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Showing posts from September, 2014

Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2014 Edition

Well, here we are again.  As has become traditional, the US networks scheduled a boatload of new shows for the week of Rosh HaShana (happy 5775 to those of you celebrating!), which is very convenient as it gave me some time to wade through the deluge.  As usual, there are some shows I just don't have much to say about--I don't need several hundred words to say that Scorpion is awful and dumb, and as compelling and propulsive as the pilot of How to Get Away With Murder was, there isn't much to say about that show yet, and probably won't be until it starts developing its characters and themes as well as its plot--and a few that have already got me thinking.  Here are my thoughts on the fall's first batch of new shows.
Forever - ABC's new procedural wants so desperately to be this year's Elementary that it's almost funny.  Like the surprisingly successful Holmes adaptation, it centers around an Englishman in New York, who has remarkable deductive abilities …

The Problem of Mike Peterson: Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD and Race

[Note: This post is the result of thoughts that I've been having since the end of Agents of SHIELD's first season in the spring, and which I haven't seen addressed elsewhere.  I held off on writing and publishing it because I wasn't certain that I had the proper grounding to do justice to the issues it discusses, and because I wasn't sure that it was my place to discuss them at all.  Nevertheless, as the second season draws closer it seems important to me that this subject is broached.  If readers with more grounding in anti-racism want to point out errors or bad arguments, I'd be happy for their input.  Similarly, if there are discussions of this subject that I've missed, I'd be grateful for links.]

We first meet Mike Peterson in the Agents of SHIELD pilot.  As I wrote in my essay about the show, the pilot positions both Skye and Ward as its point of view characters, establishing parallel but opposite trajectories for them--Ward, the obedient company m…

All Change

It seems like only yesterday that I was announcing on this blog my new position as Strange Horizons reviews editor.  That day, however, was nearly four years ago, and in that time I've worked with incredible people and helped bring fantastic, thought-provoking, necessary criticism into the conversation about genre.  It's been a privilege, and an enormously rewarding experience (not least in the form of two Hugo nominations), and I'm extremely grateful for it.  Four years, however, is a long time, and as editor in chief Niall Harrison announced today in an editorial, I will be stepping down from the position of reviews editor at the end of the year.

So first, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the reviewers I've worked with in the last four years, the department's contact managers, Donna Denn, Dan Hartland, and Tim Moore, the Strange Horizons proofreaders, and last but not least the readers and commenters who reminded us every week how vibrant and passi…

Lucy

Three things you will probably have heard by now about Lucy, Luc Besson's latest film and his first foray back into proper, no-holds-barred science fiction since The Fifth Element.  One, that the film's success demonstrates the viability of a female-led action/SF movie, and cements Scarlett Johansson's position as the reigning queen of filmed SF (or at the very least co-reigning queen, along with Zoe Saldana).  Two, that its handling of race, and particularly of its Asian characters, whom it depicts almost uniformly as violent drug dealers who menace and threaten to rape its innocent white heroine, is irredeemable.  And three, that it unwisely nails its colors to the mast of the "humans only use 10% of their brains" meme, despite the fact that no one buys into it any more and that most SF fans would find it an extremely annoying strain on their suspension of disbelief.  These things are all true and worth talking about, but what I find interesting about Lucy--whi…