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New Escapist Column! On How “WandaVision” Lags Behind “Legion” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”….

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Today marked the release of the WandaVision finale, so it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the season as a whole, and where it stands in terms of the modern television landscape.

One of the most striking aspects of the first half of WandaVision‘s first season was the skill and fidelity that the show demonstrated in recreating classic television sitcoms. The show’s basic conceit found the characters journeying through television’s history and hurdling towards the present. Unfortunately, WandaVision stumbled when it hit the present, particularly when compared to two relatively recent shows tackling similar themes and working in similar genres blending fantasy and reality as meditations on trauma and mental health problems: Legion and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

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

New Escapist Video! “A Marvelous Escape” – Re-Runs…

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 eighth (and penultimate) episode of WandaVision, which offers a lot of backstory and a healthy dose of retcons. It’s a mixed back as the show beds down for its endgame, combining beautiful lines and interesting images with decidedly unambitious plotting and clunky construction.

New Escapist Video! Wanda to the Maximoff…

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 sixth episode of WandaVision, which is mostly about how much we love Malcolm in the Middle, whether the series has the courage to hold Wanda to account for her transgressions, and the level of meta-awareness playing over the story.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Expanse” is the Science-Fiction Show for the Moment…

I published a new column at The Escapist this evening. Since I binged The Expanse and since the season finale is out this week, I figured it was worth taking a look at the show as one of the defining television series of the past ten years.

Every generation gets a science-fiction show that reflects its particular anxieties. The Expanse is a show that engages aggressively with the concerns of the moment. It is a show about fragmentation, about nationalism, about inequality, about exploitation and about power. In the same way that Star Trek spoke to the uncertainty and tumult of the sixties, and Battlestar Galactica spoke to the nightmare of the War on Terror, The Expanse resonates with a world still coming to terms with the aftermath of the Great Recession.

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

219. Dom za vešanje (Time of the Gypsies) – This Just In (#220)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and with special guests Jason Coyle and Ronan Doyle, This Just In is a subset of The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Emir Kusturica’s Dom za vešanje.

Perhan lives a simple life in a gypsy community outside of Skopje. He dreams of marrying Azra, but his social standing is not high enough. Events conspire to take Perhan away from his community, embarking on a trip to Italy with local legend Ahmed and with the promise of a new and prosperous life waiting for him. Inevitably, Perhan discovers that this life is not what was promised, and faces the possibility that he might also be something different than he expected himself to be.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 220th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On How “WandaVision” Finds the MCU Coming to (and For) Television…

I published a new column at The Escapist last week, but didn’t get a chance to share it. With WandaVision now streaming on Disney+, it seemed like a good idea to take a look at it.

The most striking thing about WandaVision is how immersed it is in the language of television. Previous attempts to bring the MCU to television treated it as secondary to movies; Netflix shows like Daredevil or Iron Fist were treated as thirteen-hour movies, while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter lived off scraps from the films that drove the shared universe. In contrast, WandaVision is not just a thriving celebration of television as a medium, it’s also an exploration of it. This is very firmly and very definitely the MCU coming to television.

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

New Escapist Column! On How “WandaVision” Plays Sitcom as Horror and Nostalgia as Nightmare…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With WandaVision currently streaming on Disney+, it seemed like an interesting opportunity to look at the show’s use of the language of sitcoms.

In particular, sitcoms have long been a staple genre of American television. However, they don’t just reflect cultural norms, they also project an aspirational ideal. For generations of Americans, the domestic sitcom presented a vision of domestic life that shaped and informed popular consciousness. In WandaVision, those nostalgic fantasies become a trap and a waking nightmare, as characters build themselves a life of seeming domestic bliss dictated by decades of television. Wanda has built herself a cage, treating television as a mirror.

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

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

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 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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New Video! Talking “TENET” on Turkish Television…

I had the pleasure of appearing on Showcase on TRT World earlier this week, to discuss the upcoming release of TENET and Christopher Nolan’s career in general. You can watch the segment below, if you want.

“The Truman Show” Didn’t Just Predict Our Future, But Also the Future of How Movies Would Be Sold…

More than twenty years after its release, it feels like everything that might be said about The Truman Show has already been said.

The Truman Show is that rare Hollywood blockbuster that feels somehow simultaneously timeless, timely and prescient. It speaks to anxieties that resonate throughout history, fears that were very particular to the cusp of the millennium, and to nightmares that were yet to come. It belongs at once to that age-old anxiety that the world is an illusion and human comprehension is insufficient, to the difficult-to-articulate existential uncertainty of the so-called “end of history”, to a future in which everybody would willingly become the star of their own Truman Show.

Indeed, The Truman Show seems to say so much about the world outside itself and the human condition that it’s possible to miss the film itself. Peter Weir’s late nineties blockbuster is a surreal slice of history itself, a relatively big budget mainstream release starring one of the most famous people on the planet, built around a rather abstract high concept. Not only was the film a massive critical success, it also managed to survive and prosper against a heated summer season.

While its actual themes and contents might be dystopian, The Truman Show itself offers an optimistic glimpse of a kind of blockbuster that seems increasingly unlikely.

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