Happy Halloween, everybody! Sadly, this will be the last post of the year. I know, it’s awful, but we writers have been working hard, and we need a longer break than usual to recover.
I do hope you have all been enjoying yourself, because I have not. October has been a rough month for me, and my quest to find something to watch to fulfill my Halloween needs hasn’t helped much. Lord knows American Horror Story is, well… it’s something. And the original 1990 It didn’t do much for me either. It was halfway through It that I realized Stranger Things’s second season was out—excited, I forced my sister-in-law to quit It with me and watch it. And oh, thank God. Stranger Things was the pick-me-up I needed. It is so wonderful watching a story where the good outweighs the bad. I hope my love for this show hasn’t been influenced by the shit I watched before it, but Stranger Things’s second season was awesome.
I’ve recently been binge-watching Fringe for the first time. It’s a series about the “Fringe” division of the FBI, where Agent Olivia Dunham and her team investigate strange and paranormal events, visit parallel universes, and save the day by being smart and badass. I honestly can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get into a show that’s three parts X-Files and one part NCIS. I found myself most intrigued by a strange one-off episode during Season 2 that was actually filmed in Season 1, but aired out of order on a different night for boring, time constraints reasons. Fans aren’t even certain exactly where it fits in the show’s timeline. It’s called “Unearthed,” and was panned by a lot of critics.
But this rather bad episode succeeds at one thing: giving its audience portrayal of a real religion that isn’t wildly offensive or inaccurate. It does a great job giving us a small window into what Catholicism looks like today. Catholicism pops up all the time in science fiction, maybe because its trappings are easily identifiable for audiences. I’m happy to see a show get a lot of the details right, even though it’s tucked away in an episode no one really cares about. The most shocking thing to me is that the narrative doesn’t make these characters into perfectly good Catholics, either. They’re much more real than what I’m used to seeing.
After hearing the news that James Cameron would be helming a film adaptation of Battle Angel Alita next year, I decided to take a dive into the series and see what the fuss was about. I’d never actually read it, but after 15 years of anime convention-going I was sure I’d heard the name before. And since I like to be an informed critic, and am already strapped in and ready to critique the movie (with its tragically predictable almost-Asian-less cast) I figured there was no harm in familiarizing myself with it for dragging’s sake.
Well, after reading all nine volumes of the series, I can confidently say that while I can explain the story, I have no idea what the fuck it is about.
It’s no secret that I wasn’t particularly wowed by the third season of Voltron: Legendary Defender. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t still binge the fourth season — all… six… episodes of it — as soon as they dropped last Friday. I went into this season hoping for a lot more meaty character development after the setup and plot heavy last season, but did I get it?
The short answer is: no. Season 4 continued to barrel along at a breakneck pace without ever giving us any meaty character background-support that would help justify or strengthen the sweeping actions the characters took.
I almost don’t know where to start talking about Tacoma. There’s a lot going on at once in the game and, yet, very little of it actually happens to the player character. Like The Fullbright Company’s first title, Gone Home, Tacoma combines a powerful and intimate story about human relationships with a genre setting that creates an immersive atmosphere for the player to piece that story together. In GH, that was the story of a family going through rough times and the setting was a “haunted house” they’d recently moved into, and in Tacoma, the story is that of the crew of a recently abandoned space station and the setting is the station they left behind. Also like its predecessor, Tacoma’s story is extremely inclusive. After playing Gone Home I remember thinking, “I can’t wait to see what they can do with a bigger budget now that this game is a huge success.” The answer is Tacoma, and it’s an answer that was worth waiting for.
The main hallway of Tacoma station; while there’s a cool zero gravity basketball mini game to play here and some fantastic views, the stories behind these doors are what makes the game memorable. (Screenshot from Tacoma.)
I’m obsessed with space and all things science that I don’t understand. Ever since I was a young girl, space fascinated me and still does to this day. I devoured nearly every story I could get a hold of if it was even remotely connected to outer space. As such, there are a few franchises I’ve been in love with all my life, such as the Alien movies, a sci-fi series featuring alien creatures called Aliens eating their way out of people’s chests. The series is also supposed to be horror, my least favorite genre, but despite that, something about them makes me love all of them, even the bad ones. Well, almost all of them.
I think the first Alien movie that I actively hated was 2012’s Prometheus. Prometheus is the first movie in the prequel series, followed by this year’s Alien: Covenant, and well, Covenant is also really bad. It’s got all of the shitty pretentiousness of Prometheus, in that it thinks it’s being deep and meaningful when it’s really just being stupid, not to mention that its plot is also completely driven by illogical decisions on the part of the characters. But unlike Prometheus, it actually features Aliens, which means I adore it.
An Alien on fire? Fuck yeah! (screenshot by me)
Spoilers below and a trigger warning for sexual violence.
As is often our wont, we ended up reccing a fic for something before we actually reviewed the thing. Ah well; such is fandom. Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 3 was, as I mentioned in my fic rec, a bit, uh, brief; only seven episodes long, to be precise. On the upside, there will be more story in October when Season 4 drops; on the downside, S4 will only be six episodes long, which makes it kind of feel like it’s just the second half of Season 3 gussied up to look like its own season. While it was nice to finally get a continuation of the story that ended on such a cliffhanger in Season 2, and while this mini-season did give us some character development and history, it didn’t really feel like a complete story, and I’m worried too much got left by the wayside.