Agents of SHIELD S6 Gives Us Adventures in Deep Space and Alien Invasions

I’m trying to unpackage my feelings about this latest season. I loved most of it. But then the last episode happened and it was…a little ridiculous.

Keeping the Plotlines Fresh

After so many seasons and so many threats, the show somehow still manages to find innovative threats that feel fresh. The world keeps getting bigger. The season opens with half the team on an escapade through deep space, heading into alien territory that they usually steer clear of. Meanwhile, a huge mystery is introduced back home.

I spent the whole season on the edge of my seat, hyped to find out what is happening, how it’s happening, and who has what motivation. Continue reading “Agents of SHIELD S6 Gives Us Adventures in Deep Space and Alien Invasions”

Jessica Jones Brings Three Seasons of Character Development to a Close

It’s the end of the third and final season of Jessica Jones, a gritty show following a superpowered PI.

And wow, does it go places.

The climax of season three is the culmination of the character work from the past three seasons. The first half of the season only hints at what’s building, but by the time it comes into fruition, it feels like both a logical progression and something too extreme to have predicted. I don’t think the execution is always as good as the idea it’s trying to convey–a few of the details open themselves up to nitpicking and criticism–but the broad strokes are clear and powerful.

Every Season is Deeply Personal

Looking back on the entire show, what strikes me is how much every season centered around personal stakes for Jessica. This is not your normal day-in-the-life detective or superhero show. Each season centers around one plot, and that plot is always massively entwined with Jess’ life. And while each decision is harder than the last, somehow that progression coincides with Jess putting herself a little more together after the mess she starts out as. Continue reading “Jessica Jones Brings Three Seasons of Character Development to a Close”

The Umbrella Academy: Deep Character Work Mixed with Over-the-Top Action

what in the world did I just watch?

Gritty and Outlandish

It’s like this show has a switch. It’ll be this serious drama about a messed-up family with superpowers, then boom, suddenly it’s this over-the-top action/time travel/spy thriller that combines festive music with its shootouts. It all works really well together, and I’m still not sure how.

The comic book-based movies/TV shows that I’ve seen have either been gritty and realistic(ish), or feel-good and outlandish. The Umbrella Academy distinguishes itself by being gritty and outlandish.

Six Superpowered Siblings, and One on the Outside Looking In

The show follows seven siblings that were born on the same day, and adopted by a man who expected them to have powers. He raised six of them to be superheroes, while the seventh one was ordinary. One died (though he still shows up sometimes). One tried to use his powers to time travel, and was never heard from again. And all of them left and fell out of touch as they grew up.

But now, number 5 (the time traveler) is back from the future, with the information that the world is about to end in the next week. And he has no idea how or why. Continue reading “The Umbrella Academy: Deep Character Work Mixed with Over-the-Top Action”

I Put a Spell On You Fantasy Giveaway and Legacies Mixing Supernatural Thriller with Teen Drama

Two things today, first a news item, and then a review of Legacies season one.

1. I Put a Spell On You Giveaway

BooksGoSocial is running their I Put a Spell On You fantasy giveaway, with 20 offerings including a preview of my urban fantasy novel, Terrestrial Magic.

2. Legacies

I’m pretty torn about this show. Because it fluctuates between being a supernatural thriller (which I like) and teen drama (which I don’t). Everything it does is well-executed, but whether or not I’m enjoying what’s playing on my screen tends to depend on what the show is going for at a particular moment.

Unraveling the mystery of a void that erased the memory of whole cadre of fantasy creatures from existence? Fending off monsters with wide-ranging powers? Navigating the consequences of your decisions? I am there for all of that.

Trying to win a beauty pageant? Not so much. Continue reading “I Put a Spell On You Fantasy Giveaway and Legacies Mixing Supernatural Thriller with Teen Drama”

Roundup: Books-to-TV, Critical Role’s Animated Series, and a Book Award

Grad school is pretty hectic at the moment, so I don’t have time to write a long post. But I figured I’d mention a few recent geeky news items, and a personal update.

1. Have you guys heard about the Lord of the Rings TV show coming to Amazon? I’ve just found out it will be set before all of the action in the original trilogy and The Hobbit–which is super exciting, because I really want to see new plotlines and characters in fantasy TV.

2) Speaking of book-to-movie adaptations, Leigh Bardugo’s stories are going to have a Netflix adaptation, though I’m still confused about exactly what is being adapted. There’s been talk about both of her first two series, which have different plotlines, different characters, and take place on different continents. So are there going to be two Netflix series? Once series combining both stories? What’s going on?

Either, anything that adapts Six of Crows’ amazing fantasy heist is worth keeping an eye on.

3. Critical Role will be making an animated series. They put up a Kickstarter last week that became fully funded within an hour of launching, blew through every stretch goal (forcing them to come up with new ones), and is currently somewhere around $6.7M. Because that’s the power of a dedicated fanbase. (I backed the project too, especially since some of their rewards will be available to everyone, not just backers.)

This is pretty cool, because the format for the regular show is esoteric enough to be a bit of a barrier towards viewers who aren’t already familiar with or interested in tabletop RPGs. But an animated series will create a new possible entry point.

4.  Chains Carried on Wings is a finalist for The Wishing Shelf Book Awards! It’s in category 4: Books for Teenagers. Maybe I should have led with that, instead of burying it at the bottom. But when it comes to this self-promoting nonsense, even mentioning it is already an improvement.

How Cloak and Dagger Develops Its Con-Artist Heroine

I couldn’t sworn I’d already posted this, only to find I had a draft saved on my computer and no record of it on my blog. Oh well, at least I remembered to do it before the second season of this young adult superhero TV series comes out.

Cloak and Dagger has some seriously subtle character development, and it is astounding to watch. In the other post I wrote about it, I literally spent 600 words gushing over the first ten minutes, that’s how much there is to unpackage in this show. Today, I want to talk about co-protagonist Tandy’s character journey over the course of the season. Continue reading “How Cloak and Dagger Develops Its Con-Artist Heroine”

New York Comic Con 2018 and Critical Role Live

This past week I attended both New York Comic Con and the live show for Critical Role in New York. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well enough to make the most of it, but it was enjoyable all the same. There are my highlights:

Critical Role Live: The weekly session of voice actors playing DnD that I keep talking about. (The above animated sequence was widely cheered by the audience.) This turned out to be a good time to catch the live show, because there were apparently a bunch of problems with the audio online. The first hour was fantastic, the energy in the room infectious, but I did get a progressively larger headache as the night went on. I actually remember thinking, ‘well, this is still good, but I’d probably have caught more of what’s going on from home.’ Nope, turns out the live show was still the best place to be. Continue reading “New York Comic Con 2018 and Critical Role Live”

Doctor Who Season 9: The Highlights of the Doctor’s (Female) Supporting Cast

I enjoyed a lot about this season. It wasn’t perfect, and I didn’t like every episode, but there were a number of story arcs that captured my interest. Doctor Who season 9 was at its best when it was a little bit sad, but also gave its characters a little bit more time.

In contrast to most of the previous seasons, this season featured quite a few interesting character journeys that focused on women. Doctor Who has not traditionally been that great with female characters, so color me surprised. (Spoilers follow.) Missy almost feels like a test run for a female Doctor (though I didn’t know that back when she first appeared, and thought it might have been appeasement to the fans who wanted a female Doctor without actually providing that.)

Still, I’m glad that the season also featured Ashildr (who I wrote about previously) and allowed Clara’s sometimes mediocre character to finish on a powerful note. Because I want to see original female characters with interesting stories and agency of their own, not only gender-flipped versions of previously male characters. Continue reading “Doctor Who Season 9: The Highlights of the Doctor’s (Female) Supporting Cast”

Agents of SHIELD S5: Still Going Strong Despite Some Stumbles

Genre: Action/Superhero

Synopsis: Our SHIELD agents find themselves thrown into the future, where the Earth has been cracked apart and rendered uninhabitable, while humanity is enslaved by an alien race. They must find out how they got here, what happened, and how to get back in order to stop the end of the world. 

Their information about the apocalypse is incomplete, and each agent must make their own decisions about what they think it will take to save humanity–and whether they’re willing to do that.

Series: The fifth season is over, there will be a sixth.

I’ve Watched: All of it.

Verdict: Totally worth it, though not everything worked for me this season.

Agents of SHIELD is always a good, solid watch. The first arc of the season, where the team ends up in the future and witnesses a post-apocalyptic world, was less enjoyable for me because the character reactions to their situation felt off. But the action was still exciting, and the moments when the characters were on point were totally worth it. Then everything was back on track after that first arc—the space arc—ended. Continue reading “Agents of SHIELD S5: Still Going Strong Despite Some Stumbles”

Cloak and Dagger: Instantly Captivates with Its Character Building

The image of a man and woman's faces over a dark background. The text reads "Marvel, Cloak and Dagger."
Image: Freeform

Genre: Superhero

Synopsis: Tandy is a delinquent fallen from her high-class background, and Tyrone is a sweet but haunted teen whose family is still caught in the grip of a tragedy that happened years ago. They both have a plethora of personal problems and a knack for getting in trouble…just as they each start developing powers.  Continue reading “Cloak and Dagger: Instantly Captivates with Its Character Building”