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New Escapist Column! A Look Back at The First Season of “Daredevil”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With WandaVision launching this weekend, it seemed like a good time to take a look back at Marvel’s first foray into streaming.

The series produced by Netflix are largely forgotten and overlooked in histories of the shared universe, which makes sense given that they operated at a remove from contemporaneous features like Avengers: Age of Ultron or Captain America: Civil War. However, when it originally premiered, the first season of Daredevil was jaw-dropping. It was bold and ambitious in a way that stood apart from the rest of the live action content associated with the studio. Marvel Studios could learn a lot from it as they return to the medium.

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

New Escapist Column! On How “Doctor Who” Is Less “Woke” Than It’s Been In Decades…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With rumours that Jodie Whittaker may be departing Doctor Who, it seems an appropriate time to look back her time on the show. In particular, the weird political furore around it.

Under producer Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who has been criticised for being “too woke” and “too politically correct.” This is interesting, because – if anything – the show is more conservative than it has been at any point since the mid-eighties. Under Chibnall, Doctor Who believes that “the systems aren’t the problem” and is openly deferential to authority. It frequently rejects the idea of radical systemic change, instead suggesting that the status quo is something to be preserved rather than disturbed.

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

New Escapist Column! On “Cobra Kai” and the Future of the “Netflix Bump”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Because the new season of Cobra Kai arrived on Netflix last week, I thought it was worth taking a look at the show’s relationship to Netflix.

Cobra Kai is just the latest in a series of shows that have been “saved” by the streaming service, with earlier seasons struggling on other providers only for Netflix to find an audience and even take up the bill; Arrested Development, You, Lucifer and so on. However, things are changing. As companies like YouTube bow out of the streaming wars and as companies like NBC begin consolidating their broadcast and streaming wings, there’s both fewer of these gems produced and less room for Netflix to get the ones that are produced to larger audience.

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

New Podcast! The Time is Now – Season 3, Episode 10 (“Borrowed Time”)

Earlier in the 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 was flattered to get an invitation to discuss Borrowed Time with the fantastic Kurt North.

Borrowed Time marks an interesting point of transition for the third season of Millennium. It arguable marks the point at which the third season begins acknowledging the second season as something that actually happened and something that has to be explored – both thematically and literally. Borrowed Time kicks off a triptych of episodes that continues through Collateral Damage and into The Sound of Snow, which begin to unpack and work through the shadow of the second season in increasingly direct and literal ways.

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

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Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks (Review)

“Have you had work done?”

“You’re one to talk.”

Like Resolution before it, Revolution of the Daleks is a special that largely works through momentum and spectacle, while failing to cohere into anything greater than the sum of its separate parts.

The cobbled together Dalek casing from Resolution is a major plot point in Revolution of the Daleks, but it also plays as metaphor for the episode itself. Even as early as The Woman Who Fell to Earth, it was clear that the Chibnall era did not share the same strengths as the Davies and Moffat eras before it. It is impossible to imagine Chibnall constructing a holiday special featuring characters bantering around a couple of generic sets. If he did, it would probably resemble The Timeless Children more than Twice Upon a Time, with characters just expositing at one another.

Insert political joke here.

Instead, Chibnall tends to construct his more successful episodes around propulsion and momentum; he likes to have multiple characters doing things simultaneously, while constantly throwing new elements into the mix to maintain some sense of forward movement. Revolution of the Daleks is not so much an episode as a collection of familiar Doctor Who elements thrown into a blender with even more familiar elements thrown on top. There’s a frantic sense of “… and then…” plotting to the episode, as Chibnall rhymes off any story coming into his head.

The result is an episode that is messier and more overstuffed than Resolution. Indeed, Resolution might have somewhat bungled the eponymous reconciliation between Ryan and his father, but at least it understood that this relationship was meant to be both the heart of the episode and the pay-off to a thread running through the season. In contrast, Revolution seems like a bunch of stuff happening incredibly quickly as the stakes frantically escalate and the story switches before the audience can get bored of it.

To be fair, everybody looks at Christmas leftovers the same way.

Revolution of the Daleks doesn’t really work. After all, despite all the stuff that happens in the episode, it is hard to pinpoint what it is actually supposed to be “about.” There are certainly scenes and developments that feel like they should be important, but they never really feel like organic evolution from one scene to the next. That said, Revolution of the Dalek manages to avoid falling completely flat. The sense of constant escalation prevents anything from collapsing into itself. Revolution of the Daleks is certainly more Spyfall, Part I than Spyfall, Part II.

At the same time, it is hardly revolutionary.

“It’s hard to keep track of how many stories this is referencing.”

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New Escapist Feature! Interviewing the Cast and Crew of “Vikings”…

I published a new piece at The Escapist today.

This is something of a new departure for me. With the television show Vikings winding down and releasing its final season on Amazon Prime, I had a chance to sit down with the cast and crew to talk about the show and its history, about what it was like working on a series with that scale and scope. It was a fun and broad discussion, and also the first time I’ve conducted an interview like this.

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

New Escapist Video! “The Mandalorian – Chapter 16: The Rescue”

I’m thrilled to be launching 3-Minute Reviews on Escapist Movies. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’ll be doing weekly reviews of The Mandalorian.

The review of the finale episode of the second season, The Rescue, is available below.

New Escapist Video! “The Mandalorian – Chapter 15: The Believer”

I’m thrilled to be launching 3-Minute Reviews on Escapist Movies. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’ll be doing weekly reviews of The Mandalorian.

The review of the seventh and penultimate episode of the second season, The Believer, is available below.

New Escapist Video! “The Mandalorian – Chapter 14: The Tragedy”

I’m thrilled to be launching 3-Minute Reviews on Escapist Movies. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’ll be doing weekly reviews of The Mandalorian.

The review of the sixth episode of the second season, The Tragedy, is available below.

New Escapist Video! “The Mandalorian – Chapter 13: The Jedi”

I’m thrilled to be launching 3-Minute Reviews on Escapist Movies. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’ll be doing weekly reviews of The Mandalorian.

The review of the fifth episode of the second season, The Jedi, is available below.