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
Recently in Features
A little kindness goes a long way in making a good convention great.
What's hot on the shelves this month?
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
"I love this show in a way that other comic adaptations have fallen short." - Shawn
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
"This is still the best show currently airing." - Kim
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
"Food court! Food court!"
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
Just so you know, vanilla extract is flammable.
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 Pokémon 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
"Everything feels headed in the right direction." - Shawn
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
What's worth reading this month
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
"I’m worried that I won’t get everything I need answered by the end of the season." - Kim
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
"It all comes together so seamlessly, to offer one surprise after another, keeping this show fresh and interesting." - Kim
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
"It all felt different this week and I can't put my finger on the problem." - Shawn
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
Stay gold, Preacher. You are off to a great start.
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
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!
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.
What's worth reading in June?
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)
"An amalgam of all of the crap rolled in to one last hurrah before getting a break." - Kim
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.
An above average start to what looks like a fun series with people blowing up.
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
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.
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
"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
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
"Can we have more Patsy Cline tunes in future episodes?" - Kim
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
Blood in the streets, Strand in the sheets.
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
What's worth reading in the month of May?
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
"I may have experienced some nervous energy during last night’s episode. It lasted all of 30 seconds." - Kim
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
Does "All Fall Down" refer to all the sense in this show currently?
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
T&A are on the job trying to make sense of this season of FTWD.
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
"Sure am glad that’s not how I spent my last day on Earth." - Kim
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
What's worth reading for April?
Spring has sprung, so let's see what's worth putting on your bookshelves this month. Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick Kate Bolick's book is a mixed bag of personal memoir, feminist history, and biography, all of which makes for good, if patchy, reading. Bolick details the female fear of "spinsterhood," charting its applications throughout history and her own personal fears of being alone. When Bolick takes the time to focus on the actual issues regarding the spinster trope - including the rise of the cat or bag lady - the book takes on a fascinating feminist
Like the best episodes of the Original Series, the conflicts are believable, the stakes are high, yet there also are moments of humor.
Growing up in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, before VCRs became commonplace in households, we were limited to the whims of TV station programmers when it came to watching our favorite shows, unlike viewers today who have instant access and can even own copies of them. To revisit Star Trek at one’s leisure in those bygone days, the options were limited. James Blish adapted episodes into short-story collections, and industrious fans recorded shows off the TV onto cassette tapes, listening to them like a radio broadcast. Twelve episodes, selected from all three seasons, were given the photonovel treatment so fans
"What would an episode this season be if one of our team didn't get captured?" - Shawn
In which Shawn and Kim mostly just worry about what's going to happen next week. Shawn: I fear that we wouldn't enjoy the great episodes of the past few weeks (and essentially all of this season) if we didn't get clunkers like this one. The show still hasn't reached a perfect season and this is one that will keep it short of that this season. I will keep it short and I won't bring up Daryl because I know he's yours. 1. ) THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT. I don't know what it sounded like to you when Morgan and Rick were
The Hateful Eight is a pretty good film, but "pretty good" is well below Tarantino's usual standards.
Every Quentin Tarantino movie is an event, especially as he continues to threaten to retire eventually, and perhaps sooner rather than later. On top of that, The Hateful Eight is a massive Western, with a great cast and a score from Ennio Morricone. It was right up Tarantino's alley, and was worth getting excited about. Alas, it couldn't live up to that excitement, at least not entirely. The Hateful Eight is both expansive and intimate, depending on which portion of the movie we are talking about. Most of it takes place within a haberdashery during a blizzard, with our cast
"There was a lot happening in this episode, but not a lot happened." - Kim
In which Kim and Shawn have a few comments on dick biting and stroganoff and hurtle towards the finale. Kim: There was a lot happening in this episode, but not a lot happened. This one will be hard to write up because I was distracted by Daryl, as usual, looking all post-apocalyptic hot and trying to be a hard ass, but failing miserably. I’m going to keep my comments short and sweet because there are some things that I saw that truly bothered me and I’m not fully ready to commit them to writing at this time. Abraham has become