Why JK Rowling Should Open Harry Potter Up To Other Writers

Earlier this month, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling released a short piece of prose that offered a quick look at Harry Potter and his Hogwarts classmates as adults. The response indicated that fans are still hungry for stories of the wizarding world—and perhaps it's time for someone other than Rowling to give it to… » 7/18/14 3:27pm 7/18/14 3:27pm

Hey Star Wars -- Where the Hell Are the Women?

This morning we all delighted in the casting announcement for Star Wars VII. And then the reality set in: There is only one new female character being added to what is arguably the world's most beloved mythic series. It's as if 51 percent of the population cried out in pain, and was suddenly silenced. » 4/29/14 4:57pm 4/29/14 4:57pm

Shonen Anime's Strongest Characters Are Its Biggest Weakness

Every type of story has its own dangerous pit-falls — things that bore the audience and are too predictable. And often times, the best stories are the ones that know how to handle these delicate story-elements in a way that is unexpected or understandable. For shonen anime, that problem is the power curve. » 4/25/14 6:00am 4/25/14 6:00am

Two Reasons That Explain Why We're All Obsessed with Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones comes back to television in just a few weeks, and already we're feeling the imperative: All Men (And Women) Must Freak Out. But why is Game of Thrones such a huge cultural phenomenon, among all other fantasy series? It comes down to two huge cultural trends, that are rooted in our widespread anxieties… » 3/18/14 4:26pm 3/18/14 4:26pm

The Most Disappointing Final Battles in All Science Fiction and Fantasy

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It's all been leading up to this. Hundreds of pages, or hours, of buildup, leading up to the final confrontation between the forces of excellent and the forces of not-excellent. And then... it's kind of a bust. The bad guys kind of fold. Or the fight lasts 30 seconds. Or it's just thumb-wrestling. Here are the most… » 2/27/14 3:35pm 2/27/14 3:35pm

​What We Learned from the Script for Gotham's First Episode

Gotham is one of this fall's most anticipated new TV shows: the story of Jim Gordon and Gotham City, years before Batman. We obtained what appears to be a draft of the first episode, although it could be fake or draft that will change a lot before filming. If the script is for real, then Gotham has some terrific… » 2/25/14 4:18pm 2/25/14 4:18pm

Why does every story have to be an Earth-shattering epic?

Lately, it seems like every story has to be massive, or nobody cares. Every Doctor Who story is about saving the entire universe. The latest Hobbit movie seemed to be trying to be a Lord of the Rings-style saga. Every action movie needs global stakes. Can we talk about our epic epidemic? » 12/24/13 1:54pm 12/24/13 1:54pm

An Open Letter to New York Comic-Con: Protect Our Secret Identities!

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Last weekend at New York Comic-Con, a lot of attendees found themselves tweeting ecstatically about the convention — without having written those tweets, because NYCC had hijacked people's social media accounts that were linked to their badges. In this open letter, the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains why… » 10/15/13 7:21pm 10/15/13 7:21pm

Please Stop Comparing Real Life To Video Games

"It’s a bizarre, surreal case of a young man almost acting like a real-life action video game," said a judge in England earlier this week, regarding a 15-year-old boy involved in a bank robbery. Or maybe he was acting like a bank robber. There should really be rules for comparing real-life events to video games. » 9/26/13 12:30pm 9/26/13 12:30pm

DC’s explanation of why Batwoman can’t get married is nonsense

By now, we all know about Batwomangate, in which DC forbade the marriage of Batwoman Kate Kane to her fiancée Maggie Sawyer — causing co-writers J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman to quit the series. DC has been in recovery mode, and DC co-publisher Dan DiDio tried to explain the situation. Here’s why he was… » 9/10/13 7:45pm 9/10/13 7:45pm

The Problem of Premature Nerdgasms

Geeky pop culture sometimes feels like a collection of cool stuff: "Hero" moments and "holy shit did you see that" images. And sometimes it feels like the people who update our most beloved stories want to include those moments — without doing anything to set them up properly. The premature nerdgasm is a serious… » 7/31/13 5:13pm 7/31/13 5:13pm

Is Disney about to destroy the Star Wars Expanded Universe Altogether?

When Disney first announced their acquisition of Star Wars, fans were trepidatious. What changes would they make to the Star Wars universe? Then Disney announced the new movies, including a sequel trilogy and stand-alone films, and fans were ecstatic. But now that Disney has killed LucasArts, we’re seeing the Dark… » 4/04/13 6:49pm 4/04/13 6:49pm

Chris Hecker Rants at GDC Without Saying a Word

It's revealing that at first I didn't get the point of this, which is Chris Hecker's rant at Game Developers Conference 2013. So much of the nonstop big budget press conference bullshit you hear in this business all sounds alike, forcing me into a kind of weird active listening where I'm trying to decode pabulum and… » 3/31/13 1:00pm 3/31/13 1:00pm