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Molly Templeton

Six Big Questions About the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Revival

When the news broke that Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be coming back to TV in some form, it was… confusing. In a single Hollywood Reporter article, the new show was described as a “reboot,” a “new take,” an “adaptation,” and a show that would “build on the mythology of the original.”

Three things seem certain: Buffy creator Joss Whedon is executive producing the show; Monica Owusu-Breen will write and serve as showrunner; the Slayer will be black.

Reactions to the idea of Buffy coming back in some unknown form ranged from excitement to trepidation to dread. Reboot fatigue is real; nostalgia only gets you so far; is it possible for something to be so iconic as to be un-repeatable? The overall sense among fans seemed to be that almost no one wanted a Buffy do-over… but given the Buffyverse’s potential for new stories, people were tentatively intrigued by the idea of a continuation.

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If We Ask Nicely, Will Misson: Impossible — Fallout Director Christopher McQuarrie Please Make a Star War?

We could argue until the metaphorical cows come home about whether or not the Mission: Impossible franchise is science fiction; I contend it is, and hold up “this dude is wearing this other dude’s face” as Exhibit A. However you slice it, the Mission: Impossible movies are genre: you might call them SF-adjacent, or just plain action, or my preferred (if unwieldy) category designation: Movies so precisely calibrated yet entirely ridiculous you can’t stop laughing with incredulous glee.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout contains a lot of sequences that, if you have a Thing for impressively orchestrated action, you truly need to see as big as possible. (I have this Thing. In spades.) You can watch a wee featurette about the HALO jump sequence here, and it’s a lot of you-seriously-did-this-oh-my-god fun, but this is not even the most over-the-top sequence in the film. (That’s the finale, of course.) Nor is it the most important.

(No spoilers.)

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Just This Once, Let’s Try Something Else: The Expanse, “Congregation” and “Abbadon’s Gate”

Can I tell you all how happy I am that The Expanse isn’t ending yet? This two-hour finale was, for the most part, great, but if the story ended here I’d be crushed. The episode packed a ton of suspense and heart into its all-too-brief run time, but then ended on a cliffhanger that’s equally exhilarating and terrifying.

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Existentialism in SPAAAAACE: The Expanse, “Dandelion Sky”

This was a surprisingly talky episode of The Expanse! “Dandelion Sky” touched on free will, determinism, the nature of consciousness, the nature of fear…there was a lot going on as our intrepid space people drew ever closer to The Ring. There are spoilers below, obviously, but also a content warning as I’ll be talking about suicide, specifically how it was depicted in this episode, so if you need to tread carefully or simply not read that part I’ll drop another warning in when we get there. (And if you haven’t seen the episode yet, note that it shows a suicide, in a blunt, graphic scene, so if that’s something you don’t want in your head, just read a recap for this one.)

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Bursting Space Bubbles: The Expanse, “Intransigence”

So THAT’S Melba’s deal. Well I should have guessed that! I feel so silly now.

This week’s episode of The Expanse, “Intransigence,” continued the dangerous trajectory the Roci started last week. It tied some loose threads together, gave me one of my favorite scenes yet, and set up what I’m guessing will be an absolutely terrifying hour of television next week.

Join me in spoiler territory!

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Ten Years Later, There’s Still Nothing Like Tarsem Singh’s The Fall

When you want something in life, how do you get it?

Maybe you tell a story about it.

Maybe you tell your parents about the toy you simply must have. It’s the best toy. It will allow all your tiny tyrannical narrative dreams to come true. You’ll scale heights and crush enemies. You need this toy. It defines you and the stories you tell.

You tell a teacher why your interpretation of a book is the truest one. You tell a college why it wants you, you with your trove of stories that no one else has. You tell a company a story about why you are the perfect candidate for their perfect job. You tell a story about the life you want and it becomes the life you have. Or it doesn’t, and you keep editing that story.

They’re called life stories for a reason.

But a story needs two things: a teller, and a listener. You know this. You’ve told stories and pulled the jokes, pushed the punch lines, edited the worst (or best) bits. The story wants something, just like you want something. It wants to live, to be responded to, to compel a feeling, or maybe just a laugh.

Or maybe it’s the story that will define you. You never know.

[The Fall is a story about stories.]

Ghosts, Bombs, and Rings! The Expanse: “It Reaches Out”

Holy crap did all of last week’s set up pay off for The Expanse! The week’s episode, “It Reaches Out,” wound tighter and tighter until a final ten minutes of action that made me want next week’s installment RIGHT NOW.

But alas, I’ll have to wait. Can I just mention how happy I am that this show is going to keep going after this season? Because I want all the seasons.

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I’m Your Venus, I’m Your Fire—The Expanse: “Immolation”

The Expanse may have been cancelled, but we still have seven episodes left! And I for one am still hoping that if enough of the audience watches the show live (gasp!) and tweets along, either Syfy itself or a Streaming God will hear our pleas. This week’s episode, “Immolation,” gave us some amazing action, a few resolutions, and—dare I say it?—at least one happy ending.

At least, it’s happy for now.

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Always Beta Test Your Mutiny! The Expanse: “Triple Point”

This is an all-space episode—don’t look for Earth, cause you won’t find it. Also, after several character building episodes, “Triple Point” is just action and tension alllll the way down. There are three threads: The UNN Agatha King menaces the Martian ship Hammurabi, and they, along with the Pinus Contorta crew, converge over Io. Meanwhile Jules-Pierre Mao and Dr. Strickland work on their nefarious plot below.

Come talk about it with us, won’t you?

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Aftermath in SPAAAACE! The Expanse: “Reload”

This week’s episode of The Expanse, “Reload,” was another connective tissue episode. There were a few spikes of pure action, but for the most part this episode was about the ever-cascading consequences of “IFF.”

Plus, spoiler alert: Errinwright still hasn’t been kicked in the shins. What the heck, show? Hurry up and kick that jerk already.

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Can We All Just Agree to Ignore the Biggest Threat in the Universe? The Expanse: “Assured Destruction”

OK show, I have but one request: can Pastor Anna kick Errinwright in the shins next week?

This week’s episode of The Expanse, “Assured Destruction,” gave us the War Room of the UN, the protomolecule labs on Io, and two different hints that Amos has the most interesting backstory of anyone on the show. It also featured two of the Game of Thrones-iest sequences yet. But before I get into that, a quick recap.

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The Expanse Returns for Season 3 With “Fight or Flight”

Last year, The Expanse got a double-episode season premiere — and it really could we have used one this time around too. The way the show lets its narrative bleed from one season to another means that there’s never any downtime, and no need to ramp back up again, when a new season starts; we’re still in the thick of it, and the “it,” right now, is on the verge of all-out interplanetary war.

But war isn’t even the biggest part of the scope of this show, as the very first scenes of “Fight or Flight” make clear. It’s not James Holden we start with, fixing the Rocinante after getting rid of a glowing blue space monster; it’s not Chrisjen Avasarala, betrayed and pinned down on what amounts to an enemy ship.

(Spoilers for everything up to and including the season three premiere!)

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Why Canto Bight is Vital to The Last Jedi

Plenty of things about Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi have been divisive, but few have been as derided as the Canto Bight sequence.

The whole thing is just a disgracefully bad bit of storytelling.”

“…feels pointless and tacked on…”

But the Canto Bight stuff is a bit of a drag…”

“…an unnecessary sequence at the casino city of Canto Bight that goes straight from a political sermon into a plot hole…”

Was it put there as a merchandising tool, a way to sell space pony plushies and several dozen more figurines? Does it fail to advance the story at all? Does it matter?

No, and no, and yes. Canto Bight is neither a fluffy diversion nor a tacked-on way to find something to do with Rose and Finn. It’s absolutely vital to the themes of The Last Jedi, and if you took it out, you’d lose more than just a few lines of dialogue about morality and wealth in the galaxy.

Canto Bight isn’t really about the rich people at all. It’s about the reality of life under a fascist First Order, and about unsung, unflashy work that needs to be done to fix the galaxy.

Spoilers for The Last Jedi follow.

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Glitter and Grime: Would You Want to Go to Star Wars’ Canto Bight?

If The Last Jedi is the Star Wars feast we’ve been waiting for all year, Canto Bight is an odd appetizer platter, an array of tidbits that you might find unnecessary—or you might find appealingly curious.

Why do we get a whole book centered on Canto Bight, of all the Star Wars locations? The casino city was teased in Vanity Fair this summer, when Rian Johnson described it as “a playground, basically, for rich assholes.” One glittering city on the desert planet of Cantonica, it sits next to a giant manmade sea and is largely a resort city for the wealthy and glitzy. It’s so fancy, it has rare Alderaanian trees—or what people claim are Alderaanian trees. This city has its own mythology, as Mira Grant (the pen name of Seanan McGuire) explains in “The Wine in Dreams”:

It began, as most beautiful things do, with money, with ambition, and with deceit. “Come to Canto Bight, the greatest city of pleasures the galaxy has ever known,” they cried, and if they lied in the beginning, the ones who carry the cry now are telling the complete and utter truth. They crafted reality out of story.

[Or did they?]

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