. We don’t need to fight for what we love anymore, because everything finds a way of staging a return.

And the past year has seen the return of two of the most popular titles in recent pop culture history. Last December, Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened to record-breaking box office. More recently, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened on the London stage, continuing the former boy wizard’s adventures in a new medium while fans snatched up millions of copies of the play itself. And while one of these is a space opera and the other a fantasy tale of magic, these projects have a great deal in common. They’re bound not by creators or parent companies or even the same audience, necessarily. They’re bound by similar intentions and goals and executions.

Most importantly, they both take the concept of a happy ending behind the shed and shoot it dead.

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Star Trek Discovery captain

CBS concluded its day of Television Critics Association panels with a session on their streaming service, CBS All Access, and their first original series for that service, Star Trek: Discovery. Bryan Fuller answered questions and we already posted his remarks that the lead character was female, and he intended to feature an openly gay character. Fuller also told the TCA that there were roughly seven leads, common for Star Trek series.  After the jump you can find out what else we learned about the new Star Trek television series.

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Darth Vader in Star Wars Rebels

The trailer for Star Wars Rebels Season 3 premiered at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016, revealing a new villain for our heroes. But with Grand Admiral Thrawn resurrected from Legends back into Star Wars canon, what does this mean for Darth Vader and his Inquisitors? Will we see the Jedi-turned-Sith leader or his Force-empowered Jedi hunter team of Inquisitors in the third season of the acclaimed Disney XD series? Star Wars Rebels creator Dave Filoni answers these questions, after the jump.

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Stranger Things

I’m not sure about you, but Stranger Things is still very much on our minds. That is why today we are presenting another round-up of Stranger Things-related goodness, from fan art to unofficial t-shirts, from fan theories to news, tidbits and beyond.

Find out when Stranger Things Season 2 will take place, find out what the Department of Energy thinks of the factual accuracy of the series, hear a crazy fan theory which tries to explain who Eleven is, learn how the Stranger Things key art was created, learn about the genius behind the design of the show’s typography, and how the show was turned down by over a dozen networks. All this and much much more below.

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suicide squad spoiler review

Based on its massive box office over the weekend, chances are strong that you’ve seen David Ayer‘s Suicide Squad. And based on how everyone is screaming about it, chances are just as strong that you have an opinion about it.

I’m not sure what to make of Suicide Squad, a movie that feels compromised from frame one, constantly confused about what it wants to be. I’m not sure if its uglier elements are intentional or the result of too many cooks not seeing the forest for the trees. I’m not sure we’ll ever know exactly what went wrong here until someone from the production decides to speak up in the future. Because right now, this is a baffling misfire of a movie with a few interesting highlights.

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SUICIDE SQUAD

You’ve probably read by now the long and troubled story of Warner Bros.’ meddling with Suicide Squad, which included extensive reshoots and the studio testing an alternate cut of the film which more closely matched the tone of the popular marketing campaign. We don’t know how much of that is true, but cast members have hinted that there are a lot of scenes removed from the theatrical cut. So what is missing from the film? Let’s take a look at the rumored list of Suicide Squad deleted scenes, followed up with some quotes from director David Ayer and Joker actor Jared Leto.

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Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Trailer

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve really been enjoying Star Wars Rebels. Between the Season 2 finale and the Season 3 premiere (which I saw early at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016), it seems like things are getting a lot more intense. Season 2’s climactic finale “Twilight of the Apprentice” ended with Clone Wars favorite Ashoka Tano coming face to face with her former master Darth Vader and becoming trapped and possibly killed in the Sith Temple, while Ezra is left with a Sith Holocron and is feeling the pull to the dark side.

That’s some pretty dark ground for a family television series. So when I talked to Star Wars Rebels creator/showrunner Dave Filoni at Celebration, I was curious just how dark Star Wars Rebels could get. Could Filoni kill off a beloved fan-favorite character like Ashoka? Could the main character of this kid’s animated series actually be turned to the dark side? Find out what Filoni says, after the jump.

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star wars rebels x-wings

At Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 I got a chance to sit down with Star Wars Rebels creator/showrunner Dave Filoni to talk about the future of the Disney XD animated series. I haven’t published the interview yet because I didn’t want it to get buried in the madness that was Comic-Con. But with San Diego behind us, let’s begin to take a look at some of the interesting bits that Filoni revealed.

Star Wars Rebels follows the Rebellion in the five years before Star Wars: A New Hope, but we’ve yet to see an X-Wing appear onscreen. So one of the first questions I asked Filoni is when we’ll finally see some X-Wings in Star Wars Rebels. Find out what he said about Star Wars Rebels X-Wings, after the jump.

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Mr Robot Logic Bomb recap

We got there, folks. Finally, things are happening on Mr. Robot. The definition of “happening” can be a little loose in this case, but if it was incident you were looking for, this is the episode that finally delivered—and with the promise of more to come! Personally, I was happy with the pace Sam Esmail was taking this season. It let us delve directly into Elliot’s psychology, and the psychology of the other characters, without letting the forward momentum of “plot” or “action” distracting us. It was a bold, patience-testing choice for many, but it fit right into what I’ve felt the show needs to do going forward: ignore TV convention.

TV is built on incident. It always has been. Whether it’s the episodic format requiring fully rounded and easily solved plots each week, or the longer serialized, soap operatic structure full of big moments and cliffhangers that keep us invested in hours upon hours of labyrinthine story, TV has always demanded THINGS! HAPPENING! Mr. Robot has never been that kind of show. Not exactly. In Season 1, things sure did happen, and with frequency. But it was also a show that devoted much of its fourth episode—fourth!—to a wild drug withdrawal trip through our protagonist’s subconscious.

In Season 2, Esmail has effectively doubled down on the idea that his series owes no allegiance to standard TV construction, instead mimicking a structure more familiar from film, only elongated. The effectiveness of this can be debated, but I believe this episode, the fifth hour of the second season, proves Esmail canny at the very least. The slow build toward Elliot asserting and gaining some level of control over his own psyche makes the confluence of consequences at the end of the episode that much more dramatic. Control, so hard earned; so easily shattered.

But what exactly happened in Season 2, Episode 5, “Logic Bomb”? What questions were answered, and what mysteries lay open for us to lose ourselves in? Follow along for more, and, as always, spoilers abound, folks.  Read More »