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Wizard World Richmond 2016: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

"I love beard!"
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Wizard World Richmond was this past weekend and I’ve got some things to say about it. You’ll remember that I have limited experience when it comes to conventions. Now that I’ve been to a nationally recognized one, I’ve learned a few things that I wasn’t quite aware of when making my plans for what I was going to see and do. Then again, I’m pretty fickle so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most of my plans were lost to the wind. Overall, I had a fairly positive experience. I’ve got good and bad things to say. In order to make

Book Review: Star Trek: The Classic UK Comics, Volume 1 (1969-1970)

I'd highly recommend looking inside Volume 1 before buying it.
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In the episode “The Alternative Factor,” from the first season of the Original Series, the Enterprise crew have their first encounter alternative universes when they meet Lazarus and Lazarus. In the second season's “Mirror, Mirror,” viewers were presented alternative versions of Kirk, Spock, and other crew members. This tried-and-true science fiction trope needs to be kept in mind when reading Star Trek: The Classic UK Comics Volume 1 (1969-1970) because these strips are a close variation of the Original Series, like the Gold Key comics. In his introduction to the book, Rich Handley provides the history of the weekly UK

Kristen's Book Club for September 2016

What's worth reading this month?
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School's starting up and if you have kids that means you'll actually have time to read something. (And if you don't have kids you might already be reading.) Here are two great books worth making time for this month. I Lost It at the Video Store: A Filmmakers' Oral History of a Vanished Era by Tom Roston I'm a fan of oral histories because they capture the voice of those involved, describing their own individual views to create a richer, wider whole. Contradictions can abound as the passage of time allows each participant to see things they way they either

Wizard World Richmond 2016 Preview

To quote Opie Winston, "I got this."
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The first (and only) time I’ve been to any kind of convention was in 2013 when I went to Blood at the Beach. There weren’t a lot of guests I was really interested in seeing, but there were a couple of actors from The Walking Dead I wanted to gaze upon. I really had my heart set on meeting Michael Rooker, simply because I wanted to ask him a question about some little one-liners he had in the show that went largely unnoticed. I paid my money and got in the autograph line. I remember being next and I was

Star Trek: The Original Series - The Roddenberry Vault Arrives Dec. 13

Twelve classic episodes, three exclusive special feature documentaries presenting unseen footage and new interviews with notable Star Trek figures.
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Press release: Fans can dive into the making of pop culture history when STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES - THE RODDENBERRY VAULT is released on Blu-ray December 13. In honor of the show’s 50th Anniversary, and just in time for holiday gift giving, the three-disc collector’s edition Blu-ray set from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution gives fans unprecedented access to never-before-seen footage from the production of Star Trek: The Original Series. During the shooting of Star Trek, bits and pieces of episodic footage were left on the cutting room floor and later preserved in film canisters by

Wizard World Chicago 2016: Kids Day at the Con

A little kindness goes a long way in making a good convention great.
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If you’ve been reading my Wizard World columns for the past few years (2014, 2015), you’ve probably already steeled yourself for yet another barrage of nostalgia and reminiscing about conventions of days gone by. There’s a fair chance you’re already sick and tired of reading saccharine-soaked stories of how much I enjoy taking my children to conventions instead of taking shots before and after the show (full disclosure: I totally did a shot of whiskey after the show, but after being on my feet for that long with an eight-year-old in tow, I’m pretty sure I’d earned it). But there

Kristen's Book Club for August 2016

What's hot on the shelves this month?
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The summer is winding down and school is only a few weeks away. Here's what's worth reading as you shop for "back to school stuff." Razzle Dazzle by Michael Riedel "Give my regards to Broadway" and to Michael Riedel for creating funnest, authoritative book on the history of the Great White Way. Razzle Dazzle is a compact history of Broadway, from its formation through the early 2000s. His primary focus is on the Shubert family - Broadway's biggest landlord and name behind the powerful Shubert Organization - and how a couple Jewish brothers turned Broadway into a corrupt, but highly

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Call and Response'

"I love this show in a way that other comic adaptations have fallen short." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn what you to know they aren't disappointed despite what you read. Kim: I sat last night to watch the season finale of Preacher. I grabbed some watermelon and a bottle of water, because I’m trying to not eat the chips. I figured if I was going to be seeing the last of Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, and Joseph Gilgun for a while, I may as well have something juicy to put in my mouth. Right off the bat, I can tell you that this was not what I expected. I actually spent the first ten

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Finish The Song'

"This is still the best show currently airing." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn are back in love with their Preacher. Kim: There comes a time in every television series when you take a deep breath, look back on what you’ve just witnessed, and are grateful for the time you’ve invested in it. This, for me, is one of those times. There were some serious ‘Whoa!’ moments and a couple of ‘Awwwww!’ moments, and it ended just as the episode began - with a giant “Holy shit!” Let me tell you about my favorite theme in this episode: Bromance! One of the more touching moments in this episode is

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'El Valero'

"Food court! Food court!"
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In which things make a little more sense to Kim and Shawn, but that's not always a good thing for one of them. Kim: This week’s write-up is painful. Look, I love Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga. I really, really do. I love the characters in this shit hole town. I love the ideas behind this story and all that it entails. But when the best part of a show is some hick getting his dick shot off and carrying it around like it’s his baby, I’ve got to say something. This is a slow burn, and it’s the worst

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'He's Gone'

Just so you know, vanilla extract is flammable.
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In which Kim and Shawn use the bullet-point button for an episode where not much happens. Kim: What I’ve learned this week: The power of suggestion, apparently, wears off. The heartbreak of Tulip and Jesse goes back a long, long way. Cassidy has feelings! Lots and lots of feelings! They use really shitty ketchup in this show. If you’re going to Pok√©mon Go! at work, you need to bring your charger. Tulip looked amazing in that shirt and skirt. Tulip is done with everyone’s shit. Vanilla extract is flammable. Cass’ cheap shot with the fire extinguisher made me giggly. I

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Sundowner'

"Everything feels headed in the right direction." - Shawn
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In which the Sundowner fight redeems everything. Shawn: I certainly felt that there was a pacing shift here from the slight slow down of the past couple episodes. We were just about back to the craziness of the "Pilot" episode. I have a few observations that don't relate to men in underwear that I'm sure you will cover in detail. 1.) EVIL NOT DEAD. The fight in the Sundowner Motel to start the episode was easily the best fight since Cassidy brought down a plane and Tulip fought her way through the cornfield in the first episode. Killing characters that

Kristen's Book Club for July 2016

What's worth reading this month
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The sun is out and the temperature's rising. What better way to spend your time than with a good book? This month I have four film-themed books worth checking out! The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett by Nathan Ward Best known as the author of The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man, author Dashiell Hammett created detectives evoking the real world, a world both shadowy and connected to Hammett himself. Nathan Ward's The Lost Detective gives audiences a glimpse at Hammett through the prose he work. As a former operative for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Hammett's first novels saw him

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'South Will Rise Again'

"I’m worried that I won’t get everything I need answered by the end of the season." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn find themselves at the halfway point. Kim: So, we’re halfway through this very short season of Preacher and I’m actually going to criticize it. Not because I don’t absolutely love it, because I do. I’m going to bitch for a minute that there is a lot of time taken up by things that will make absolute zero sense to you if you don’t read the comics or use Google. I refuse to do either, because I don’t want to ruin the show. There are people out there who insist that things are better if you

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Monster Swamp'

"It all comes together so seamlessly, to offer one surprise after another, keeping this show fresh and interesting." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim discuss Preacher continuing to be accessible and not predictable. Shawn: This series started at 100 mph. And now at episode four I feel like it's slowing down with each episode. We started driving crazy through a corn field at seemingly faster than reality allows and airplanes falling out of the sky. This week we slowly fell into a hole and built an episode around pooping and peeing and raffling off a TV. I'm still in love with this show more than any other on the air right now. I have a few thoughts about what

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Possibilities'

"It all felt different this week and I can't put my finger on the problem." - Shawn
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In which Kim and Shawn keep waiting for the next big thing. Kim: I have to tell you, I’m more in love with this show every single time I watch it. I also have to tell you that I’m having a hard time saying anything new or original about it. Dominic Cooper - still hot Ruth Negga - still gorgeous So, what else does one say about a show that seems to be doling out one or two clues at a time regarding what’s happening everywhere? I don’t feel like this gives me much to write about, but… I am

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'See'

Stay gold, Preacher. You are off to a great start.
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In which Kim and Shawn use the F-word to describe the series. Kim: The much anticipated second episode of Preacher has come and gone, and with it, all of my angst about shitty TV that just doesn’t do anything for me. It is June. I generally watch zero TV from now until Fall. However, I’m already pretty sucked in to Preacher and looking forward to Sunday’s premiere of Ride on Norman Reedus. What was that? Oh, it’s not “on Norman Reedus”, but with him, you say? Don’t crush my dreams. But this is about Preacher and not Norman’s arms, so

Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection Will Be Arriving on Blu-ray September 6

The set boasts 30 Blu-ray discs with every movie and TV show featuring the original crew, including the newly remastered Animated Series on Blu-ray for the first time ever!
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Press release: Embark on a mission to the final frontier with the biggest, most comprehensive Star Trek collection ever offered when the Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection is transported to Earth on September 6, 2016. Just in time to commemorate the September 8, 1966 airing of the very first Star Trek episode, this epic limited-edition gift set includes 30 Blu-ray Discs featuring all new disc art and every feature film and television show made with the original crew, plus a brand new, multi-part documentary with nearly two hours of new footage chronicling the franchise’s amazing 50-year journey.

Kristen's Book Club for June 2016

What's worth reading in June?
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From a romantic adaptation to the world of classic Hollywood, here's a trio of titles worth taking to the beach with you in June. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes In the interest of full disclosure, I entered into reading Jojo Moyes' incredibly popular novel with a heavy dose of trepidation. As a disabled person myself, I abhor reading stories that take disabled characters and use them as inspirational totems and that's what Me Before You is. Adapted and set for release in cinemas on June 3rd, the story follows Louisa "Lou" Clark (set to be played by Emilia Clarke)

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear The Walking Dead: 'Shiva'

"An amalgam of all of the crap rolled in to one last hurrah before getting a break." - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim welcome a merciful end to this half season. Shawn: We survived. I don't care about our group. It's you and I, T&A, that survived this torture of a season. I was so happy to have the cleansing power of Preacher before I sat down to watch the last episode of this half season, "Shiva". I felt such a relief at the end of that episode that I almost mentally erased the whole thing when I hit "delete" on the DVR. I've recalled a few things to finish this chapter of our reviews. Just a few.

Thoughtful & Abstract: Preacher: 'Pilot'

An above average start to what looks like a fun series with people blowing up.
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In which Kim and Shawn are introduced to the television world of Preacher. Kim: Here is the write-up everyone has/I have been waiting for. I’m more than a little bit excited to finally be able to write it. Start bold, Kim. Put your thoughts out there. Don’t hedge. Preacher is the TV show I have been waiting for since Sons of Anarchy ended. I was unable to watch it when it aired as it would have interfered with my daily routine of sleeping for just under seven consecutive hours every single day. So, I watched it on Monday and it

World Premiere of 'Star Trek Beyond' to Debut in IMAX at San Diego Comic-Con

The first-ever outdoor IMAX premiere event will include appearances by the film’s cast and crew, and a live concert performance by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.
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Press release: Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot and director Justin Lin today announced that the world premiere of Star Trek Beyond will play in the immersive IMAX format at Comic-Con International: San Diego, in partnership with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and IMAX Corporation, on Wednesday, July 20, at the Embarcadero Marina Park South. The red carpet event at San Diego Comic-Con, which marks the first-ever open-air IMAX world premiere, will feature special appearances by Lin and the Star Trek Beyond filmmakers and cast, as well as a live concert performance of Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino’s film score by

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear the Walking Dead: 'Sicut Cervus'

"I didn't get enough Nick to make me happy and I can't bring myself to even say it was a mediocre episode." - Shawn
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In which Shawn and Kim almost like an episode and want to talk owls but largely just can't wait for Preacher. Shawn: The title of this episode has some religious significance that's related to the initial scene at the church in the past. The same way that beginning needed subtitles to make sense is kinda how I ended up feeling about the rest of the episode. I was initially ready to compliment the episode on finally making sense but the more I mulled it over I'm not sure that it doesn't need more explanation. So without further ado I'll try

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear The Walking Dead: 'Captive'

"Can we have more Patsy Cline tunes in future episodes?" - Kim
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In which Shawn and Kim agree on two things: They are counting down to Preacher and they love Patsy Cline. Shawn: I think all we need to do to start each of these reviews is just include the countdown to the first episode of Preacher. That commercial was the best 30 seconds of this episode. But instead I'll start to unpack what I saw or at least think I saw in-between yawns. 1.) STEAK-UMMS. In the most uncomfortable seduction move of the season, Connor made Alicia a cheap steak that I think spelled out the words "do you like me

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear The Walking Dead: 'Blood In The Streets'

Blood in the streets, Strand in the sheets.
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In which Kim and Shawn look forward to Preacher. Kim: Yes, yes, yes. I tuned in for another week of this show. I don’t know why I’m still doing it. Notice it took a lot longer this time around to get my opinions down on paper (so to speak). Oh well, here goes nothing. This time-jumping shit has got to go. It was fairly ridiculous to start with the future, move to the past, then to present with a parallel story, to more past and Strand is gay (I told you) or at least pretending to be. I think I

Kristen's Book Club for May 2016

What's worth reading in the month of May?
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Our Gang: A Racial History of the Little Rascals by Julia Lee The cherubic innocence of Hal Roach's Our Gang series delighted children and adults throughout the nation in the early years of cinema. But as racial politics changed the adventures of Alfalfa and his friends were criticized for their past connections to racism. Author Julia Lee attempts to debunk the cries of Our Gang's fraught past by looking at the series from a racial angle. Blending individual episode analysis with the history of the series, Lee tells the tale of Roach's desire to make a series about real children

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear The Walking Dead: 'Ouroboros'

"I may have experienced some nervous energy during last night’s episode. It lasted all of 30 seconds." - Kim
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In which crabs eat zombies eating crabs and most of the best things are the promos for upcoming shows. Shawn: When I saw the really awkward title of this episode, I should have thought that maybe there was something a little different here. And there was. Just a little. But the bar is so low that I need to examine if there was really actual entertainment happening here. 1.) THE LOST DEAD. I guess I was most excited about getting closure from all of those 30-second spots we watched during the last season of The Walking Dead. I was afraid

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear The Walking Dead: 'We All Fall Down'

Does "All Fall Down" refer to all the sense in this show currently?
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In which Kim and Shawn try to make sense of the episode. Kim: We’re only on the second episode of the second season and I am seriously not even sure I can continue supporting this show with my viewing. I was happy to see a Preacher commercial, even though it wasn’t an intriguing one. Just the fact that it’s coming in just over a month is more entertaining to me than this show. This episode made zero sense and I mean "zero." So, your boat driver tells you that as soon as it’s clear, you’re heading out again. What a

Thoughtful & Abstract: Fear the Walking Dead: 'Monster'

T&A are on the job trying to make sense of this season of FTWD.
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In which Shawn and Kim head out on the a one-hour tour with our cast. Shawn: Is this just some backhanded way to get me to watch a show that I might bail on? Is it some morbid curiosity? 1.) PREVIOUSLY ON FTWD. Before that little montage at the beginning (and truthfully afterwards too), I remember these few things about the initial season. Kim Dickens is hot. There's a boat that not-Morgan led them to. Drug teen was annoying. After much teeth gnashing, some lady was killed. And the Army was going to bomb Los Angeles. This show had moved

Thoughtful & Abstract: The Walking Dead: 'The Last Day on Earth'

"Sure am glad that’s not how I spent my last day on Earth." - Kim
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In which Kim and Shawn wonder what could have been. Kim: I spent many anxiety-ridden weeks waiting for the season finale. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was coming. Someone was going to die. Tension was rampant. There were nights spent being irritated at the pace of the show, but hoping that it was leading somewhere incredible. I was ready to be wowed. I was ready to be devastated. As I sat to watch the 90-minute finale, I reminded myself that the only reason it was 90 minutes, was because AMC knew they’d make a killing by selling ad time. There wasn’t

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