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

I still don't want to see Zack Snyder's take on Wonder Woman

Now it's official: Wonder Woman will be introduced in the Man of Steel sequel, alongside Ben Affleck's Batman. And I stand by what I said before: Zack Snyder getting to be the one to introduce Wonder Woman on the big screen is a terrible idea. » 12/04/13 5:09pm 12/04/13 5:09pm

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 that's … » 10/15/13 7:21pm 10/15/13 7:21pm

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 still… » 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 problem. » 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 Side … » 4/04/13 6:49pm 4/04/13 6:49pm

Why can't Hollywood make a decent fairy tale movie?

Fairytales contain some of the most delightful make-believe in literature, even with all their creepiness and weirdness. These stories of bargains and trials, distilled by the oral tradition, pack some of the most potent storytelling in any genre, for any audience. So why can't anybody manage to make a halfway decent… » 3/29/13 3:20am 3/29/13 3:20am

Square Enix, You Have a Problem. You Are Addicted to Countdown Clocks…

This is an intervention. While most of the gaming world has thankfully moved on from stupid countdown clocks designed to drum up silly publicity for forgettable games, Square Enix still clings to them. It's time for Square Enix to stop. Enough!


Now, you are overreacting, Brian Ashcraft, you say. Perhaps. But,… » 12/07/12 5:30am 12/07/12 5:30am

Crazy Expectations of a Console That Didn't Deserve Its Third Chance to …

If you never saw Crazy People, a 1990 film starring Dudley Moore, I highly recommend it. Basically, an advertising agency is taken over by the insane, who decide that honesty—the anathema of marketing—is now the best policy. Volvos are sold as "boxy, but they're good." Another stunt offers "a free plant for fat slobs."… » 10/05/12 8:00pm 10/05/12 8:00pm

This is the Last Presidential Election Gimmick Mobile Game I Will…

It seems lately that not a day goes by without another mobile game with ties to the upcoming presidential election arrives in my inbox. They paste the Republican and Democratic candidates into trite video game situations, offer to donate a portion of sales to the appropriate campaign fund. They call them exciting and… » 10/03/12 5:55pm 10/03/12 5:55pm