Disney’s Forgotten Treasures: “The Black Cauldron”

I am, it is no secret, a long-time passionate fan of Disney feature animation.  While I find the ostensible politics of many of these films retrograde and sometimes even reactionary, I am also of the school that attempts to find subversive pleasures in the hegemonic popular culture fed to us by media giants like Disney. … Continue reading Disney’s Forgotten Treasures: “The Black Cauldron”

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“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” May Be the Best Movie of the Summer

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of the Planet of the Apes franchise, so it will also come as no secret that I am VERY excited for the imminent release of the newest entry, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (and, unlike some, I don't mind the repetitiveness of the titles).  Now that we have gleaned … Continue reading “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” May Be the Best Movie of the Summer

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen?

It could be convincingly argued that Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are the most important characters in both A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, the HBO series based upon the novels.  Jon Snow is, it is widely believed by readers, the bastard son of Rhaegar (the model prince), while Daenerys is the last legal heir … Continue reading How Do You Solve a Problem Like Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen?

What Can “Game of Thrones” Tell Us About History?

By now, it's well-known that George R.R. Martin's popular series A Song of Ice and Fire, as well as the HBO series Game of Thrones, draw liberally from our own world and its history.  Most obviously, Westeros resembles England, with the rival houses of Lannister and Stark paralleling the feud between Lancaster and York that tore England apart … Continue reading What Can “Game of Thrones” Tell Us About History?

Breaking Good: How Fargo Changed Cable’s Antihero Game

TIME

“I liked it. I was good at it. And really–I was alive.” –Walter White

“Well, the old Lester, now he would’ve just, well, let it slide. But not this guy.” –Lester Nygaard

For the past decade or so, the story of ambitious TV drama has been the story of antiheroes: protagonists (usually though not always men) who complicated the traditional categories of hero and villain. It could be Don Draper–deep-feeling and dedicated at work, insensitive crapball at home. (Or sometimes vice versa.) Rescue Me‘s Tommy Gavin, selfless hero, selfish heel. Captivating mob bosses, corrupt but effective cops, devious but philosophical Old-West crime lords.

The antihero was, among other things, a way of solving a storytelling problem: how do you break from the tired formula of good guys against bad guys while building a narrative around a protagonist people will want to keep watching for years? Those stories have been…

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Opening Credits and the Aesthetics of Television History

Upon recently re-watching the HBO series Rome, I was struck anew at the complex artistry that underlies the opening credits.  While the series itself raises numerous questions about the representation of history within the medium of television, it is the opening credit sequence, more than anything else in the series, that adequately evokes something of the strangeness … Continue reading Opening Credits and the Aesthetics of Television History

On being a thing

Sarah Kendzior

I do not write personal essays. This is the first, and likely the last, you will see.

I write articles that have resonated with millions of people, often in an emotional way. But I never write about myself or my personal life. I have multiple platforms and if I wanted to, I could. I choose not to – in part because I think focusing on myself distracts from the social and political problems I depict, but also because I value my privacy.

I am like this in “real life” too. I have been described as aloof, but I try to be generous and kind. I take care of my family and my community. I don’t care about fame, which is much more of a curse than a gift. I reject most media interviews. My priorities are my loved ones and my work. Yesterday I was reading Charlotte’s Web to my…

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Review–“Belle”: A Costume Drama Meaningfully Depicts the History of Slavery

There is a moment in the film Belle where the titular character stares at a painting in which a young black man looks--adoringly?  powerlessly?--up at a white man.  This poignant moment crystallizes many of the issues this thoughtful costume drama raises, including and especially the vexed status that people have colour have occupied in Western society, at … Continue reading Review–“Belle”: A Costume Drama Meaningfully Depicts the History of Slavery