Understanding Horses: Trust Between Human and Animal

As I write this, my one and only non-equine sports fandom is in the midst of the premier event of its season: the Iditarod, also known as The Last Great Race. This more or less thousand-mile wilderness trek across Alaska stars some of the most remarkable athletes on the planet: teams of sled dogs, fourteen each at the start, with one human musher per team.

What’s remarkable to me as a horse person, all the seriously cool science stuff aside, and all the lovable floofage and the happy happy leaping wow let’s run!, is that there’s nothing at all to force them to go, and no direct control of any kind.

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How Meta Sitcoms and The Truman Show Shape WandaVision’s Stages of Grief

Once WandaVision’s sitcom conceit was established, it seemed likely that Wanda Maximoff’s decade-by-decade tour through the medium would culminate in a meta homage to Modern Family and other modern series in which the studio audience has been replaced by a documentary camera crew. After all, what more obvious format than the self-aware sitcom to show Wanda reaching the realization that all of this was her doing?

Yet WandaVision made sure that this inevitable confrontation was still surprising… because when Wanda started talking to the cameras, they talked back. That is, it was Agatha (all along) behind the lens, weaponizing the meta sitcom format in order to interrogate the younger witch about how Westview came to be. But Agatha’s breaking of the fourth wall isn’t what popped Wanda’s sitcom bubble—the Avenger-turned-TV-archetype undermined herself when she first created this world of reruns in which to grieve the loss of Vision.

Because Wanda never accounted for the presence of an audience.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Dark Frontier”

“Dark Frontier”
Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by Cliff Bole and Terry Windell
Season 5, Episodes 15 & 16
Production episode 211 & 212
Original air date: February 17, 1999
Stardate: 52619.2

Captain’s log. A Borg probe encounters Voyager. The Borg do their usual you-will-be-assimilated dance, but Janeway beams a photon torpedo onto the probe, which destroys it. Janeway orders the debris brought on board for salvage.

[Now this is how I prefer the Borg: in pieces…]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Ranking the Live-Action Members of Superman’s Supporting Cast

Although Superman first appeared in pages of 1938’s Action Comics #1, no single medium could contain the Last Son of Krypton. Within ten years, the Man of Steel started showing up on toy store shelves, in a radio show, and, of course, on the screen. Since the 1948 Republic Pictures serial Superman starring Kirk Alyn, we have always had a human face to go with the world’s first superhero, a tradition that continues today with Tyler Hoechlin in the new Arrowverse series Superman & Lois.

But while we could discuss the individual merits of the many men who have donned the Man of Tomorrow’s signature red trunks, I’d argue that any Superman adaptation is only as good as its supporting cast. Superman stories live and die by their portrayals of ace reporter Lois Lane, Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen, Daily Planet editor Perry White, and, of course, the diabolic genius Lex Luthor. Instead of ranking the different Clark Kents (Clarks Kent?) and their alter egos, I find it far more interesting to rank the various live-action takes on his supporting cast.

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A Powerhouse Team Will Bring Stephen King and Peter Straub’s The Talisman to Life as a Series

It’s too many big entertainment names to fit in one headline: Steven Spielberg, Matt and Ross Duffer, and the Duffers’ Stranger Things colleague Curtis Gwinn are at work on a series adaptation of The Talisman, the novel by Stephen King and Peter Straub. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Spielberg has been trying for years to develop this story. In 1982, before the book was even published, he acquired the screen rights in perpetuity. At long last, the adaptation is underway.

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Raya and the Last Dragon Is a Stunningly Animated Reminder That No One Saves the World Alone

It’s not every Disney movie that leaves you thinking about food. Raya and the Last Dragon is a lush, gorgeous work of animation with epic fight scenes, a doubting heroine, and a giddy water dragon—and it’s a movie that remembers that people need to eat, and that eating together is meaningful. Watching the enterprising young chef Boun (Izaac Wang) dole out his dishes to a gaggle of newfound friends, I missed more than ever the experience of food as community, as a reason and a way to come together.

Early in the film, Chief Benja (Daniel Dae Kim) uses food as an example of how different elements create a magical whole. He adds something from each of his world’s five lands—shrimp paste, lemongrass, bamboo shoots, chilis, and palm sugar—to a bowl of soup. Every piece is necessary for the dish to be complete. It reflects his dream for their broken world: That the five clashing nations of Heart, Talon, Fang, Spine, and Tail can reunite as Kumandra, the single harmonious world they once were.

[Minor spoilers for the film below.]

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Nesta’s Story: Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Silver Flames

Nesta Archeron has never been everyone’s favorite. When the eldest Archeron sister was introduced in A Court of Thorns and Roses, she was breathtakingly cruel. But when her little sister Feyre returned from the land of Prythian—the Faerie land where she’d been taken by a shapeshifting High Fae lord—it turned out Nesta was the only person who knew where she’d gone, and the only person who tried to follow.

While everyone else was taken in by stories about where Feyre went, Nesta saw through Fae glamour and spells, and was furious and alone in that knowledge. Nesta’s anger, over this and so many other things, blazed bright, and set her apart. What force of will allowed her to resist the magic that spelled pretty lies for everyone else? What would she do with all her fire and rage if she had her own magic, opportunity, a chance at another life?

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Trashy Tales: Five Stories About Space Garbage

If there is one lesson that the popular film Space Sweepers teaches us, it is that audiences worldwide love science fiction about garbage and garbage collection. SF fans eager for more thrilling tales of garbage collection will be overjoyed to learn that science fiction is rich with examples of prior art. Consider these five works…

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Richard Kadrey’s Original Screenplay Dark West Has Been Optioned

There’s already a Sandman Slim movie in the works, but now author Richard Kadrey has another film on the way. The Wrap reports that his original screenplay Dark West has been optioned by Winterlight Pictures, to become a film directed by Kiah Roache-Turner (Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead), who will also write another draft of the script.

Kadrey also plans to turn Dark West into a graphic novel.

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Germany’s Grim Inc. Sounds Charming, But Can We Please Have Dead Like Me Back

Variety reports that two German production companies are teaming up on Grim Inc. a “dark supernatural comedy series” that puts a corporate twist on a concept that’ll be familiar to Bryan Fuller fans: the idea that the Grim Reaper has some help doing his job.

It’s unclear if Grim Inc. will make it to the US, thought it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it turn up on Netflix. I’d watch it. But if we’re talking about shows involving employing people as reapers? Let’s talk about how we need more Dead Like Me, the first series Fuller created. Bring back George Lass!

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