Monthly Archives: June 2016

Game of Thrones Season 6 Review


(This article contains spoilers for season 6 of Game of Thrones)

For the first time in the history of the series, the writers of Game of Thrones really got to forge their own path this year. With only a few lingering plotlines held over from the books, we moved into uncharted territory, without the guidance and proven ability of original author George RR Martin. From the writers’ standpoint, this had to have been as intimidating as it was exciting; all of the season’s successes are attributable to them, but any of its failings are too. Had this year been weak it would have been an argument against them taking the reigns for themselves.

Fortunately, that was not the case. Season 6 of Game of Thrones has been one of the most well-received of the series, with stunning set-pieces, major reveals, huge power-shifts, and characterization and dialogue that felt consistent with what came before. It wasn’t a perfect year, but showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss led with their strengths, making a show that was more propulsive than in years past.

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E3 and the Art of the Press Conference


The strange thing about E3, the biggest video game show on the planet, is how little a platform’s lineup actually matters. On paper, Playstation 4 fans are in a bit of a rough patch, as only one of its major releases is actually slated to release this year. However, Sony not only showed off a number of future titles at their show, they also managed to make those presentations stellar. By innovating and surprising audiences, Sony walked away from E3 as victors, even in the face of a competitor with two new consoles and several big releases over the next calendar year.

It’s not that Sony’s games were completely unexpected. We’ve all known for some time that a new God of War was in the works, for instance, and it was well known that Kojima’s new company was developing for Sony and that Bend was working on their first console release. Even the biggest surprise of the night, a Playstation-exclusive Spider-Man game being developed by Insomniac, had been rumored in previous weeks and made sense given Sony’s ownership of the film properties. But the show was focused specifically on the type of material that fans wanted to see. There was no long aside about a dancing game, or a movie adaptation, or multimedia capabilities. Sony wanted to make sure we were excited about the games we would be playing in the future.

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You’re the Worst Season 2 Review


(In case you missed it, my fiancee Reba and covered the entirety of You’re the Worst’s first season in our Podcast, Firsties! You can find that on the website, on Sound Cloud, on iTunes and other podcast apps under “Medium Mashup Podcasts,” and coming soon on Google Play Music’s podcast channel!)

One of the few complaints I had about You’re the Worst’s hilarious and assured debut season was its tendency to stall regarding Jimmy and Gretchen’s relationship. By its midpoint, we had already seen several episodes that hammered home the same point: Jimmy and Gretchen made sense in a relationship and improved each other’s lives, but were consciously afraid of such things. Both characters had reasons to keep their distance, with Jimmy’s denial of love as a concept and Gretchen’s fear of commitment and maturity, but there was only so much there to sustain a full season of television.

Fortunately, the start of the show’s second season largely does away with this particular conflict. Jimmy and Gretchen find themselves on solid ground from the start, and much of the conflict shifts to Lindsay’s divorce and Edgar’s interest in her. This period of the season does an excellent job of expanding on both characters, defining Edgar in ways completely independent from his PTSD, and showing just how far Lindsay can fall when desperate. Just like its first season, this section of season two succeeds by balancing very funny (and often crude) jokes with an actual care and interest in its characters.

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The Witch Review


The key to appreciating The Witch is right there in the full title: “A New England Folktale.” The film is essentially a cautionary tale centered around a way of life and a set of standards that are extraordinarily outdated, and as such, is quite fascinating. It takes its lessons and its presupposition of the supernatural very seriously, and one could imagine the first generation of American Puritans creating such a film had the medium been available to them.

The Witch makes its point abundantly clear from the start. The first thing we see is the central family voluntarily leaving their community to go off on their own. This single moment is framed as an irreversible error, as community is all that’s keeping the dangerous and ungodly nature of the American continent from harming them. We see the daughter Thomasin recognizes this, and from the moment the town closes its gates, we know our family is doomed.

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