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New Escapist Video! “A Marvelous Escape” – Falcon and the Winter Soldier – “The Whole World is Watching” Discussion…

With a slew of Marvel Studios productions coming to Disney+ over the next six months, The Escapist has launched a weekly show discussing these series. I’ll be joining the wonderful Jack Packard and the fantastic KC Nwosu to break down WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki as they come out.

This week, we take a look at the fourth episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which I continue to really like, even with some caveats about possible “both-sides-ism.” It’s continues to be an interesting and clever reworking of certain flawed elements of both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War.

New Escapist Column! On the Legacy of “Game of Thrones”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the tenth (or “iron”) anniversary of Game of Thrones coming up, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the show’s enduring legacy – in particular, the disconnect between the internet’s narrative of that legacy and the reality of it. To listen to the internet, Game of Thrones ended in such a way as to erase its cultural footprint and any residual cultural goodwill towards it. It’s not uncommon to hear people talk, at length, about how nobody talks about Game of Thrones anymore. However, there’s a fascinating dissonance here, because Game of Thrones appears to be thriving by any quantifiable measure. You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 3, Episode 21 (“Via Dolorosa”)

Last year, I was thrilled to spend a lot of time on The Time is Now discussing the second season of Millennium. Since the podcast has moved on to the third season, I have taken something of a step back as a guest. That said, I have been a bit more active in the second half of the third season. I was flattered to get an invitation to discuss the show’s penultimate episode, Via Dolorosa, with host Kurt North and guest Chris Knowles.

The series finale of Millennium is an episode that I’m admittedly divided on. It’s a two-parter that attempts to a staggering amount: to tell one last serial killer of the week story, to pull back and look at the bigger picture around these monsters, to wrap up the major character arcs for both the season and the show, and to serve as a satisfying conclusion to an uneven season and to a wildly disjointed series as a whole. It’s a lot to ask of a two parter, and Millennium certainly makes a valiant – if imperfect – effort.

As ever, you can listen directly to the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here, or click the link below.

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New Escapist Video! “A Marvelous Escape” – Falcon and the Winter Soldier – “Power Broker” Discussion…

With a slew of Marvel Studios productions coming to Disney+ over the next six months, The Escapist has launched a weekly show discussing these series. I’ll be joining the wonderful Jack Packard and the fantastic KC Nwosu to break down WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki as they come out.

This week, we take a look at the third episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which I really liked. It’s an interesting and clever reworking of certain flawed elements of both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War.

New Escapist Column! On “Invincible” and the Future of Superheroic Storytelling

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of the first three episodes of Invincible on Amazon Prime on Friday, I thought it was worth taking a look at what the new show means.

Invincible makes a big step forward for Amazon. As Warners and Disney continue consolidating their superhero content under their established brands, other studios are going to have to find ways to compete in the superhero content wars. Invincible is a fascinating testcase: a lavish adult-skewing hour-long animated series that aims to deliver superhero spectacle with a character largely unknown to the larger public. If the chow can make an impact, it bodes well for studios without their in-house intellectual property farms.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! On “WandaVision” and the Death of Ambiguity…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with every second Monday article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film channel – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, following the end of WandaVision, it seemed like an appropriate time to take a look at what the show said about contemporary pop culture, in particular the show’s approach to its “mystery box” format and its insistence on explaining every ambiguity without any willingness to leave space for interpretation. It’s a big, ambitious video essay that looks at everything from Lost to Twin Peaks to The X-Files to Doctor Who, and I hope you enjoy.

New Escapist Video! “A Marvelous Escape” – Falcon and the Winter Soldier – “New World Order” Discussion…

With a slew of Marvel Studios productions coming to Disney+ over the next six months, The Escapist has launched a weekly show discussing these series. I’ll be joining the wonderful Jack Packard and the fantastic KC Nwosu to break down WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki as they come out.

This week, we take a look at the first episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which offers a promising start to the new show. it does a lot of basic character work, but also establishes a lot of the show’s tone, most notably anchoring it as a Reagan era action throwback. It’s a lot of fun.

New Escapist Review! On the “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” as an 1980s Buddy Action Movie…

I published a new review at The Escapist this evening. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is premiering on Disney+ tomorrow, so I took a look at the first episode.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier obviously exists as a follow-up to the thrills of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, but the most canny shift is to swap the obvious influence of seventies paranoid thrillers on those earlier films for a more bombastic sort of action inspired by eighties action action movies. It’s a switch that works well enough, playing very much to the strengths of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 3, Episode 18 (“Bardo Thodol”)

Last year, I was thrilled to spend a lot of time on The Time is Now discussing the second season of Millennium. Since the podcast has moved on to the third season, I have taken something of a step back as a guest. That said, I have been a bit more active in the second half of the third season. I was flattered to get an invitation to discuss Bardo Thodol with host Kurt North.

As with Saturn Dreaming of Mercury two episodes prior, there’s an appealing oddness to Bardo Thodol, which often feels like something of a waking dream. It is an episode that seems to exist as a collection of dream imagery combined and compressed into an episode of television. It’s an episode that I struggle to properly makes sense of which, which is undoubtedly part of the appeal.

As ever, you can listen directly to the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here, or click the link below.

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New Escapist Column! On “WandaVision” and the Death of Ambiguity…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With WandaVision ending just over a week ago, I had some thoughts about art, ambiguity and meaning. You know, small things.

One of the more interesting aspects of WandaVision was the way in which it presented itself, and was received as, a “mystery box” show. It was framed and treated as a puzzle to be solved. What’s interesting about this is the care that the finale took to carefully explain and confront each possible fan theory and speculation, to communicate very simply and very straightforwardly not only what its audience was supposed to take from this story, but also how they were supposed to feel in response to certain key plot beats.

This is arguably a reflection of a larger trend in pop culture, in which there’s a strong rejection of the idea of ambiguity and an embrace of the idea that everything has a fixed meaning that can be clearly determined and objectively derived. This ignores the reality that art exists in ambiguity, that there’s no simple, single decoder ring and that meaning is often something derived from conversation between the art and the audience consuming it.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.