A Cup of Salt Tears August 27, 2014 A Cup of Salt Tears Isabel Yap They say women in grief are beautiful. Strongest Conjuration August 26, 2014 Strongest Conjuration Skyler White A story of the Incrementalists. Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land August 20, 2014 Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land Ruthanna Emrys Stories of Tikanu. Hero of the Five Points August 19, 2014 Hero of the Five Points Alan Gratz A League of Seven story.
From The Blog
August 25, 2014
Animorphs: Why the Series Rocked and Why You Should Still Care
Sam Riedel
August 20, 2014
The Welcome Return of the Impatient and Cantankerous Doctor Who
David Cranmer
August 19, 2014
The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: Introductory Post
Leigh Butler
August 19, 2014
Whatever Happened to the Boy Wonder? Bring Robin Back to the Big Screen
Emily Asher-Perrin
August 15, 2014
“Perhaps It Was Only an Echo”: The Giver
Natalie Zutter
Showing posts by: Theresa DeLucci click to see Theresa DeLucci's profile
Mon
Aug 25 2014 10:00am

Not with a Bang: True Blood’s Powerfully Unsexy Series Finale

True Blood Thank You

Leave it to True Blood to figure out one last stake to twist into the hearts of its diminished audience. Will Sookie and Bill be together forever? Will Eric get naked one last time? Will we see some characters get a little closure? Will the show go completely off the rails and end up with Sookie becoming president of a new, vampiric, world order?

Nope!

I mean, this was once an Alan Ball show and he was responsible for the best series finale ever—Six Feet Under. But Ball is long gone. And while we didn’t go into full-on Dexter levels of lunacy or TV-punching rage like Lost or Battlestar Galactica, True Blood’s finale was definitely the most flaccid sixty-five minutes of TV in some time. Because, you know, if an excellent series finale is supposed to contain the show’s mini-thesis, True Blood’s running theme was most certainly ham-fisted meditations on conventional morality by fully-clothed people, right?

[Put a stake in it, it’s done...]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 11:30am

Gaming Roundup: Gamescom 2014 Edition

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Gaming Roundup

Gamescom—Europe’s largest annual gaming convention and the second largest in the world—came and went last week in Cologne, Germany, and left in its wake a plethora of previews and trailers for excited gamers to sift through. Most of the industry’s major players were present, and the focus was very much on the continued development and maturation of next-gen consoles in the marketplace—a circumstance balancing the most viewed and approachable games of next year.

[So many games, so little space...]

Mon
Aug 18 2014 10:00am

True Blood Season 7, Episode 9: “Love is to Die”

True Blood Love is to Die

Tonight’s episode of True Blood was the second to last. And I’m not just talking about Ginger.

I’ll be here all week, folks. Until next week, when it is the coffin of this mouldering show is lowered into the ground, never to rise again. We hope. The best I can say is that this week’s episode wasn’t outright offensive like last week’s and that it focused more on the romance than the plot. I like character moments, especially if the character is Jessica, but really, this hour was a whole lot of rehashing things that were already spelled out for us two seasons ago.

So while Jason and Eric suffered through some blue balls, True Blood itself couldn’t even tease us with anything truly fun for the finale.

Spoilers and a supernatural deathpools after the cut...

[Read more...]

Mon
Aug 11 2014 11:00am

True Blood Season 7, Episode 8: “Almost Home”

True Blood Almost Home

Let’s just say that after this episode, I’ll be happy to dance on True Blood’s grave.

This season started off sloppily, picked up in the middle, and is now careening towards something that looks like an ending, but is more just a crash against misdirected fan service and muddled writing. What’s missing is any kind of emotional resonance. But I could overlook a lot of that in the spirit of recognizing that this show is a shadow of its former self and a weird determination to see how characters I once liked ride off into the sunset.

And then True Blood went from being so-bad-it’s-good to legitimately offensive.

[Tara speaks at last and it’s really upsetting...]

Thu
Aug 7 2014 2:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Assassin’s Creed: Rogue Targets Your Inner Arctic Explorer

In the surprising-yet-not category, Ubisoft revealed earlier this week that they’re officially cranking out yet another Assassin’s Creed game this year. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue launches this holiday season, and appears to be a last-gen peace offering to gamers who haven’t yet upgraded to the Xbox One or PS4, and accordingly have no means to play the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed: Unity. While more dedicated fans will likely be able to speak to this with more authority than I... is anyone else getting burned out on this franchise simply due to the sheer volume of content being churned out?

[No official word yet on whether Ubi managed to learn how to animate the female form for this game.]

Tue
Aug 5 2014 12:15pm

True Blood Season 7, Episode 7: “May Be the Last Time”

True Blood May Be the Last Time

Be careful what you wish for.

Fans of True Blood—and those watching out of habit—have been wondering who Sookie might end up with by series’ end and we might have gotten an answer last night. But since we’re three episodes from the final episode, is this love meant to last? And, moreover, did it have to be so sad and...veiny? But there were plenty of other fan service nuggets that didn’t satisfy either. So maybe last night’s theme wasn’t nostalgia so much as frustration.

At least Arlene was suffering from the good kind of frustration.

Spoilers and salty language after the cut.

[Fairies, dwarves, and vampires behaving badly...]

Thu
Jul 24 2014 3:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Die and Enjoy It in Lords of the Fallen

Lords of the Fallen

From Software’s Dark Souls franchise went a long way toward mainstreaming the concept of insanely difficult, yet fun gaming. Polish developer CI Games, in conjunction with German studio Deck13 Interactive, is making no secret of the fact that they hope to follow in From’s tradition with their latest title, Lords of the Fallen.

[“The sins I have committed have left their mark. Now I shall leave mine.”]

Mon
Jul 21 2014 12:00pm

True Blood Season 7, Episode 5: “Lost Cause”

True Blood Lost Cause

I’m a sucker for a TV party, so, as unexpected as last night’s big memorial party was, seeing as it’s only been three in-show days since the last Bon Temps gathering ended in mass casualties, any chance for lots of characters to bump up against (and/or stab) one another is cause for celebration.

So, yes, this was another human-centric and mostly not terrible episode of True Blood. And, like Andy Bellefleur, life in Louisiana marches forward. Just some people won’t be marching much longer.

And then the freaking Yakuza showed up. And True Blood was nauseating again.

Spoilers and saucy hand gestures after the katana cut...

[Read more...]

Fri
Jul 18 2014 10:30am

Gaming Roundup: Virginia Promises Interactive Drama with a Lynchian Flair

Virgina gaming roundup

First person indie adventure game Gone Home did a lot of good for the interactive storytelling genre last year. The unexpected hit touched on all the right notes: a deftly told story, interesting character work, pitch-perfect atmosphere, and a heavy dose of 90s nostalgia. In many ways, Gone Home helped make it okay for games to be about the story and only about the story. The next step? More interactive drama games. Enter Variable State with their 90s cult classic TV-inspired Virginia.

[Any game citing Twin Peaks and The X-Files as core inspirations is going to have our undivided attention.]

Mon
Jul 14 2014 11:25am

True Blood Season 7, Episode 4: “Death is Not the End”

True Blood Death is not the End

Maybe it was my 90s nostalgia, maybe I was just in a forgiving mood, but that was not a terrible episode of True Blood. I know. Crazy, right?

Maybe we can get a spinoff miniseries of Eric and Pam’s misadventures in the past. Hell, I would settle for a whole episode of just Pam and Eric dealing with customers at their video store. Having once worked at just such a place, I imagine Pam would be ten times more merciless (and ten times more hilarious) when she revokes memberships due to late fees.

It wasn’t all pleated pants and Red Vines jokes though. Despite her most noble efforts to make everything about her, Sookie wasn’t as big a player last night. Oh wait; less Sookie = better episode. Eureka! If only True Blood thought of this formula three seasons ago.

[Spoilers and surprise guests after the jump.]

Thu
Jul 10 2014 2:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Alien: Isolation Promises to Get It Right by Going Back to the Beginning

Alien Isolation

Last year brought us the travesty that was Aliens: Colonial Marines. Between Ridley Scott being involved with storyboarding the game and developer Gearbox Software being given license to make the game canon, potential was vast, but execution was deeply flawed—the game launched as a buggy, derivative, universally panned mess, rather than the tightly focused piece of survival horror gamers were hoping for. This year, developer The Creative Assembly took a stab at getting the IP back on track, taking E3 by storm with Alien: Isolation, and early word is this game does not disappoint.

Oh, and did we mention they reunited the cast of Alien for the game’s first DLC? Bet we’ve got your attention now.

[“I think... I think there’s something here.”]

Mon
Jul 7 2014 12:00pm

True Blood Season 7, Episode 3: “Fire in the Hole”

True Blood

[Insert string of colorful expletives here.]

Really, True Blood?

I guess you get the television you deserve. If you’re lazily watching a formerly enjoyably sexy soap opera limp towards its end game, you shouldn’t be mad when said show’s actual writers feel lazy, too.

But still, last night’s hour was so weak, I felt as if I’d been trolled. By a TV show. As in, oh, sweet summer child, you thought you already knew all the ways in which True Blood can be awful? Well, watch what passes for closure in Bon Temps!

Sad trombones and spoilers after the fold.

[Read more...]

Thu
Jul 3 2014 2:30pm

Gaming Roundup: Elite: Dangerous Gives You A Universe

Elite Dangerous gaming roundup

Last week, we took a look at No Man’s Sky, an upcoming PS4 space simulator featuring a virtually limitless universe and emphasizing exploration—a game that Sony hopes will become a key selling point for their next-gen consoles on release. This week (at our readers’ behest and because, well, it also looks pretty damn cool), we highlight Elite: Dangerous, an equally ambitious space trading and combat simulator poised to offer similar freedoms and open-ended universes as No Man’s Sky, only sooner and with its own unique stylings.

[“Blaze your own trail...”]

Mon
Jun 30 2014 12:30pm

True Blood Season 7, Episode 2: “I Found You”

True Blood I Found YouI wish all programming on HBO last night had a theme to go along with the premiere of its new series, The Leftovers. If only everyone not Lafayette or Pam could mysteriously disappear from True Blood. Then we might have a really entertaining show.

It wasn’t all bad: a much-missed Nordic vampire bookended the hour. And... well, yeah, those were pretty much the only good bits.

Strangely not vanishing from True Blood? Viewers. Last week’s season premiere was down from the year prior, but still considered a solid performer for the show. We are all in this hate-watch together, friends.

Spoilers ahead. If you care about that kind of thing.

[“Read more...”]

Thu
Jun 26 2014 2:00pm

Gaming Roundup: No Man’s Sky Soars Through the Boundaries of Genre

No Man's Sky Gaming Roundup

No Man’s Sky was, in many ways, the revelation of E3 to gamers around the world. The PS4 exclusive has managed to push its way to the forefront of industry intrigue via tantalizing previews and a spectacular showing at gaming’s biggest event of the year. But what is it about this game that makes it so exciting, really? We’ve seen open world games before. We’ve seen space fighters before. What makes No Man’s Sky stand out?

[Forget open world. We’re entering open universe territory.]

Mon
Jun 23 2014 2:00pm

True Blood’s Final Season Premiere: “Jesus Gonna Be Here”

True Blood

No one’s expecting Game of Thrones-level excellence here, but HBO’s True Blood has its own measuring stick. Gooey globs of dead vampires? Check. Strong sexual content and bare breasts? Check. Pam dropping hilarious F-bombs? Check. Baby-vamp Jessica crying and being all Emmy-worthy? Check. Sookie doing something completely stupid? Double check.

By that regard, “Jesus Gonna Be Here” was a pretty great True Blood premiere, setting up Bon Temps for a final confrontation between the supernatural and the human. It helps that last season’s awfulness was pretty much wiped clean in the previous episode. It’s a big ol’ reset on a show literally on its last legs, as this is the final season. For the few remaining die-hards, the tension should be enough to keep things interesting. And for viewers like me, watching more out of nostalgia and curiosity, there’s just enough humor—intentional or not—and sex appeal and even some genuine surprises that I almost feel excited that the show is back. Or maybe I’m just deluding myself into thinking True Blood will come full circle and go out as satisfyingly as it was ushered in.

[Spoilers and salty language after the cut...]

Thu
Jun 19 2014 3:00pm

Gaming Roundup: When Will We Truly Experience Next-Gen Gaming?

Metal Gear Solid

Next-gen consoles have now been in the marketplace for 6 months (or just over a year if you include the Wii U, which doesn’t quite stack up hardware-wise with the PS4 or Xbox One). Over that period of time, Sony sold over 7 million PlayStation 4 units. Estimates place Microsoft’s Xbox One in the 5 million units sold range. Even the Wii U showed a resurgence in sales numbers with the launch of Mario Kart 8, and more growth is sure to come as Zelda, Super Smash Bros, and other powerhouse Nintendo titles hit the console. It’s safe to say that next-gen consoles are starting to establish and replace last-gen consoles in living rooms around the world, but when it comes down to it, we as gamers have barely seen the tip of the iceberg as it pertains to true next-gen gaming.

[Where does the future of gaming lie?]

Mon
Jun 16 2014 10:00am

Game of Thrones Episode Review “The Children”

Game of Thrones The Children Arya

It seems fitting that last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was called “The Children.” All of the offspring was running amok—Starks, Lannisters, dragons. While last week’s episode suffered a bit from focusing only on the mostly dull characters at the Wall, the season four finale was literally all over the map. It was a lot to absorb, but it had its high points and left us with some lingering questions to ponder in the long, long hiatus ahead.

[“Happy Father’s Day, Tywin! Your legacy is a lie!”]

Thu
Jun 12 2014 4:00pm

Gaming Roundup: The Best of E3 2014

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, rolled through Los Angeles this past week, bringing with it a treasure trove of trailers and previews showing off the best of gaming to come. For those not in the know, E3 is widely considered to be the industry’s premier showcase for games in development, and with this being the first show since the release of next-gen consoles, there was plenty of pretty on display.

We know that keeping up with all the news filtering out of E3 can be a daunting task, so we did the legwork for you and zeroed in on what we consider to be the show’s most exciting titles. Consider this your one-stop shop for the most impressive games coming out of this year’s convention.

[Grab a snack and buckle in. Trailers ahoy!]

Mon
Jun 9 2014 9:30am

Game of Thrones “The Watchers on the Wall”

Game of Thrones The Watchers on the Wall

I’ll be on a plane while this episode airs, so the full episode review will be delayed. In the meantime, I've got some preliminary thoughts below, and you can share your reactions to “The Watchers on the Wall” here.

Episode and book spoilers after the jump. Be careful.

[“Love is the death of duty...”]