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Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor (Review)

“Forced regeneration. Forced degeneration.”

The Power of the Doctor is in some ways a fitting conclusion to the Chibnall era, and an illustration of the era’s lost potential.

Trained for this.

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New Escapist Column! On Making Sense of “For the Fans”…

I published a new column at The Escapist earlier this week. With the recent releases of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of SkywalkerGhostbusters: Afterlife and Spider-Man: No Way Home, it seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on the argument that franchise brand extensions exist “for the fans.” What does that even mean?

As a fan myself, I find myself unsettled and disturbed by the idea that these sorts of properties should exist primarily for the satisfaction and consumption of the existing fanbase, not least because it means validating certain kinds of fans above others and pushes franchises towards an aesthetic conservativism that often strangles them. Perhaps the best thing to do “for the fans” is simply to make media as good as possible and let history sort the rest out.

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

New Escapist Video! On “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” as the First Fan Service Blockbuster…

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 release of Mortal Kombat, we thought we’d give audiences what they really wanted. Yes, that’s right: a deep dive on Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

New Escapist Column! On the “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” as the First Fan Service Blockbuster…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Mortal Kombat over the weekend, it seemed like as good a time as any to take a look back at the earlier nineties iteration of the cinematic franchise.

In particular, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a much more interesting movie than is often acknowledged. It is a complete disaster in just about every sense, but is a revealing one. Watched from remove of two decades, Annihilation often feels like a template for the sort of fan service blockbuster that we now take for granted, with its broad themes of “family” and its plot that serves primarily as an object on which continuity references and nostalgic shoutouts might be ornately arranged.

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 Column! On Servicing the Wrong Fans in “The Rise of Skywalker”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine a few weeks back, looking at the ways in which Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker worked so hard to erase Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, and in doing so played to the worst aspects of fandom. It proved controversial.

It is hard to determine exactly what The Rise of Skywalker is about, beyond the vague hope of parents that their radicalised children might be redeemed. Indeed, The Rise of Skywalker is largely defined by reaction. It exists primarily as a rejection of The Last Jedi, often feeling as though it was written from a beat sheet punctuated by angry replies to Rian Johnson over the past two years. The result is a movie that knows what it isn’t, but desperately unsure of what it actually is.

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