Is FX ready to have grown-up conversations?

Every Tuesday night at 10 p.m., one or two TV networks in the US are bound to focus on Middle Eastern tension and conflicts. The usual suspects are, of course, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. Now FX will be vying to take part in the conversation with it’s newest original series “Tyrant”. This is a pretty ambitious move for a channel whose claim to fame is that “FX has the movies.” For all of that trying though, will “Tyrant” contribute any valuable insight or commentary on its subject matter?

Contentious social and political issues are not new territory for FX. Many of the network’s original drama series have had major plot points, if not their entire premises, on hot-button topics. “The Shield” had gang violence and police corruption. “The Bridge” personalizes the dangers of trying to enforce the law along the US-Mexico border. “Sons of Anarchy” looks at all of the above through the lens of the outlaws profiting from the illicit gun and drug trades. So with over ten years of experience, FX should be experts by now at developing material that maturely examines the big questions that face our society. Right? No, actually not at all. Both FX’s broadcasting history and “Tyrant’s” unique subject matter far from guarantee any lasting depth in the plot. Continue reading

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Godzilla is a grand, ungodly, god-like dude

I happen to be very nostalgic in regards to pop culture. I have t-shirts referencing the early 90’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and the less well-known series Dinosaurs. I wear them with absolutely no irony; I just remember such things fondly. But instances such as 1998’s Godzilla or Alien vs. Predator have me constantly wary of retcons and updates. Yet much to my own surprise, I took a leap of faith and saw Godzilla in theaters this weekend. And while there are now three movies that share that exact title, I’ll trust you know which one I mean. Continue reading

Game of Thrones Abroad: Can China have their lemon cakes and eat them too?

If you like international news, fantasy sagas, and the internet as much as I do, you probably heard some outcry this past week over the Chinese government’s decision regarding the TV series Game of Thrones. You can’t know how excited I am to even suggest that this show is relevant to current world events. The series has been permitted to air in the PRC, despite some reportedly heavy edits in the name of censorship.

According to the South China Morning Star, one viewer of the altered pilot episode felt it was reduced to “a medieval European castle documentary.” What was the motivation behind this move? According to Ishaan Tharoor of the Washington Post, it may be a shrewd political maneuver for China to take the plot to the chopping block. Continue reading