We take a look at the first few episodes of seasons two of both Netflix’s The Punisher as well as CBS’s Star Trek: Discovery!
We’ve checked out the first two episodes of HBO’s True Detective season three, and there is so much to talk about! Reliable unreliable narrators, parallel time structures, two macho, damaged cops who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get hands on with crime, and in the center, a missing persons case with strange, unexplained details. It feels a lot like season one, but Mahershala Ali brings a stellar performance to a character that is dealing with post-war trauma and racism in middle America. And don’t get us started on moon phases!
Jim and A.Ron have explored the latest Black Mirror mindf$#%, Bandersnatch. Essentially a choose your own adventure book turned into an interactive Netflix app, Bandersnatch periodically pauses to ask you how the narrative should proceed as you attempt to guide a troubled young 1980’s programmer on the cusp of creating an acclaimed video game of the same name. With branching parallel storylines that can have outcomes that can be mundane, psychotic, or extremely meta, we ask if this is the future of television? We stay spoiler-free for a good portion of the beginning of this podcast, so if you’re curious if it’s worth your time feel free to listen up to the spoiler segment!
After three long years off the air, True Detective makes a season three comeback on the backs of Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff. We talk about the show’s premise and leads, our feelings about the franchise in general, thoughts on the promotional material and interviews we’ve read so far, reasons to hope that season three is a return to form after an arguable stumble in season two, and where things might go wrong. See you back here next Tuesday!
We’re back with a super-sized wrap up episode for our coverage of our new book, Gods of Thrones, as well as putting George’s Fire & Blood to bed as we consider the final third of the book, starting with “The Dying of the Dragons: Rhaenyra Triumphant”. Anthony and I get things kicked off with a discussion of Lord Cregan Stark and his “Hour of the Wolf”. Then I welcome our old pal Kim Renfro (follow her on Twitter!) back to discuss women in Westeros, our theories on Game of Thrones and GRRM himself. Finally, I interview illustrator Chase Stone, who did the cover and interior art for Gods of Thrones, about life as a professional artist, his work on Magic: The Gathering and The World of Ice and Fire, as well as his influences and techniques.
Anthony jones me once again as we discuss the second third of GRRM’s new Fire & Blood, as we consider from “Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Their Triumphs and Tragedies” to “The Dying of the Dragons: Rhaenyra Triumphant”. Firewyrms! Mysteries of the wall! Dragon eggs beneath Winterfell! And many other interesting twists and tidbits we found in this fake history book detailing the first 150 years of Targaryen reign over Westeros.
My Gods of Thrones co-author Anthony is back once again as we do a deep dive on GRRM’s latest work, Fire & Blood! We talk about events up to but not including “Jaehaerys and Alysanne, Their Triumphs and Tragedies”. Next week we’ll be reading up to “The Dying of the Dragons, Rhaenyra Triumphant”, before finishing the book the week after. This week’s all about Aegon, Maegor, and the third generation Targaryen that really steals the show, Jaehaerys! We talk about the gossipy tone the Maester sometimes takes, the doctrinal concept of “Targaryen Exceptionalism”, missing dragon eggs, maester conspiracy theories, and that most well worn Thrones hobbyhorse, incest.
Amazon Prime’s The Romanoffs arrives at the finish line in “The One That Holds Everything”. If you were hoping that this would be the one that really brings into focus Weiner’s thesis for The Romanoffs, you’re probably walking away disappointed. An ambitious story framing device that doesn’t quite work leads to a surprise ending that doesn’t feel earned, and we’re still left at the end of it all confused and asking “why?” What is so fascinating about the Romanovs and their lives of various levels of privledge and quiet desperation that justifies the time and expense that went into making this, or watching it? We don’t have great answers, but we’re relieved to see this particular line of Romanoffs brought to an end.
Anthony and I talk about GRRM’s latest book, Fire and Blood, which is a complete and in-depth historical account of the 300 year old Targaryen dynasty in Westeros. We discuss our initial thoughts, anything that might have changed some of our thoughts in Gods of Thrones, any intriguing jumping off points for theory-crafting, and consider fan feedback. Also, Anthony has some stunning revelations about the possible origins of the rib-bone that God took from Adam to make the first woman in the Genesis creation story. You don’t want to miss this!
This, by our estimation, is the second best episode of Amazon Prime’s The Romanoffs, but unfortunately, that’s not saying much about “End of the Line”. It features fairly engaging material involving a couple desperate to have a child engaging in grey-market adoption shenanigans in Russia, and the man and woman in question are appealing and sympathetic as leads. The script also approaches “crackling” in places, as these potential parents begin to fight over how far they’re willing to go and what compromises they’re willing to accept for their child, as the adoption environment itself plays on their paranoia and prejudice. Unfortunately, all this is betrayed by what has become as much of a Romanoffs trademark as it’s nebulous connection to the titular theme; uninspired directing and editing.