Arcs, Loops, and WESTWORLD

The negative reception to the recent Assassin’s Creed movie has gotten me thinking about why it’s proven so difficult to adapt videogames into movies, even as movies and television begin to resemble videogames more and more.

And I don’t just mean in terms of CG or action direction, or other things mainly focused around aesthetic. I’ve been noticing that a lot more narrative media is borrowing the narrative mechanics of videogames, and it’s not just limited to stuff like Superhero movies where at least the two share the broader traits of power-fantasy. But even as this confluence seems to be blurring the lines between dramatic-narrative and ludo-narrative, I think it’s important to understand the limits each has to storytelling.

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Black Mirror Season 3 – Mini Reviews

Before we get into the new season, I thought I should give just numerical scores for the previous episodes of Black Mirror:

The National Anthem – 4/5 | Fifteen Million Merits – 3/5 | Be Right Back – 5/5 | The Entire History of You – 5/5 | White Bear – 3/5 | The Waldo Moment – 2/5 | White Christmas – 5/5

And now on to Season 3:


Nosedive was not a great opener to the season. But we’ll start with the good.

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The Get Down and Modern Mythmaking

~Spoilers for The Get Down~

The Get Down is the best show Netflix has ever produced.

I loved Jessica Jones and Lady Dynamite and Stranger Things, among others – but The Get Down is in a league of its own. Besides being the sort of visual spectacle that only a director like Baz Luhrmann can provide (as showrunner and director of the first feature-length episode), amazing acting and singing talent, and overall well written, and broadly human characters; The Get Down is a successful exercise in modern mythmaking. And I don’t mean that in the same way that The Lord of the Rings or Jack Kirby’s Fourth World involve making new pantheons and worlds.

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Straying From the Source: The Advantages of Looser Adaptations

~This post contains spoilers for Batman v Superman, and The Flash~

As a comic book fan, I realized long ago that I am winning the current pop-culture landscape. It seems that every day there is a new adaptation announced of these characters and stories I love, from the almost sickening amount of big-budget blockbusters released since 2008, and scheduled for release through the end of the decade, to almost every channel on television looking for their own comic to adapt. And as I consume more and more of these new films and shows I find myself wanting these adaptations to stray further from the source material.

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Season 2 (2016) Review

The first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was an unabashedly joyful surprise. Filled with densely layered comedy delivered with smiles instead of snark, Kimmy Schmidt found comedy in the absurd, yes; but also in the thrill of breaking one’s chains. Kimmy was a fish out of water after being rescued from her kidnapper of 15 years, and spent that first season helping her new friends escape their own versions of her bunker.

Now in season two, all of these characters have real room to breathe, discovering who they want to be now that the entire world is open to them, and the show takes full advantage of the comic potential here. Kimmy Schmidt season two is an almost perfect follow up, growing into new territory while providing more of what made the first season so charming and endearing. Unfortunately, season two also has more of a problem I had with first season, with some shockingly un-nuanced views of certain touchy topics.

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This post marks the end of the content I made first for my youtube channel. Every post after this one is made after the creation of this blog. That doesn’t mean the end of videos, just don’t expect as many. I am considering keeping Storytelling 101 as an ongoing video series, because I do like the more casual, conversational tone I think video has, but I might experiment with some written posts in that series from time-to-time. I’ll still be pumping out a lot of the same content: movie and comic reviews and the like, but expect a whole bunch … Continue reading FROM HERE ON OUT! NEW STUFF!

Daredevil – Season 2 (2016) Review

Directed by: Phil Abraham, Marc Jobst, Peter Hoar, Floria Sigismondi, Andy Goddard, Ken Girotti, Michael Uppendahl, Stephen Surjik, Euros Lyn
Written by: Marco Ramirez, Douglas Petrie, Mark Verheiden, John C. Kelley, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, Sneha Koorse, Luke Kalteux, Whit Anderson,
Starring: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Jon Bernthal, Élodie Yung, Stephen Rider, Scott Glenn, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio

(Originally written for Youtube Mar 21 2016)

This week, instead of a movie, I’m reviewing season two of Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil, because that’s what I watched this weekend, and it’s kind of up my alley of things, so what the heck?

Season two of Daredevil is an improvement in almost every way over the first season, which has not aged well over the past year, especially in comparison to the other Netflix Marvel project, Jessica Jones, which is still outclasses Daredevil in every way other than perhaps opening credits. But, Daredevil still does everything you’d expect it would from the first season, does it better, and even brings to screen a better character in Punisher than I thought could ever be possible.

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