Hannibal

Think back to days of yore before 2010, a more innocent time, and conjure up the most recent television show you watched up to that point which fit neatly into the horror genre. Was it Are You Afraid of the Dark? Or Tales from the Crypt? Maybe (probably) The X-Files? If it seems like I’m going too far back and missing the obvious choices keep in mind that American Horror Story didn’t hit the air until 2011, and The Walking Dead started the horror television renaissance in, you guessed it, 2010. Don’t worry, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s halfway through 2014 already, too.

I’m so happy that The Walking Dead got a pilot and subsequently got renewed for full seasons. Not because I’m a fan of the TV show (I loved the comic while I was reading it but god help me I just can’t bring myself to care about the plot or the characters or GODDAMMIT CARL, GET IN THE HOUSE) but because without The Walking Dead there is no way that NBC would be airing Hannibal right now. And Hannibal, I think, is one of the most lovingly crafted pieces of art available to the masses in recent memory.

(Warning: this entry contains spoilers.)

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

Is there any literary device more maligned and misused than time travel? I don’t think any other concept has spawned as much confusion and (ultimately) exasperated resignation in an audience. It’s so hard to get right, so I wonder, why do we keep going back to the well on this? I think maybe it’s the universal human desire to get a “do over”; we all have memories which might have played out differently at our current level of knowledge and wisdom. Who wouldn’t like to go back and correct a few mistakes?

If I’m right, though, there may be no more glaring example of pure irony in the history of entertainment. The list of stories that used time travel in an interesting a novel way are hugely outnumbered by the cliché and confusing examples, yet writers keep dusting the concept off for another go. Despite the overwhelming odds that the next story will end up atop the pile of bad examples, writers continue to venture forth into the world of paradoxes, causality loops, and unexplained mechanisms.

How many of those writers would like to go back in time to stop themselves from failing?

(Warning: this entry contains spoilers.)

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Agents of SHIELD

As a life-long reader of Marvel comics and someone who enjoys my action/adventure with a healthy dose of funny I am soundly within the target demographic for Marvel’s most recent foray into the world of live action television. Weekly stories within their shared cinematic universe? More Phil Coulson? A place for Marvel to introduce some of their less popular or “movie friendly” characters? I really, really, want to love Agents of SHIELD.

But I don’t. Not yet.

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