When Fandom Is the Problem

“Fandom” – the participatory community that grows out of a piece of media – has come to dominate pop culture. Fandom is not simply being a fan of something. Fandom is performing being a fan by creating transformative works, collecting knowledge, cosplaying, attending conventions, and, ever-increasingly, being vocal online. Some of this has been really great for people seeking communities they can’t find in real life, empowering them to be part of something that means a lot to them. And some of it has empowered only the worst elements of fan culture. Read More >>

How Fantastic Beasts Failed at Representation, and What J.K. Rowling Can Do About It

I come not to bury J.K. Rowling, but to praise her. Harry Potter was an honest to god phenomenon, impacting my generation in roughly the same way Star Wars did for the one before us. The world she created fascinated us and the fandom was deeply invested in the story. But in her rush to expand the Wizarding World beyond Wizarding Britain, Rowling has run into the limits of her experience and knowledge. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Read More >>

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Star Trek: Discovery Asks the Age Old Question: If You Kill Your Mirror Universe Self, Is It Murder or Suicide?

Ah, Discovery. This might be the best exploration one of these episodes has ever done in encapsulating just how miserable the Mirror Universe really is. Like, we all joke about goatees and the agony booth, but the idea’s existed for so long it’s almost been kitschy. Not anymore. But, of course, the true betrayal isn’t this universe’s versions of themselves, but something Discovery brought along with it. Read More >>

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The Mid-Season Finale of Star Trek: Discovery Was a Great Climax to a Show We Never Got

The mid-season finale of Star Trek: Discovery, “Into the Forest I Go,” finally got this show to the place it should have been all season. Of course, in the process, it had to jettison a lot of character development it has been working on—but since it was mostly stuff that was bad, I’m perfectly happy letting them get away with it. This episode was the climax to a season that never existed, a season where the plot and characterisation was better. You can see that potential here. Read More >>

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Star Trek: Discovery’s Biggest Problem Is That It’s a Prequel

“Lethe” was a character episode. It was fine. Well, it wasn’t. Every plot beat was fairly predictable, and the emotional resonance got about halfway there at best. At least I didn’t loathe it. I just found it tedious. And instead of thinking about Sarek and Burnham’s past and Lorca’s future, I kept wondering why this show even exists as a prequel. Read More >>

Stranger Things’ Second Season Lives Up to Its Incredible Expectations

Here’s the thing about Stranger Things season two: If you liked season one, and pretty much everyone did, then you’ll like this season just fine. Everything is turned up a bit, but the soul of Stranger Things remains what it was last season—a story about friendship, family, and giant piles of ‘80s nostalgia. Read More >>

Serialised Television Has Become a Disease

At New York Comic Con, during the Star Trek: Discovery panel, Alex Kurtzman said something that I’ve been thinking about a lot. He said that you couldn’t do “City on the Edge of Forever” now, because Kirk would have to spend a whole season mourning Edith Keeler. Read More >>

The Makers of Black Mirror on Season Four, the Dystopian Present, and Getting Tricked Into Liking Game of Thrones

At this year’s Emmy Awards, Black Mirror won Outstanding TV Movie and Outstanding Writing for “San Junipero,” an outing that everyone described as unusually uplifting for a show which often takes a quite bleak look at the world. When we talked to executive producer Annabel Jones and creator-executive producer-writer Charlie Brooker, they indicated that season four would be the home to more “San Juniperos.” Read More >>

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And Now Star Trek: Discovery Has Lost its Soul

Let’s talk about Captain Lorca, Ash Tyler, Harcourt Fenton Mudd, and the moral centre of Star Trek. I can’t believe I’m about to defend Harry Mudd. Goddammit, Discovery. Read More >>

The X-Files’ Return Resurrects an Old Favourite and a Major Dropped Plot Point

At New York Comic Con, Fox released the very first look at the eleventh season of The X-Files, due on our screens next year. They’ve only filmed five of the ten new episodes, so we know that only those episodes must be included. Which means there’s a lot going on in the beginning of the season. Read More >>

Agents of SHIELD’s Season Five Space Story Is Still a Mystery

After ending a spectacular season four—which included Ghost Rider, Life Model Decoys, and the Framework—Agents of SHIELD will be back for a two-hour premiere on December 1. Read More >>

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Alex Kurtzman Explains Star Trek: Discovery’s Klingons

During the Star Trek: Discovery panel at New York Comic Con, a fan in the audience asked about the look of the Klingons, which they described as being the most “African” they’ve ever looked. They went on to suggest that making them the villains could feel alienating to some fans. Read More >>

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The Thrawn Sequel Is Coming Next Summer and Will Feature Special Guest Star Darth Vader

At the Lucasfilm Publishing panel at New York Comic Con, Timothy Zahn announced that the sequel to his bestselling Thrawn novel will arrive next winter and will be called Thrawn: Alliances. Also, a certain Dark Lord of the Sith will be stopping by. Read More >>

Everything We Learned About Pacific Rim Uprising at New York Comic Con

To a packed and excited room at New York Comic Con, Pacific Rim Uprising revealed a ton of details about the characters, story, and, most importantly, the giant robots that make up the sequel. “It’s fun, it’s action, I think it’s everything you want Pacific Rim to be moving forward,” said producer and star John Boyega. Read More >>

Blade Runner 2049 Is Gorgeous, Long, Brilliant, Pretentious

Blade Runner 2049 is like staying up all night to finish a 150,000-word fanfic that you started reading, thought was good but not great, and then just kept reading because you’d committed to it, goddammit. And then the next morning, as you struggle bleary-eyed through the work day, you keep wondering if it was worth it. Read More >>