Dread Wolf: Teen Wolf Season 5 Midseason Finale

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Oh Teen Wolf, how did you go so horribly awry? The show has never been good at internal logic, but at least it was fun. It was a wild, bizarro ride that dragged you along whether you wanted it to or not. The fourth season was dire as all get-out, and while season five isn’t quite as bad as its predecessor, without a powerhouse forcing the characters into terrifying situations and desperate decisions the whole thing falls flat.

There seems to be a growing problem in fantasy television shows where those running the show don’t understand their own show. Sleepy Hollow wasn’t an instant success because fans wanted to know all about the romantic backstory of Katrina, Headless, and Ichabod, it worked because we loved watching BFFs Crane and Abbie battle crazy shit every week. Supernatural isn’t still raking in the ratings because fans want more mythology but because ...

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The Dead and the Dying: Fear the Walking Dead Premiere

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I like to consider myself a bit of a zombie nut, but even I’ll admit I approached Fear the Walking Dead with more than a little trepidation. Its very premise—the dawn of the walking dead pandemic currently plaguing Rick in Georgia—is an obvious cash grab, and given the ever-increasing ratings for its parent property, you can’t really blame AMC for wanting to rake it in while they can. More to the point, The Walking Dead isn’t exactly a beacon of quality television. Entertaining? Sure. Solidly crafted? Mostly. Sharp scripts? Eh. Well-drawn characters with interesting backstories and consistent personalities? Rarely. TWD is the kind of show that wants to be Breaking Bad but is either unwilling or unable (or, likely at this point, both) to put in the effort. It’s no wonder people were so anxious about drawing from the same dry well but with a shiny new bucket.

In the ...

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Wayward Pines Is Half Paradise, Half Lost, All Crazy Town Banana Pants

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Welcome to Wayward Pines, Idaho, a small town with a big secret. After a terrible car accident, Secret Service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) wakes in the town hospital completely cut off from the outside world. Everyone is aggressively pleasant and suspiciously welcoming, especially kindly Dr. Jenkins (Toby Jones). He butts heads with a hot-tempered ice cream enthusiast (Terrence Howard) and the moustache-twirling Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo) before running into the woman he was sent to rescue—his ex partner and part-time lover Kate (Carla Gugino). He’s shocked to find her a decade older and happily married to a toymaker named Harold (Reed Diamond) despite having only been missing a short while.

Soon Ethan learns the immutable rules of Wayward Pines: “do not try to leave; do not discuss the past; do not discuss your life before; always answer the phone if it rings; work hard, be happy, and enjoy your ...

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Pull List: Hawkeye

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When I first pitched Pull List, I intended the column to look at the bad stuff as well as the good, but somehow it’s morphed into monthly love notes. Which means that this is the perfect time to talk about Matt Fraction and David Aja’s absolutely fan-flerken-tastic run on Hawkeye. It’s one of the rare few superhero comics I’d readily and without hesitation put near the top of my Best Of list. It’s that good. No, it’s that incredibly great.

Origin Story

PL_Hawkeye-coverIn this series by writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja, Clint Barton is “the Avenger that’s Just A Dude.” The series shows what happens to Clint when he stops being an Avenger and starts getting real. Clint fights with his landlord. He takes his dog to the vet. He goes to a neighborhood barbeque and untangles his Christmas lights. He hooks up with a girl, gets ...

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Il Mostro: Hannibal Season 3 Premiere

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It’s been said a thousand times before, but Hannibal is the best television show you’re not watching. And by “you,” of course, I mean the non-Fannibals who have stumbled upon this post and said to yourself, “Oh yeah, Hannibal, the show about that cannibal guy who threatened that Clarice chick with fava beans and a nice chianti.” Except no, this Hannibal isn’t your peepaw’s cannibal shrink. The vision Bryan Fuller (the auteur behind Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies) hath wrought is a lucid nightmare. His Hannibal is a macabre menace out to deconstruct love, trust, and hope, to shatter and pulverize our humanity, and to force us to redefine what precisely makes humans human, through psychological warfare and emotional torture. It’s an oasis in a desert of mediocre television, and you’ve never seen anything like it.

The first season began as a sort of crime procedural: half standard brilliant ...

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Pull List: ODY-C

People have been retelling, reimagining, and recontextualizing the Odyssey ever since Homer figured out the easiest way to memorize long stanzas of poetry was through dactylic hexameter. James Joyce’s Ulysses is an obvious homage, as is the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the French-Japanese animated series Ulysses 31. Twelfth-century Irish writers tweaked the Greek classic into Merugud Uilix maicc Leirtis, Dante dabbled in Odysseus fanfic in his Inferno, and the great and glorious Margaret Atwood let Penelope tell her side of the story in The Penelopiad.

Now with ODY-C, it’s Matt Fraction and Christian Ward’s turn, and trust me, it’s the interpretation you’ve been waiting for.

[“Sing in us, muse / Of Odyssia / Witchjack and wanderer / Homeward bound / Warless at last”]

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The (Welcome) Invasion of the Whippersnappers

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The most wonderful time of year for comic book geeks is almost upon us. No, not the opening of comic book movie season, even one that includes premieres of the new Avengers world domination story, the awesome-looking Fantastic Four movie, or Batman and Superman Have a Pissing Contest while Wonder Woman Gets Bored and Goes Off to Save the World.

In a few short days, the first Saturday of May to be exact, is Free Comic Book Day! It is the day we give thanks to our ancestors for bestowing upon us this glorious medium by descending en masse on our local comic book shops and scrabbling to get everything on our wishlist. This year is also the first time Children’s Book Week and Free Comic Book Day are joining forces to help get kids interested in reading, which this librarian thinks is pretty darn great.

[“A great nation is ...