Hannibal: What do you see?

The Spectatorial

Sight is the key to appreciating the design behind Bryan Fuller’s three seasons of Hannibal. Television is first and foremost a visual medium, and no show makes better use of it.

The first two seasons of Hannibal take place before the events described in the famous novels by Thomas Harris, with the third season leading into an incredible adaption of his first Hannibal novel, Red Dragon. What starts off as a killer-of-the-week cop drama slowly becomes a bloody, insane, near supernaturally charged love story between its two lead characters. Hugh Dancy stars as Will Graham, a man who can empathize perfectly with anybody and whose sense of self and reality is shaky at the best of times. Opposite Will is his psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), who enjoys philosophizing about God, eroding Will’s conception of the world, and elaborately cooking, serving, and eating people (in meals that…

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Jessica Jones: It’s Time to Learn Her Name

The Spectatorial

The_Pulse_Vol_1_11_page_00_Jessica_Jones_(Earth-616)

When Marvel announced that it would be putting out several series on Netflix about street-level heroes, they told us who we’d be getting: Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones. And as I tried to force everyone I know to be just as excited as I was, whenever I reached the name Jessica Jones (to be played by Krysten Ritter), I was given a single overwhelming response:

“Who?”

With her thirteen-episode Netflix series by showrunner Melissa Rosenberg coming out in November, and my moral compulsion to tell people about good comics, I’ve decided, fine—I’ll tell you who Jessica Jones is.

In her short history of publication, a lot has happened to Jessica Jones. She gets married to Luke Cage (to be played by Mike Colter), they have a baby (who practically all the Avengers babysit), she and Luke run an Avengers team, and they fight off an alien invasion!…

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The Flash Season One: “Run, Barry, Run!”

The Spectatorial

the flash photo

“Life is locomotion… If you’re not moving, you’re not living.”

So begins the famous motto of the comic book hero the Flash, and when adopting the story of Barry Allen for the small screen, it’s clear that this motto was taken to heart. With apparently no fear that it will run out of stories, The Flash ran through its first season at breakneck speed.

When Barry Allen was a little boy in Central City, he saw his mother, Nora (Michelle Harrison), be murdered in a yellow ball of light, and his father Henry (John Wesley Shipp) was charged with her murder. Barry goes to live with his parent’s friend, police detective Joe West (the amazing Jesse L. Martin), and Joe’s daughter Iris West (Candice Patton).

Fifteen years later, a bunch of scientists at a place called S.T.A.R. Labs blow up something called a particle accelerator, Barry gets struck by lightning…

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Almost Human: Synthetic Soul

The Spectatorial

ah-poster-sized Image from yvrshoots.com

Created by J. H. Wyman and J. J. Abrahams, Almost Human was a science fiction television show that lasted only one season on Fox—because if there is one thing Fox knows how to do, it’s cancel great sci-fi hits before their time.

The premise is as follows: In 2048, the uncontrollable evolution of science and technology has caused crime rates to rise an astounding 400%. To combat this, the overwhelmed police force has implemented a new policy that pairs every human police officer with a combat-model android.

The series follows John Kennex (Karl Urban), a police detective who lost his leg in battle and who wakes up from a coma to a world where having a robot partner is now mandatory. Extremely distrustful of robotics, including his own cybernetic leg, Kennex is first partnered with a standard issue logic-based MX robot, but after it annoys him, he

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Imagine Magic! In Defense of Fantasy Literature

The Spectatorial

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”

― Dr. Seuss

Fantasy has been a part of the literary tradition since literature began.

In fact, the case could be made that fantasy was the first literature of ancient culture. From Jewish folklore thousands of years old to the Greek epics of Homer such as the Odyssey and Roman tales like Virgil’s Aeneid, the first stories of literature were about the fantastical. They were about magic, and monsters, and mad heroes going on impossible journeys.

These stories are taught in schools and are respected as great classics. So when did some people begin to lose respect for the fantastic? At what point did people decide to relegate fantasy to the fringes of literature under the classification “genre fiction”?

Today the fantastical dominates both the big and small screens. Fantasy is everywhere, and…

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A Good Land for Myths

The Spectatorial

Throughout Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel American Gods, many different characters state that “America is a bad land for gods.”  The novel argues that when many beliefs sail across the ocean to reach our continent, they struggle to survive.

While I cannot say whether America is in fact a good or bad land for gods, I can be very confident when I say that America is a very good land for myths and legends.

Today’s culture is filled with modern interpretations of ancient myths. Marvel comics has depicted characters such as Thor, Ares, and Hercules fighting alongside masked avengers as superheroes, even bringing their version of Thor to life on the big screen. DC comics also has attempted to pull stories from myth, occasionally linking the hero Wonder Woman to the Greek gods. Vertigo comics also saw several adaptations of ancient mythologies represented in the comic The Sandman (another…

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Without Fear: The Devil in Depression

The Spectatorial

just put this one first cause it looks neat, daredevil by david mack Art by Dave Mack

Superheroes have struggles and conflict. Their stories need this. Without conflict, they wouldn’t have any reason to wear spandex and go jumping off rooftops. But not all conflicts have to be outlandishly dressed villains. The Marvel character Matt Murdock/Daredevil has his share of foes (mostly ninjas). Matt’s crusade against Wilson Fisk, the criminal Kingpin of New York, and the other villains who invade his ninja-filled home in Hell’s Kitchen is fantastic, and his representation of disability as a blind superhero (albeit with some fun powers) makes for some fun adventures. But this is not all of what makes this character so great.

Daredevil struggles with depression. This is a comic book character who has openly confessed to struggling with clinical depression; this is a comic book that has treated depression as a mental illness and has portrayed it realistically.

It didn’t start out that way. In his…

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Reach for the Stars! Or in Defence of Science Fiction Literature

The Spectatorial

“I rejoice in accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who’ve been excluded from literature for so long—my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for fifty years have watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

These were a few of the words spoken by long-time science fiction and fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin upon accepting the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

It was a throwaway opening to an acceptance speech that was ultimately about the battle of art and literature against consumerism and capitalism. It was an admirable, moving speech. But what truly struck me was this opening line.

I saw it as a rallying cry, a summons to battle against those who would deny the importance of science fiction as literature. Because the sad truth is, those people…

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