No, I Haven’t Seen That Show Yet. Here’s Why.

I’ve often heard it said we’re living in the era of Prestige Television (or Peak Television, if you prefer).  Regardless of the terminology, there is the general sense among people who think, write, and talk about these things that the 21st century has seen the rise of a Golden Age – if not The Golden Age – of Television.  The caliber of what’s being offered on TV is generally considered to have risen.  There are more “high quality” shows generating more critical acclaim than ever before.  The line between “TV star” and the once-more prestigious “movie star” is blurring.  In fact, these TV shows with shorter seasons, renown casts, and complex storytelling, are often touted as six (or ten (or thirteen)) hour movies, broken up into smaller installments.  You couple this with the rise of streaming services (and the accompanying “streaming wars” where each service tries to outperform the others to earn your subscription fee) alongside the culture of binge-watching and our experience of television’s been transformed.  It is a remarkable time to be consuming such content and the excited query, “Have you seen [fill-in-the-blank-show] yet??” drives our pop culture conversations like never before.

The thing is, my answer is almost always “no.”  Like 9/10 times it’s “no.”  And here’s why.

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Saga and the Revolutionary Power of the Opposite of War

Comic books are a vast medium.  Every genre you can imagine can be found between the covers of one comic or another.  While often seen solely as the setting of superhero stories, there are horror comics, memoir comics, true crime comics, comic adaptations of classic literature, fantasy comics, sci-fi comics, comic adaptations of films, YA comics, comics about history, comics which continue the runs of favorite TV shows, and on and on.  The comic medium truly has something for everyone.  And, as someone who’s loved comic books for nearly forty years, I don’t care about any of those other stories XD.  I’m sorry!  But I don’t!  Bring me my superheroes!  I have novels and movies and TV shows and short story collections and memoirs and nonfiction books for all those other experiences.  When I open a comic book, I want my Marvel heroes, my DC heroes, and nothing else.  Except Saga.  I want Saga.  I want all the SagaSaga is the brilliant, blazing, beautiful exception to my rule!  With sixty issues released and forty-eight still to come, Brian K. Vaughan (writer) and Fiona Staples (artist) have created a masterpiece of love, family, loss, trauma, trial, and healing…while also telling one of the most poignant antiwar stories I’ve ever read.

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Jurassic World: Dominion – Considering the Legacy Sequel and the Advent of My 40th Birthday

A few weeks ago Kalie and I went to see Jurassic World: Dominion.  Heralded as, “The epic conclusion of the Jurassic Era” (*cough* for now *cough*), it’s the latest in the long line of legacy sequels.  Like every film from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens to Halloween (2018) to Terminator: Dark Fate to Ghostbusters: Afterlife to The Matrix Resurrections to Scream (2022), this film saw the new Jurassic World cast – Chris Pratt (Owen Grady), Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire Dearing), and Isabella Sermon (Maisie Lockwood) – come together with the legacy Jurassic Park cast – Sam Neil (Dr. Alan Grant), Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler), Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm), and BD Wong (Dr. Henry Wu) – and several new allies – DeWanda Wise (Kayla Watts) and Mamoudou Athie (Ramsay Cole) – to face the latest dino-adjacent threat from scientists so preoccupied with whether or not they could they didn’t stop to think if they should.  I really enjoyed the film and, somewhat surprisingly, it got me thinking about my birthday and how excited I am to be turning forty.

This piece will have the mildest spoilers for Jurassic World: Dominion, only discussing a general overview of the plot points which put the narrative in motion at the beginning of the film.

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2 – “Nostalgia is Going To Kill Us”

The blog’s been extra quiet lately as I’ve been writing my book (ahhhhh! yay!) but I decided to give myself a night off from book work tonight.  Why?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  I could read for pleasure.  I could enjoy watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and then go to bed early.  I could spend the whole night with the Doctor.  All of those would be excellent uses of my night.  However, instead, I’m using it to vent a little frustration.  You see, Ghostbusters is one of my all-time favorite movies and one of my all-time favorite storytelling universes so when I recently read Jason Reitman’s plans for Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2 I had FEELINGS.  As is so often the case, this piece was born in a conversation I had with Jeffrey (of The Imperial Talker).  The title of the piece – Nostalgia is going to kill us – was his exact quote when I told him of the sequel story.  I couldn’t agree more so I was super excited when he said I could nick his observation for this piece.  Shall we dive in?  Are you ready?  Siiiiiiiiiiiiigh…let’s go.

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call – Honoring the Ghostbusters Legacy

Making a sequel to Ghostbusters (1984) is tricky.  Ghostbusters is one of few perfect movies.  Everything about it works!  It was one of my all-time favorite movies when I was five-years-old and it still is now at thirty-nine.  Already a fan of the cartoon show, my world was forever changed when my uncle gave us a VHS tape on which he’d recorded a Ghostbusters movie with real people in it from HBO.  I was a little thrown (at first) as they looked different and I am 99.99% sure it was what scarred me and made me scared of dogs all through my youth (as they constantly refer to the demonic forms of Zuul and Vinz Clortho as “dogs”) but none of that really mattered.  It was love at first viewing and it’s the only movie from my youth I still watch multiple times a year.  It spawned three sequels – Ghostbusters 2 (1989), Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016), and the new Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021).  One I loved!  One disappointed me.  And one was a straight up traumatic experience.  With thoughts of Ghostbusters: Afterlife fresh in my mind, I felt it’d be fun to discuss which is which!

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife – A Trailer, A Mixed Bag of Emotions…

Obviously I’ve been eagerly awaiting the trailer for writer/director Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife to drop.  The original Ghostbusters (1984) is my all-time favorite movie.  I not only watched it all the time as a kid but I still watch it all the time as an adult.  It’s consistently been bringing joy to my life, and I’ve consistently watched it multiple times every year, for over thirty years!  I don’t have that relationship with any other film – not Avengers, not (500) Days of Summer, not any of the Star Wars movies.  Also, I enjoy Ghostbusters even more as an adult because now I get all the jokes!  So not only do I love this movie but it keeps getting better for me.  Of course then, when I heard Reitman was making “a direct sequel” to his father’s iconic 1984 film, I was intrigued.  So much could go right!  But so much could go wrong too.  Now the trailer’s here and I’m feeling…lots of things. Continue reading

The Four Comics I Can’t Live Without

A few years ago, when I was counting down to my hundredth post on this site, I profiled the four comic books I’d found since my return to reading comics which had become indispensable to my reading life.  These were the comics that, even if I stopped collecting comics again, I couldn’t imagine putting down.  They showcased, for me, the best of what a comic could offer while doing things I never imagined a comic book could.  They were (in the order I wrote about them in my countdown), Marvel’s Ms. Marvel, IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, IDW’s Ghostbusters, and Marvel’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  Thinking of those titles now, I can still feel the burgeoning excitement and awe that accompanied my return to comic reading.  They also make me think of impermanence. Continue reading

From “Cowabunga!” to “Booyakasha!”: My Life in Ninja Turtle Memories

The unexpected emotional mix of finally sitting down to watch some of Nickelodeon’s 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series coupled with warm feelings of post-birthday nostalgia gave birth to this post.  You see, there are a lot of characters I’ve loved through my whole life but few I’ve experienced in as many different iterations as I have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  So I’m taking a walk down Memory Lane, looking at every incarnation of the Turtles I’ve met and exploring what they meant to me.  To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list of every single version of the Turtles.  There’s plenty of entries, sure, but the Turtles are prolific characters with parts of their mythology I’ve missed/yet to experience.  Still, this is a fairly impressive list if I do say so myself :).  With that being said, onward to an exploration of my life with the heroes in a half shell…TURTLE POWER. Continue reading

Profile of a Pull List III

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve written about what fills my monthly file at Books Galore, my local comic shop.  So I figured it was a good time to revisit the topic!  Given this is a blog about comic books, I like taking a moment every now and then to discuss what titles I feel I need to read each month.  This short little post outlines what I read regularly and explores the rationale that shapes my choices.  What’s making the cut as we near the end of October 2017?  Well read on to find out! Continue reading

Locke & Key and Horror Comic Books

I read a FOR REAL horror comic book that was super scary and everything.  It was IDW’s beyond brilliant Locke & Key series by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, and Jay Fotos.  It was recommended to me with the highest of recommendations by Nancy (of Graphic Novelty² fame).  She digs this comic.  It took me months to marshal the courage needed to actually read a for real horror comic series.  But I did it!  After surviving, I wrote this post for Kalie on her blog Just Dread-full.  Listen, this was a big moment for me.  I read something super scary and survived!  Also, the comic had a powerful message at it’s heart.  As if that wasn’t enough, I also wrote it to mark the three year anniversary of the day Kalie and I met.  I know…awwwww.  So, um, why haven’t you clicked the link yet??  C’mon people!  Time’s a wastin’!  You should read this thing!