Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 4: Well, It Was …Star Warsy?

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.

(via netflix)

Or, well, it mostly failed to. Spoilers after the jump.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Faith and The Flash

Most of the time, geeky media does a pretty poor job of utilizing religious ideas. So I was shocked when I watched the fourth season premiere of The Flash and found that amid the somewhat clunky storytelling, there was actually a pretty decent portrayal of faith. This episode can show us a bit about how Christians understand how faith works, even though religion-flavored faith had almost no role to play in the episode.

Spoilers for The Flash below!

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: A Religious Retrospective on Orphan Black

A few weeks ago we reviewed Orphan Black for the last time. Religion played an important role in Orphan Black‘s worldbuilding, but the writers never truly moved beyond offensive religious stereotypes. In a show about bioethics, identity, and power, religion should have played a major role in creating diverse characters and showcasing different perspectives. After all, the show’s ultimate thesis was about women having the freedom to pursue their own definition of happiness and fulfillment through self-determination. Different versions of Christian religion and philosophy make an appearance in the show, but they’re never a good thing. In fact, religion ends up being a minor antagonist throughout the show.  

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Sexualized Saturdays: Steven and The Doctor; Gender Identity and Role Models in Steven Universe

Since its premiere, Steven Universe has meant a lot of things to a lot of people. The representation of numerous gender identities, sexualities, ethnicities, and creeds has been a phenomenal example of how diversity can lead to better storytelling and has provided many fans of all types with new fictional role models. The recent remarks by former Doctor Who lead Peter Davison, however, have had me thinking about one group that some say is overlooked in discussions of how this diversity is having an impact: straight white men.

Now, before anyone says anything, the reason this group is “overlooked” is that they have occupied a widely disproportionate number of the roles that need to be diversified in the first place; they aren’t overlooked, they’re usually the group being looked at. This demographic is the exact opposite of an underrepresented minority, and the overwhelming number of complaints I see about their exclusion are, as sixth Doctor Colin Baker says in his reply, “absolute rubbish.”

“Straight white male” has been the default target demographic for a wide majority of western mass media in the last century, and that identity is one that is effortlessly validated by a seemingly unending parade of straight white male heroes (even just ones named Chris). There is, IMHO, absolutely no argument whatsoever to be made that straight white men are underrepresented in media, let alone solely within the subgenres of animated kids shows featuring aliens or British time travel franchises. But the result of this debate was that I got to thinking about the nature of what messages these shows send, and how the identity of the messenger can impact the way it is received.

SU WHO - In the real way

He can show you how to be strong. (screenshot from Steven Universe)

Which, of course, led me to Steven Universe. SU is a show with a straight male protagonist, but also one in which the bulk of the show’s main characters are women and many are (essentially) queer women of color. The show demonstrates both that a straight white male can deliver a highly inclusive message and that characters with a different identity can deliver messages that are particularly important for those same young boys in need of a role model—the same ones that Davison is worried about. By validating that a straight white man can in fact be a messenger for diverse audiences, SU simultaneously demonstrates why straight white men can and must begin to learn more of those messages from messengers of other identities.

(Note: while the racial component to the “default” hero identity is equally important, this article will obviously focus primarily on the gender and sexuality components.)

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Fanfiction Fridays: What’s my name? by greenglowsgold

Voltron: Legendary Defender‘s Season 3 has come and gone already – pretty easy when the runtime of the whole season is less than three hours. With only seven episodes to satiate my needs for its particular brand of mediocre-to-promising character development and giant robot lions punching things, the obvious next step was turning to fanfic. And although the Voltron AO3 section can be like a kinked-out version of the Wild West on the best of days, I was lucky enough to find this character-centric gem after just a bit of searching.

As my favorite Voltron fics often are, this fic is told from a trans!Pidge’s POV, and centers on her relationship with Shiro following the events of this season.

(via aminoapps)

Major spoilers for Voltron: Legendary Defender S3 below!

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A Fond Farewell to Clone Club: Reviewing the End of Orphan Black

Luce: Well, guys, it’s been a long journey to the finale. Five years of twists and turns later, we’ve finally reached the end of the journey (or, at least, this journey) for Clone Club. But how did our favorite clones fare at this, the end of all things, and did they all make it through unscathed? Reviewing the end of Orphan Black is too much to take on alone, so I’m super glad to be joined by all of our faithful Orphan Black review team for this very last review.

Spoilers after the jump!

(via denofgeek)

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Magical Mondays: Fantastic Cryptids and Where To Find Them

A frame from the famous (in cryptozoological circles) Patterson-Gimlin footage of what’s supposedly a Bigfoot walking through the woods. (via Wikipedia)

This may or may not be a known fact to our readers, but in case you missed it, I love cryptozoology. I think it’s a fun and harmless interest, and while you won’t catch me out in the woods doing Bigfoot calls, I won’t pass up the opportunity to watch a “documentary” about someone else doing just that. But despite the efforts to make cryptozoology seem like a serious branch of science to tie Sasquatches to a missing evolutionary link and lake monsters to dinosaurs who never went extinct, I think a lot of people, myself included, are interested in cryptids because they offer an element of somewhat fantastical chaos into a world in which it sometimes feels that there’s not a ton left to discover otherwise—especially if you’re a layperson without a handful of science degrees. Anyone can go sit on the edge of Loch Ness and hope to spot a monster. And hey, isn’t it hubris to assume we’ve discovered every known species when we’re constantly discovering new and bizarre creatures in remote areas?

That said, the general belief is that people who take chupacabras, skunk apes, Jersey Devils, and the Mothman too seriously are stubborn, stupid, and naïve. But though cryptids themselves are often fantastical creatures, the attitude we have toward them in the real world seems to be exclusive to the real world. While some fantasy stories do feature cryptid-esque animals, they’re never treated with quite the same sense of dismissive derision—by either the narrative or the people involved—that real-world cryptids and cryptid enthusiasts get. In fact, the farther you get from realism, the more likely it is they’ll be celebrated rather than mocked.

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