Tor.com content by

Emmet Asher-Perrin

Remembering Mr. Nimoy: What Spock Meant to One Geeky 12-Year-Old

Today would have been Leonard Nimoy’s 89th birthday.

Marking the passage of time with birthdays and anniversaries can make absence even more perplexing. This is even more true when memories of a person are easy to access, to wit; I watch Star Trek: The Original Series constantly. It’s comfort food. So to me, Spock (and by way of him, Leonard Nimoy) is as vibrant and present as ever. Which in turn is another invaluable source of comfort—because Spock made such a difference to the impressionable child version of me.

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Anakin Skywalker’s Story Isn’t Complete Without Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Rebels

In Star Wars, Episodes I-IX are wrapped around the Skywalker family like a fluffy, strangling blanket of expectations and betrayal. This journey begins with one person in particular: Anakin Skywalker, the supposed Chosen One of the Jedi, later best known as the Emperor’s right hand, Darth Vader. The problem with this very dramatic arc is that the first three films—meant to show us exactly why Anakin becomes one of the galaxy’s most infamous tyrants—doesn’t actually give us much by way of explanation on his actions. We’re told things rather than shown them. We don’t know how he gets from Point A to Point K(ill-All-the-Younglings). And that’s kind of important, given that his actions set the entire saga in motion.

Don’t worry. Television’s got you covered.

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On the Profound Awfulness of Netflix’s Dracula

Most people have, at one point or another in their lives, enjoyed a vampire story. Or many vampire stories. They are a deliciously uncomfortable paradox as supernatural beings go—bound up in death, but also in lust, in sensuality, and of course, in sex. You can’t really get around it, even if you acknowledge how creepy (even gross or grotesque) the conceit is. Vampires are meant to be attractive to us in order to help us confront something fundamental to much of humanity.

And Bram Stoker’s Dracula may not be the first vampire story, but it is often given credit for the genre’s longevity.

[I don’t drink. Wine.]

The Rise of Skywalker Wants You to Know That Consent Is Necessary (and Also Very Sexy)

It’s the classic romantic moment of Star Wars, arguably one of the best-known on-screen kisses of all time. Han Solo has been arguing with Princess Leia for a third of film over whether or not she’s into him, and happens to spot her as she’s doing ship repairs while they’re hiding in an asteroid. He wraps his arms around her under the guise of helping, she shoves him off. He takes her hand when she appears to have pinched it in the machinery, she tells him not to do that. He says she likes him because he’s a scoundrel, she insists that she likes nice men. He counters that he is a nice man, and before she can finish her protestation, he kisses her.

This aligns with most of what you see in romantic plot lines throughout the history of cinema, and corresponds with a tactic that many men are encouraged to use in real life on women: The Wear Her Down Method. And the problem with said method is that it not only easily slips into harassment—it also often ignores the concept of consent entirely.

[Spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker ahead.]

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Tim Burton Hides Stories of Powerful Women in Plain Sight

If you were a kid growing up in the U.S. during the ’80s and ’90s, entertainment had a certain shape. It was full of suburban lawns, the excitement of excess, gated communities, and nostalgia for the soda-fountained, saddle-shoed “simplicity” of post-WWII values. Flashy blockbusters were the rule of the day. In the face of reasserted homogeny, a specific set of subcultures flourished, grown out of punk movements and other anti-establishment groups. Which is a roundabout way of saying, if the mainstream didn’t float your boat (or only did part of the time), chances are, you were a Tim Burton kid.

Burton sidestepped his way into cinema juggernaut status, getting his start in Disney’s animation division before being fired and sweeping into feature films. He quickly made a name for himself by being “too dark” and “too creepy” for children (plenty of actual children who grew up on his films would dispute this claim), and for a distinct visual vernacular born of gothic sensibilities intertwined with a deep understanding of old monster movies, low-budget sci-fi films, and German Expressionism. But there is something even more fascinating about Tim Burton films, especially when looking back on the director’s career: They often seem to center male protagonists when they are plainly about women.

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Lost in Space Continues to Evolve in Season 2, Questioning a Future That Isn’t Built For Everyone

It’s been over eighteen months (in realtime) since we last saw the Robinsons and their unintentionally adopted new crew members. Now they’re back, and in addition to family bonding time, we’re getting a whole new perspective on the world they’ve left behind and the future humanity is trying to build.

(Some spoilers for Lost in Space season 2.)

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