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ALUR | Black Mirror and the Propagation of Paranoia

I rarely expose myself to anything in the horror genre. Unless there are computerized ghouls emerging from subway tracks, only to be blasted away by comedic goddesses (I see you, Ghostbusters 2), I have very little interest in deliberately scaring myself. I’m more energized by the possibility of a good laugh or cry than the spine-curling, hair-raising horror shows and films out there. Despite this, over the summer, like many, I endeavored to watch Stranger Things. The show gripped me without necessarily “scaring” me in the conventional sense.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Netflix’s Luke Cage is Good… At First

Luke Cage is a good show… for a bit. The first seven of thirteen episodes are a delight. Marvel’s new entry into its online-exclusive Defenders series (comprised of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the upcoming Iron Fist) will get its fans all the more hyped up for when the four eventually convene. Creator Cheo Hodari Coker and lead actor Mike Colter do brilliant jobs in what is another solid entry to the already-great Netflix universe. Luke Cage provides an enthralling look into a gritty Harlem still reeling from the extraterrestrial incident of Joss Whedon’s Avengers (2012).

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StartUp: Just Another One in the 50 Percent

More than 50 percent of startups fail in their first five years. Crackle’s new show will likely join that statistic in its first two: StartUp has all the makings of a top-tier prestige drama — dark lighting, sex scenes, cursing, screaming, serious themes — but comes off as totally average. It features strong (for the most part) performances and an intriguing concept, but doesn’t exactly hit its mark. What it lacks in quality, however, it certainly makes up for in heart. It is clear that StartUp is committed to its message but the follow-through just isn’t there.

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GOLDFINE | On Stranger Things’ Subtle Deconstruction of ‘Female Hysteria’

When a woman goes crazy in a movie or on TV, we greet the sub-plot with a sigh of comfortable familiarity. Our intellectual subconscious breathes an “ahhhh.” We relax. We see what’s going on; we likely knew all along. As cinephiles and society-existers alike, we have been dutifully trained to unconditionally accept that a woman having lost her mind is a highly plausible explanation for her doing or saying, well… anything really — and also that such a turn of events is a Dark, Provocative and Highly Legitimate plot-thickening cinematic juncture.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Stranger Things Puts the Science (And Much More) Back in Science Fiction

When you watch Stranger Things, you are immediately transported into a relic of the 1980s. It was a time when adventure was sought out, science was deemed cool and heroism was somewhat synonymous with nerdiness. We are introduced to our heros — four boys around ten years old who strive for scientific exploration, fantastical adventure and unbreakable friendship — and, as viewers, immediately become attached to them. From the beginning of the first episode, there is an underlying element of supernaturalness that becomes much more overt later in the hour. However, unlike most shows for which the basis of the storyline is made up of supernatural events, this show isn’t nauseatingly cheesy or predictable.