Depending on who you ask, we’re either in the beginning of a transition to a fully-digital media environment, or we’re already there. Services like Netflix and Spotify have given users access to an unprecedented array of entertainment options, and platforms like iTunes and Steam have made true digital ownership a modern reality. However, when it comes to digital ownership of films and television, no one platform has truly taken hold. There are dozens of storefronts, such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft, Sony, and Vudu. But no store’s library is universally accessible from all devices, meaning digital owners often find themselves purchasing only on the storefront that is most convenient for them, or finding their libraries stretched out over a bunch of segregated storefronts.
In past years, the closest thing to a solution has been the Ultraviolet platform. While users can play back their movies and TV shows on Ultraviolet if they choose to do so, it’s true utility is in interconnecting various services and storefronts so that media is shared throughout. If somebody purchases a blu-ray with a digital copy or buys a movie on Vudu, that media will be shared with a linked Ultraviolet account which then redeems the same movie on studio’s storefronts, as well as other third party streaming services like (the now-defunct) Flixster. Even better, multiple Ultraviolet users can join together as a “family,” meaning all of their media is shared with each other across all platforms.
Continue reading The Wild, Wonderful, and Extraordinarily Convoluted World of Digital Movie Ownership
“This whole Nazi resurgence is because we stopped shooting them in video games after Call of Duty 4, isn’t it?”
I tweeted the above this week in response to the horrifying video of Richard B Spencer leading the alt right in a Nazi salute to President Elect Donald Trump. It was a joke. You have to be able to make light of the insanity America is currently facing, or you’ll crack completely.
Continue reading What Is the Role Of Entertainment In Defining Our Values?
(The following contains spoilers for Mr. Robot and The Walking Dead)
I’ve been very critical about how The Walking Dead has treated its audience over the last season. First, when the Glenn fakeout debacle occurred, I wrote about how such trickery betrayed the trust that the show had established with the viewer and weakened the stakes of the series. Then, when the show decided not to tell the audience who died at the end of the season, I called them out for cheaply manipulating the audience in hopes of increased ratings. I still stand by both criticisms: The Walking Dead had an unfortunate habit of being dishonest with its audience last year, and it soured a lot of the more positive aspects of the season.
However, since writing those articles, I’ve caught up with another show that is somewhat notorious for lying to its audience. The first season of USA’s Mr. Robot structured itself around the fact that there was more to the story than we were being told. While the viewer likely realizes that something is amiss, and may be able to predict a particular twist (especially if they’re familiar with Fight Club), the full scope of the show’s withholding isn’t revealed until late in the season.
Continue reading Subjectivity in Storytelling: When It’s Okay To Lie To Your Audience
The best horror movie of the last week has been the Republican National Convention. The event pushed the narrative that we are all part of a huge battle between the “real” Americans and…well, everybody else. There are the Muslims who supposedly hate us, the immigrants and criminals who are more prevalent than ever (or at least it “feels” that way, which New Gingrich says is more important than facts), and the dastardly liberals and their Lucifer-following ways. It all painted a picture of a society on the brink of collapse, unless an orange, toupeed “blue-collar billionaire” can come to our rescue.
And yet, at the same time, another gathering suggested that maybe all of the above blustering is a crock of shit. The San Diego Comic Con kicked off on the night of July 20th, just as the Republican National Convention was winding down. The massive convention center south of San Diego’s Gaslamp District flooded with an irresponsibly large body of fans, all of whom had happily made their pilgrimage to the event.
Continue reading Dueling Conventions of Love and Hate: Comic Con vs The Republican National Convention
(This article will contain spoilers for Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire, and George RR Martin’s supplemental material. It will also cover potential plot points that could very well turn up in the future of the series. You’ve been warned!)
Last week on Game of Thrones, we were teased by the “Tower of Joy” sequence and unceremoniously yanked out of Bran’s vision before we could enter the tower with Ned Stark. For casual viewers, this was just a cool fight scene with a hint of mystery, but to those who have been reading and theorizing about A Song of Ice and Fire for years, it was a somewhat irritating stalling tactic for a reveal that we’ve been expecting for a long time. The R+L=J theory is so well-known and well-supported at this point that it’s essentially canon, so holding out of the reveal feels less like suspense and more like prolonging the inevitable.
But there’s another theory that is less widely accepted by fandom and, I feel, almost as likely to be true as R+L=J. If you’re paying close attention to the supplemental material and the scenes included in the TV adaptation, there’s a strong reason to believe that Tyrion Lannister is, himself, half-Targaryen.
Continue reading Game of Thrones: Fun with Theories – Tyrion Lannister