Hedwig and the Angry Inch

I think it’s fair to say that one’s first Broadway experience will always be memorable, largely independent of the quality of the show. This is magnified, I expect, by the not-insignificant overlap of first time visits to New York City. Love it or hate it, Times Square is a sight to behold. Descending into the subway below the dark streets of the West Village only to climb out of the Times Square station into the artificial daylight was incredible. The blinding energy of the place is going to stick with me; unsurprisingly much of that night will linger in my memory, from the ushers in their traditional uniforms from a bygone era to the shock at the limited size of the Belasco’s stage.

Most of all I’ll remember Neil Patrick Harris’ blowing my mind. And a microphone.

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Snowpiercer

Sometimes I feel like storytelling has gotten too complicated for its own good. I wonder how many writers have felt pressured to break new ground in their chosen genre, or how many would-be writers never put pen to page because they worry that their ideas aren’t “fresh” enough. Aiming high is good, that’s how progress is made. Yet I find myself slightly disappointed by some of what I read and watch because the stories don’t fully ascend to the apogee of their aspirations. The film version of The Fountain comes to mind. So does Sucker Punch. These aren’t bad stories per se, they just fall a little short of the inherent promise made to us by the tellers: “This one is different. This one is more.”

There’s a reason why fiction can be broken down into familiar structures taught to students young enough to struggle with cursive handwriting. Those structures may seem tired but they just work, and if one understands them well enough it becomes unnecessary to try to break free from them. Snowpiercer is a wonderful example of what happens when a writer doesn’t try to get fancy with format and just lets the story tell itself.

(Warning: this entry and its comments contain spoilers.)

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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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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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