12 Steps to Build Better Oscar Bait

Among film critics, “oscar-bait” is a derisive term applied to films that pander to Oscar voters. Now of course not all Oscar-nominated films have all these elements. Plenty of winners draw outside the lines. Films that break this mold are, in my opinion, the best of the crop. Bong Joon-ho’s wildly original, dystopian visions rightlyContinue reading “12 Steps to Build Better Oscar Bait”

Of Stranger Things, Consumerism, and the Post-Credits Scene

SPOILERS! LOTS AND LOTS OF SPOILERS! And now back to our regularly scheduled programming, folks. So Netflix and the Duffer Brothers dropped Season 3 of Stranger Things just over a week ago. Like the fans we are, America gobbled it up, and now our conversations are about what’s next. This, to me, is the great tragedy ofContinue reading “Of Stranger Things, Consumerism, and the Post-Credits Scene”

The Androgynous Genius of David Bowie

Growing up Mormon in the 1980s, I didn’t experience much pop culture beyond Rainbow Brite and E.T. But in 1988, I saw Labyrinth and was introduced to the cosmic force that was Planet Earth’s David Bowie. Both frightened and utterly bewitched at age seven, I fell in love. In my white bread, fiercely heteronormative suburb, IContinue reading “The Androgynous Genius of David Bowie”

How the Sexism of The West Wing Turned Me off Sorkin

Back when it first aired, I reacted the way football fans do when their home team wins. I bounced up and down on my parents’ couch whenever the opening credits rolled over the American flag. I giggled at every zinger Josh got in, and I cheered Toby’s every moral triumph. I was also a blissfullyContinue reading “How the Sexism of The West Wing Turned Me off Sorkin”

3 Lessons for the Flashback from Jane the Virgin

Just a few months ago, I was scrolling through Netflix and stumbled across the award-winning CW series, Jane the Virgin. I haven’t logged off since. Jennie Urman and her writing team have worked magic in adapting this telenovela for U.S. audiences. And one of the tools they wield with mastery is the flashback. Now the flashback gets a bad rap,Continue reading “3 Lessons for the Flashback from Jane the Virgin”

How Ronald D. Moore Used Star Trek to Build a Better Battlestar Galactica

So I’ve been binge-watching Deep Space 9, and the funny thing is that some pretty familiar tropes from Battlestar Galactica sprout up during the last two seasons. It’s my first time rewatching DS9 since BSG, and the parallels make me very happy. Why? Ronald D. Moore experiments with story threads, characters, and techniques in DS9Continue reading “How Ronald D. Moore Used Star Trek to Build a Better Battlestar Galactica”

Twenty Years Later, Star Trek’s DS9 Is Still the Most Feminist Show Around

I love DS9. It’s something I should be ashamed to admit. The characters type out imaginary codes at comm panels that look like decals while zipped into black jumpsuits with elastic waistbands. The only thing more overdramatic than the acting is the camerawork. And the sets are as static as most of the scenes. SceneContinue reading “Twenty Years Later, Star Trek’s DS9 Is Still the Most Feminist Show Around”