Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David." The Museum and the Music Box March 18, 2015 The Museum and the Music Box Noah Keller History is rotting away, just like the museum. The Thyme Fiend March 11, 2015 The Thyme Fiend Jeffrey Ford It's not all in his head. The Shape of My Name March 4, 2015 The Shape of My Name Nino Cipri How far can you travel to claim yourself?
From The Blog
March 24, 2015
Protecting What You Love: On the Difference Between Criticism, Rage, and Vilification
Emily Asher-Perrin
March 23, 2015
Language as Power in Shakespeare’s The Tempest
Katharine Duckett
March 16, 2015
What Changes To Expect in Game of Thrones Season Five
Bridget McGovern
March 13, 2015
Five Books with Fantastic Horses
Patricia Briggs
March 13, 2015
Is Ladyhawke the Best Fairy Tale of Them All?
Leah Schnelbach
Showing posts by: chris lough click to see chris lough's profile
Mar 26 2015 10:00am

15 Secrets Hiding in the World of Game of Thrones

Ice Dragon Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is an intense political and character drama brought to life by its fantastic settings and engaging actors, but it’s also chronicling events within a fantasy world that expands in rich detail through author George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. Not all of these details make it into the TV show. (Frankly, not all of these details make it into the books themselves!) But knowing them can make Game of Thrones an even richer television experience.

Here are 15 secrets about Westeros and the characters that will make the show and the books even more incredible.

[15 Secrets Hiding in the World of Game of Thrones]

Mar 24 2015 10:00pm

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Love in the Time of Hydra” Discussion Thread

Agents of SHIELD: Love in the Time of HYDRA

Let's take a quick break from the ol' S.H.I.E.L.D. quake-and-dagger to check in on Ward and Agent 33. They've done alright for themselves after the collapse of the Temple and the Many Shots To The Abdomening that Skye laid out. He took his time recuperating and Agent 33 seems to be adjusting post-Whitehall and now, well, they just want some hearty pumpkin pan...oh wait, nope. They're still crazy.

But it's a comforting kind of crazy, you know? Like how cats will sometimes climb up a door for no reason. So let's talk crazy and “Love in the Time of Hydra.”

To follow Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recaps and discussion threads on, visit the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tag page.

Mar 24 2015 1:30pm

Empowering, Tear-Forming Graphic Novel I Kill Giants Finally Coming to the Big Screen

I Kill Giants

I was on an overnight flight when I first read I Kill Giants, a young adult graphic novel written by Joe Kelly and drawn by J.M. Ken Niimura, and while a long flight can bring out high levels of emotion, you don’t expect one of those emotions to be a surprising relief at being made suddenly, overwhelmingly sad. I Kill Giants moves at one thousand miles an hour even as its heroine remains stuck at a perfect standstill. It deals with maturation, self-image, grief, fantasy, and imagination all wrapped up in a tremendous bundle that seems far too large for a child to deal with but is nevertheless realistic. It’s also intensely visual, and I’m happy to see that it’s finally being brought to the big screen by Christopher Colombus and Treehouse Pictures.

[Read more]

Mar 17 2015 10:00pm

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “One of Us” Discussion Thread

Agents of SHIELD: One of Us

SkyeDad you nutty nut! Only you would pick up a bunch of E-list villains, pile them in an RV, and tell them to fight S.H.I.E.L.D. (How many different kinds of cereal do you think they have in the camper?)

In this week’s episode “One of Us,” Cal pals with Angar the Screamer, and other assorted misfits who can still be stopped with bullets, while his daughter SkyeQuakes gets SkyeTrained by May’s Ex. It is to be hoped that, through therapy, Skye will be able to make the ground act as if it is a subway train in motion.

To follow Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recaps and discussion threads on, visit the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tag page.

[Let’s talk]

Mar 11 2015 12:00pm

Julius Caesar Dies, Wills the Modern Movie Blockbuster to the People

Morte di Giulio Cesare ('Death of Julius Caesar'). By Vincenzo Camuccini, 1798

I have always found Julius Caesar to be the most accessible of William Shakespeare’s works. The love portrayed in Romeo & Juliet? Unconvincing. Love’s Labours Lost or Midsummer? Diverting but unmemorable. The Scottish play? Actually, that one is great but I have to be in a dark mood to really enjoy it. me it is Julius Caesar that proves Shakespeare’s command of language and drama. Centuries—millennia really, considering its subject matter—after its time, Julius Caesar remains a visceral and fast-paced epic.

My realization as to just why Julius Caesar remains so immediate came to me long, long after I first read it. (And in a roundabout way, that delay was its own clue.) Working at a science fiction/fantasy blog magazine like has made me far more analytical about stories and the media they inhabit, so the more I was exposed to that analytical environment, the more I began to realize that Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar was delivering the same dramatic swings that I expect from blockbuster movies.

[Read more]

Mar 10 2015 10:00pm

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Who You Really Are” Discussion Thread

Agents of SHIELD: Who You Really Are

This week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The story of an angel who fell to Earth and tried to kill Skye with a sword, leaving us all to wonder...why are her clothes boring now?

“Who You Really Are” featured the return of Sif of Asgard, on a different hunt than the one featured last season, but once again unaware of the forces that conspire to put her in front of Son of Coul and his newly-monikered “Kree slave warrior” SkyeQuakes. Let’s figure out the shape of this much larger multi-dimensional world that Skye has found herself a player within.

[It’s talkerin’ time]

Mar 6 2015 5:00pm

The Most Important Pi Day of the Century is ALMOST HERE

Pi Day 2015

Like Christmas and any personal victory I may achieve in life, Pi Day comes but once a year. If you’ve never felt the urge to celebrate this most geometrical of days well NOW’S YOUR CHANCE. Because 2015 holds the most accurate Pi Day in the ENTIRE 21st CENTURY.

3.141592653 = March 14, 2015. 9:26:53 AM

You will not live to see this kind of irrationality again. Treasure this moment. Eat pie until you can’t even see through the radiance of your own joy. Hold it closely before the non-Euclidean darkness closes in on us once more.

Mar 4 2015 4:00pm

Don’t Look Back in Anger. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Aftershocks”

Agents of SHIELD: Aftershocks

Let’s get EXCITED for the latest episode of Agent Car…oh, these guys again.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back and it would like you to know that it is not going to just forget how it gave SkyeQuakes some superpowers via the Terrigen Mists. It is going to dig deep into this phenomenon and we know this because Skye spends the entirety of “Aftershocks” in a tiny room doing nothing.

[Read more]

Feb 25 2015 4:00pm

I Know My Value. Agent Carter: “Valediction”

Agent Carter: Valediction

I’m having a hard time remembering the first 30 minutes or so of the Agent Carter finale “Valediction.” The really gripping stuff, the takedown of Faustus and Dottie and the showdown between Peggy and Captain America’s emotional shadow doesn’t happen until near the end, and until that happens the show isn’t so much about Agent Carter as it is about Agent Carter’s Friend Howard.

How did we get here? Let us re-select the episode on Hulu and part the veil of time.

[Read more]

Feb 18 2015 4:00pm

Everyone Believes in Peggy Carter: Agent Carter, “Snafu”

Agent Carter: Snafu

“Snafu” has two big jobs this week: Get Peggy Carter out of that interrogation room in one piece, and set up whatever needs to be set up for next week’s rollicking finale. But first, we must stand witness to the powers of Dr. Ivchenko, War Hypnotist. You see, during World War II he realized his constant repetition of the word “focus” allowed him to do amazing things, like turning the sawing-off of a man’s leg into a pleasant chess game. How this led to a desire to topple Western society, we don’t know. (Maybe he wants to saw off the leg…of capitalism?) But hey, Agent Carter filmed the scene, so it has to go somewhere.

Anyway, on to the more cognizant bits of the episode.

[Read more]

Feb 18 2015 1:00pm

A Humble Six-Season Outline For a Legend of Zelda Netflix Series

The Legend of Zelda TV show

I am so into the news of a possible live-action Legend of Zelda series produced by Netflix. I don’t care that dramatized video games are historically a mess or that the Variety article hints that Netflix is really just looking to twist it into something Game of Thrones-y. I reject these precedents and approaches (especially since a Game of Thrones-style Zelda brings to mind the words “Tingle” and “incest”) and assert the following six-season structure for a Zelda TV show. Let’s do this.

[Read more. Or don’t. Who cares. It’s not like this is real.]

Feb 11 2015 4:00pm

I Believe in Peggy Carter. Agent Carter: “A Sin to Err”

Agent Carter: A Sin to Err

No time for introspection, you guys. Peggy’s on the run in “A Sin to Err”! And Jarvis is on the case. And Leviathan is pulling the stakes out of the SSR’s tent. Agent Carter continues to be more fun than a depiction of a woman who is disrespected by her co-workers and whose boyfriend is buried under ice ought to be.

[Read more]

Feb 4 2015 4:00pm

The Danger in Underestimating the Women Around You. Agent Carter: “The Iron Ceiling”

Agent Carter: The Iron Ceiling

I appreciate a TV show that goes to great lengths to explain why we’re about to see little girls stabbing people.

This week, Agent Carter starts by moonlighting as The Dottie Show, opening in the 1930s at the Russian School For Girls Who Are Killing You and showing the indoctrinational and educational process for the vacant-souled assassins that we know as Dottie and, eventually, Black Widow. It’s the absolute creepiest sequence, one that is unflinchingly committed to the brutality that it’s depicting. It’s so strong, in fact, that I think it overwhelms this week’s main story: Peggy reuniting with the Howling Commandos and kicking ass.

Although in the end, both stories ask the same question of its characters: How much danger are you putting yourself in by underestimating the women around you?

[Read more]

Jan 28 2015 4:00pm

Why is Howard Stark’s Moustache So Sad? Agent Carter: “The Blitzkrieg Button”

Agent Carter: The Blitzkrieg Button

You know those pictures of TV writing rooms where there are index cards on a huge corkboard, each card representing an important moment (or scene) in the overall season? Last night’s episode of Agent Carter, “The Blitzkrieg Button” felt like all the cards that were left over after the series had been planned out. You got your Peggy Remembers Howard is a Jerk card, you got your SSR Reacts to Krzeminski’s Death card, you got your Dottie Blows Her Cover card.

Piled together, this doesn’t quite make a story, so Agent Carter also throws the Stan Lee Cameo card at us and one of the writers sneaks in a Captain America is Jesus Maybe card in hopes that we won’t notice. Something’s gotta fill that episode 4 slot!

[Read more]

Jan 14 2015 4:00pm

Earn Loyalty and Live. Agent Carter: “Time and Tide”

Agent Carter: Time and Tide

Peggy Carter’s fellow agent Krzeminski is a loser. His outward slovenliness hides no buried treasure of wit or deductive acumen. You get the impression that Krzeminski was good once, perhaps before the war, because how else do you find yourself on the SSR? But not now. Now he’s a joke to his co-workers and a talentless grunt in the eyes of his boss. Even Peggy, the agreed-upon office outcast, just ignores him.

Peggy Carter’s fellow sleuth Jarvis is a winner. His impeccable visage supports a sharp tongue and a noble heart. His capability is so honed and selfless that it saves lives, his wife’s paramount among them. When the SSR interrogates him in “Time and Tide” they don’t lay a finger on him, and he eventually declares their questioning over and strides confidently out of the room. Peggy, our agreed-upon protagonist, comes to find the same heroism in Jarvis that she saw in Captain America.

So why is it Krzeminski that I’m thinking about after the end of the latest episode of Agent Carter?

[Read more]

Jan 7 2015 6:00pm

Can We Talk About How Great Agent Carter Was?

Marvel's Agent Carter

One of the many reasons that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is so beloved is that its movies tend to provide heart-warming secondary characters in addition to its marquee heroes—characters that the movies aren’t quite about—resulting in a desire from the viewer to learn more about them, which adds appeal to the next marquee movie which they feature in.

Agent Coulson was the first and most powerful instance of this in the MCU, and we saw Joss Whedon utilize the audience’s fondness for him with devastating effect in Avengers. Rhodey was another, Rocket was even more so, and Falcon was as well, but aside from them and Coulson, the character MCU fans have probably wanted to learn the fate of with the greatest urgency was Agent Peggy Carter, left behind after the first Captain America film.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier eventually filled us in on her fate (again with devastating effect) but now we get to see the decades that became between those Captain America movies, the decades that consist of Peggy’s entire life. And it makes her eventual fate all the more painful, because if the first two episodes of Agent Carter are any indication, learning about Peggy’s post-Cap life is an experience of sheer delight.

[“I remember when I used to strap a chair to my ass and take a walk around the neighborhood.”]

Dec 25 2014 11:20pm

This is the Story of Your Life. Doctor Who: “Last Christmas”

Doctor Who: Last Christmas

Santa Claus becomes a character of surprising dramatic potential when you place him under the Doctor’s perspective. No longer is he a face beaming ruddily out at you from the insincere aisles of a department store. On Doctor Who he becomes a seat of judgment, qualified to tally the sins of a being that few in the universe could conceptualize, let alone consider objectively. He knows who’s been naughty and nice, so where does the Doctor stand in that estimation? (Which Doctor are we talking about? When?) Beyond the ability to truly put our Time Lord on trial, Santa Claus also represents an equal to the Doctor. Both are creatures of myth who defy the laws of their universe with regularity and as such they are both uniquely able to discuss the burdens of their loftiness with each other.

Doctor Who’s 2014 Christmas episode “Last Christmas” does not grapple with these facets of the Doctor directly. How could it? We are only human, as is Clara, and we can only imagine what it is like to be someone who can shift the very winds of fate itself. We can only create boundary-defying television shows like Doctor Who and depict the Doctor and Santa Claus as we think they would act and the only tool we have to shape this televised reality is our belief. These stories are only as real as we want them to be.

[Read more]

Dec 10 2014 4:00pm

A Bicycle Built For You, But Not You. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “What They Become”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: What They Become

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season two has been a high-energy experience, progressing from jaw-dropper to jaw-dropper, deepening its characters, and having fun with the complexity that the Marvel Cinematic Universe naturally generates. Where we are by its mid-season finale, “What They Become,” feels far more mature than where we were in the season premiere “Shadows,” and that’s quite a trick to pull off in only ten episodes.

It’s thanks to the consistent quality of these episodes that “What They Become” can be forgiven for being so. very. boring. The mid-season finale certainly had some exciting moments and developments, but they were a puzzling exception to an episode that, despite a lot of fighting and interpersonal drama, came off flat.

[Read more]

Dec 8 2014 11:00am

How Fast is the Millennium Falcon? A Thought Experiment.

how fast Millennium Falcon

So how fast is the Millennium Falcon’s hyperdrive, anyway?

We know—unlike Obi-Wan Kenobi, seriously wizard don’t you read SmugglerFeed?—that this is the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. But we also know that a parsec is a measure of distance, and since Han doesn’t specify how long it took the Falcon to make this sub-12 parsec shortcut, we don’t actually get an idea as to how fast the ship can go.

Oh, but she’ll do “.5 past light speed” which...doesn’t tell us much either. Obviously ships in the Star Wars galaxy can go faster than light speed otherwise there’d be no movie, but how fast is .5 on their hyperdrive scales in terms of light years traversed per day?

[Read more]

Dec 3 2014 4:00pm

Feelings and How to Destroy Them. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “...Ye Who Enter Here”

Agents of SHIELD: Ye Who Enter Here

After the high energy conclusion of the previous episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen in “...Ye Who Enter Here.” I mean, I did wait, because Thanksgiving, but that just heightened my anticipation for the events to come.

Which means that I’m expecting great things from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. once more. “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” would have been an eye-rollingly appropriate commentary on the quality of this show earlier this year, but not anymore. Now I can’t wait to see how Coulson and his Scrappies affect the Marvel universe. The promise that a Marvel television spin-off starring Phil Coulson once represented has been restored.

[Read more]