How (Not) to End a TV Show

Hello everyone! I’m so close to the end of my semester and I should be able to squeeze in a novel or two before the year is over. Like everyone else, I have been using television to help me escape the reality of COV!D this year. Last night, one of my favorite shows ever, Supernatural, ended and, wow, it was something. I rarely get to see a show come to an actual series finale since either a.) I don’t finish the shows or b.) the show gets cancelled. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the different series finales I’ve watched and where they’ve gone very right or horribly wrong. The following is a list that no one asked for about things that should (or shouldn’t) be done to properly end a show, especially one with a dedicated fan base.

Kill Your Darlings, but Nicely: Since I watch a lot of sci-fi/fantasy/action/etc., character deaths are to be expected. If you are going to kill off a character at the very end, however, make it as poetic and dignified as possible. No one wants to see a character who has been through the wringer die in a completely mundane way. It doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, but it should make the audience and the other characters feel okay with the loss.

Remember the Lore: This mostly applies to the fantasy genre as a whole but canon is also important to any show. If you have elaborate backstory, the least you can do is keep the main threads going and keep in mind all of the important plot points or foreshadowing that has been established. The whole point of a prophecy is it has to come true in some way so make it happen! Fans can theorize all they want but the writers are the ones who get to make these things come to life on the screen.

Cycles Matter: We love seeing a story come full circle and homages are really nice for all of the fans who have stuck around. Easter Eggs and references are great for this. Even inside jokes can help ease us to the end. It’s okay to poke a little fun at the show’s past and reminisce. Let the characters go back to the start in some way then have them learn from the past.

Make Every Minute Count: Whether the show if half an hour, an hour, or two hours, every second counts if it is the end. Do not pad out the show with a montage unless it is super relevant. I don’t want another montage that only exists to show the passage of time. It rarely works. I also especially don’t want a montage about the past. I was there! I saw it! Give me new stuff!

Legacy? What is a Legacy?: Leave the fans something behind to enjoy. The legacy of a show doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of a spin off or an open ending. I don’t always need a hint at something more. Sometimes, a show just needs to be done. Epilogues are fine and all, but they are all trying to copy off of Harry Potter where someone has a kid who is named after a deceased character. It’s become a weirdly specific trope that I am starting to get tired of. Just let us have the memories and let me enjoy my rewatch without thinking I’m going to be disappointed again.

To Ship or Not to Ship?: Quit teasing a relationship. Either make them friends, put them in a relationship, or at least address it in an appropriate manner. I am all for emotional complexity in a show, but it does get tiring after a while. By the end, we should know whether two characters are going to end up together or not. Please just decide or not, writers. It’s exhausting and I don’t want to read any more fan fiction.

CAMEOS: Give me some indication that the past characters mattered. A cameo is great if the actor is available. If not, at least, acknowledge the fan favorites that weren’t main characters. I get so excited when I see a cameo and I would love even more. Please give me cameos!!!

And that is the end of my post that no one asked for. I hope you enjoyed it and I would love to hear your opinions in the comments. Thank you and stay safe!

My Favorite (Cancelled) TV shows and some post-semester thoughts

Hi everyone! I am truly and officially done with my semester. I had to wrap up some grading and deal with some rather…angry students. That was honestly the most frustrating part. Email doesn’t allow for proper communication because you obviously can’t read tone through an email. It was hard, to say the least. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one dealing with it so it felt good to be in similar company. I can honestly say that I did not enjoy my first time teaching a class on my own. I have higher hopes for the next time I teach, though. I’m sure many of you have similar frustrations and just need a break. That’s why I’m giving you my list of favorite tv shows that were sadly cancelled before their time. To clarify, I’m talking about tv shows that were cancelled after a season or two and not shows that had a proper series finale. I figured some of you might not want to commit to an ongoing tv show so here’s some that require little commitment and are still satisfying to watch.

Firefly – Let’s start with one of the most famous cancelled tv shows. Firefly is such a unique sci-fi show as it combines the gritty and atmospheric feel of a Western with the futuristic tech of science fiction. This show only lasted one season and was created by Joss Whedon. It is still a cult classic with a large following. The spin off movie, Serenity, is also fantastic if you are feeling disheartened after finishing this series.

Agent Carter – Marvel may have a great track record with movies, but they haven’t had as much success with tv shows. Agent Carter, though, was definitely a winner. Peggy Carter is a bad-ass icon who kicks ass in every episode. It was a great take on comic book media with a unique twist to it. There was even a musical episode. All of the seasons are currently on Disney Plus if you are going through Marvel withdrawals.

ForeverForever didn’t last long but it will stay in mind..forever (I couldn’t resist). This show was about a doctor who accidentally discovers he is immortal and now works as a mortician for the NYPD. He must solve crimes and try to hide his secret, while also learning why he is immortal. It stars Ioan Gruffud, who you may recognize as Mr. Fantastic from the 2000s movies. It was a charming little show with a great premise as well as it was a crime show (and I am a sucker for a good crime show).

Pushing Daisies – Again, we have another quirky crime show with an element of magical realism. This show is about a pie maker named Ned (played by Lee Pace) who has the ability to bring dead things back to life with a touch, and send them back with another touch. He uses his ability to help solve crimes. Along with that, he brings back his girlfriend and they must navigate their strange new relationship. It’s a charming little show with a sweet romance at the center. It is also just morbid enough without losing its charm.

Sleepy Hollow – And now we have yet another crime show but this one isn’t as…cute. Sleepy Hollow begins with Ichabod Crane coming back to life after being supposedly killed during the American Revolution. He must discover what happened to bring him back by teaming up with a no-nonsense detective as they investigate all of the supernatural happenings in Sleepy Hollow. This was a really great crime show with a supernatural twist. You can find this one on Hulu if you’re interested. (By the way, I would recommend visiting the actual town of Sleepy Hollow. It was so much fun and they really embrace the legend.)

Constantine – Now, I’m making a bit of an exception with this one as the show is cancelled but Constantine the character is very much active in the current DC tv shows. Constantine is great because it’s like Doctor Strange but imagine if Doctor Strange was an alcoholic. I love my underdog, unconventional heroes and John Constantine fits the bill. It had some great visual effects too.

Swamp Thing – This one was a recent cancellation and I talked about it before a previous list of tv shows I enjoy. I am normally not a fan of the monster genre but I was pleasantly surprised by this show. It took something I considered hokey and made it genuinely scary. If you want a good horror show, I would recommend this one.

I hope you enjoy some of the shows on this list. I’m planning on doing another podcast list because I finally have time to dedicate to the fictional audio genres that I’ve been sitting on forever. Stay safe, stay sane, stay healthy.

My Favorites of 2019

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a good Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, etc. (or you at least had some relaxing time off). I had a pretty eventful year in general and I mean that in a good way. It is now time for my annual list of favorites across all creative mediums. I got a bunch of new books over break that I will be reviewing soon. I hope for the best for all of my followers in 2020! (Note: these are probably not in chronological order. I know my book list is rather short but I did not consider everything my favorite. Also, leave me your favorites of 2019 in the comments.)

Books

  • The Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab
  • This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan
  • The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Villains duology by V.E. Schwab
  • Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Movies

  • Captain Marvel (dir. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck)
  • Avengers: Endgame (dir. Joe and Anthony Russo)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (dir. Jon Watts)
  • John Wick: Chapter 3: Parabellum (dir. Chad Stahelski)
  • Zombieland: Double Tap (dir. Ruben Fleischer)
  • Shazam! (dir. David Sandberg)
  • Polar (dir. Jonas Akerlund)
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (dir. Jake Kasdan)
  • Frozen II (dir. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee)
  • Toy Story 4 (dir. Josh Cooley)
  • Bohemian Rhapsody (dir. Dexter Fletcher)
  • Fyre Fest: The Party that Never Was (dir. Chris Smith)

TV Shows

  • The Mandarlorian, Season 1 (Disney +)
  • Stranger Things, Season 3 (Netflix)
  • Doom Patrol, Season 1 (DC Universe)
  • Swamp Thing, Season 1 (DC Universe)
  • Supernatural, Season 15 (CW)
  • The Flash, Season 6 (CW)
  • Batwoman, Season 1 (CW)
  • Arrow, Season 8 (CW)
  • Supergirl, Season 5 (CW)
  • Black Lightning, Season 3 (CW)
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths: Five Part Crossover (CW)
  • Nancy Drew, Season 1 (CW)
  • Good Omens, Season 1 (Amazon Prime)
  • The Boys, Season 1 (Amazon Prime)
  • The Witcher, Season 1 (Netflix)
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 3 (Netflix)
  • Jessica Jones, Season 3 (Netflix)
  • Lucifer, Season 4 (Netflix)
  • The Punisher, Season 2 (Netflix)
  • The Umbrella Academy, Season 1 (Netflix)
  • His Dark Materials, Season 1 (HBO)
  • Russian Doll, Season 1 (Netflix)
  • Queer Eye, Season 4 (Netflix)
  • The Umbrella Academy, Season 1 (Netflix)
  • The Haunting of Hill House, Season 1 (Netflix)

Music

  • Norman F*cking Rockwell by Lana del Rey (album)
  • Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier (album)
  • WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? by Billie Eilish (album)
  • Beetlejuice: The Original Broadway Musical (album)
  • Six: The Musical (album)
  • Doom Days by Bastille (album)
  • Blinding Lights by The Weekend (single)
  • Nightmare by Halsey (single)
  • Graveyard by Halsey (single)
  • I’m Too Sensitive for this Sh*t by Hayley Kiyoko (EP)
  • Landfall by Claire Wyndham (single)
  • DEATH STRANDING: Timefall (Original Music from the World of Death Stranding) (album)
  • CHAMPION by Bishop Briggs (album)
  • Cheap Queen by King Princess (album)
  • Hallucinations by PVRIS (album)
  • Don’t Call Me Angel by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey (single)
  • Destroy Me by grandson (single)
  • FEVER DREAM by Of Monsters and Men (album)
  • Happiness Begins by Jonas Brothers (album)
  • For The Throne (Music Inspired by the HBO series Game of Thrones) (album)
  • Free Spirit by Khalid (album)
  • Sing to Me Instead by Ben Platt (album)
  • Hadestown: The Original Broadway Musical (album)
  • Truth Hurts by Lizzo (single)
  • Artemis by Lindsey Stirling (album)
  • K – 12 by Melanie Martinez (album)
  • The Birth of Violence by Chelsea Wolfe (album)
  • Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief: The Musical (album)

Podcasts

  • The Last Podcast on the Left
  • Red-Handed
  • Wolverine: The Lost Trail
  • Motherhacker
  • RNZ: The Worst Sitcom Ever Made
  • Queer as Fiction
  • Passenger List
  • My Favorite Murder
  • Behind the Bastards

Favorite Events of 2019

  • Seeing Freestyle Love Supreme on Broadway where Lin-Manuel Miranda performed live (!!!!)
  • Getting floor seats to a Jonas Brothers concert and touching Nick Jonas (!!!!)
  • Starting (and surviving) fall semester of grad school
  • Visiting the Mansfield Reformatory (where they filmed the Shawshank Redemption)
  • Seeing my little sister graduate from high school and start college
  • Successfully working two jobs at once over the summer (I know a lot of people do that and don’t have the same luxury as I do of having an optional part-time job but I did not think I would be able to handle it as well as I did)
  • Successfully being a teaching assistant for two courses
  • Not crying that much over things (lol)

I too have an opinion on the final season of Game of Thrones

Hi everybody! Sorry but not sorry that it has been so long since I have last posted anything. I now have two jobs so, I hope you understand I have make that paper. I’m sure many of you on this website are fans of Game of Thrones. I read the books in high school around the time that the show started. It’s safe to say that I have been invested in the series as a whole for a while. This final season, which should have been incredibly epic and satisfying, has been anything but that. Before I go any farther, I do want to say that this is no shade towards the actors or the actual filming, as both are still great. I want to talk about the writing and some weird decisions that the writers seem to have made. BIG SPOILER WARNING! If you are not caught up, you may exit now. If you don’t care about spoilers and/or the show, then you may proceed.

The Character Development: Who needs consistency in their characters’ development, right? Honestly, this is my biggest gripe with the show currently, even though there is only one episode left. It’s really disheartening to see some of my favorite characters grow so much, only to be stopped for the plot. For an example, I shall direct you to Tyrion and Jaime Lannister. In my humble opinion, they have had some of the best personal development in this show. The Lannister brothers have fought so hard against their sister and we were all so proud when they finally broke away from Cersei. What happens next? Tyrion somehow becomes very convinced that she’s going to willingly surrender, even after we watched her blow up the Sept just to keep her crown. Jaime, even after he finally gets together with Brienne, decides to run back to Cersei for no reason other than he feels guilty. I’m sorry but what? You keep expecting for some sort of turn around but, then it doesn’t happen. They aren’t the only victims of this, though. Jon Snow and Daenerys aren’t much better off. Cersei even ended up being a bit of a letdown.

The Pacing: With a short run, the episodes can’t be too jam packed in order to draw out the suspense. I do normally love that but, in this case, the pacing of the show has just been off. From the battle with the Night King to the battle in Kings Landing everything feel like it should be in a different order. I don’t know how to explain it any better. Maybe some you know what I am trying to get at. I just feel like everything could be rearranged in a better order to make the story feel more cohesive. Honestly, I think that the battle for Kings Landing should have happened in the middle and the battle with the Night King should have happened at the end. I also think that the character deaths have been put in weird places as well.

The Treatment of Women: Let’s put on our feminist lens for just a moment. For starters, none of the episodes have been directed by or written by women. I’m going to call that a red flag. The female characters have not always been treated well in the show but, we have seen them bounce back and become triumphant. Unfortunately, these strong female characters have been devolved to pure emotion. Now, I’m not saying that female characters have to be perfect and strong all the time, but they do have to have development that sticks. In this season, it seems like all of that amazing characterization has been thrown out the window. (See character development above). The only female character whose development has stuck is Arya. (Honestly, she is my favorite this season). It seems like they’re going back to favoring the male characters.

The Forgotten Lore: As you all know, the show contains forms of magic that have been explored throughout the various seasons. They have helped to compose various plot points as well. Some of the biggest forms of magic have been in prophecies. Azor Ahai (aka The Prince who was Promised) and the Valonqar (Cersei’s prophecy) were huge points in the books and they were brought up in the show. It seems, however, that they have been tossed aside as well. I really liked the magical aspect of the show and I wish we could have explored it further. (By the way, I’m going to leave it to you to look up those prophecies. It leads into a lot of fan theories.)

Those were my gripes. Let me know in the comments if you have any other grievances that I may have forgotten.

The Weirdest TV Shows I’ve Watched

Hi everyone! So, as you all know at this point, I’m a tiny bit of a tv addict. I have a bunch of shows I like to keep up with and a lot of them are kind of strange. Much like the one about weird books, I do have some criteria for what I mean by “weird.” In this case, I’m talking about television shows that use strange narrative structures, bizarre visuals, or characters who have strange traits and/or powers. I’ll be excluding television shows that have weird elements like magic or time travel but still have relatively straight forward plot lines (i.e. Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, etc). I’ll also be excluding anime because I don’t watch anime nor do I know that much about it.

Legion: Based off of the the X-Men comics, Legion is about David Haller, a young man diagnosed with schizophrenia, who begins to realize that his mental illness might be more than just that. The show is set in the 1960s so there are a bunch of trippy visuals and strange lighting. The characters have weird powers, such as Sydney, who can swap bodies with other people. The show is constantly jumping around in time. The setting is constantly changing. There are main plots but there are subplots that are popping up throughout the show that are meant to confuse you. I am behind on the show but I do really enjoy it.

Preacher: This is another show based off of a comic book. It’s about Jesse Custer, a preacher in a small Texas town, who is given an unearthly power. He then goes on a mission to find God with his gun-toting ex-girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vampire named Cassidy. This show begins out fairly straight forward then takes the turn for the bizarre as Heaven and Hell become involved in the story. The show is as funny as it is strange with its depictions of the afterlife and what God looks like. It is a very graphic show, so you have been warned. All in all, I have found it incredibly enjoyable. This is another one I definitely recommend.

Doom Patrol: Here’s yet another superhero show, but I still love them. In this one, Cliff Steele, a former race car driver, gets into a car accident and wakes up to find that his brain has been put into a robot and he is living with other “outcasts” like himself. When the Chief, who brought them together, goes missing, they must put aside their differences to find him and stop the villainous Mr. Nobody. The first thing I love about this show is that the characters are so weird yet so relatable as they are all really just dealing with their pasts. The show (so far) has involved a giant eye that disintegrates people, a donkey that’s a portal to a different world, and a nice healthy dose of magic. I have been absolutely loving this particular show and I’m surprised more people aren’t watching it.

Russian Doll: This one isn’t the weirdest but I’m still going to put it on this list because I love this show. Nadia died on her 36th birthday…but then she came back. Now, she must figure out how to break the cycle before her death becomes permanent. The show certainly isn’t afraid to get deep while still being absolutely hilarious. Natasha Lyonne is absolutely wonderful in this show. If you want a show with a strong female lead that, go watch this one on Netflix.

Black Mirror: If you love The Twilight Zone, then you will love Black Mirror. I initially thought this show was a bit overhyped but I got sucked in and ended up loving it. Here’s a few of my favorite episodes: “The USS Callister,” “Playtest,” “Nosedive,” and “Black Museum.” Go watch any of those and, I promise, you might change your mind.

American Gods: This show is based on one of my all-time favorite Neil Gaiman books. The second season came out and it is just as weird as I wanted it to be. For those of you who don’t know, the show is about Shadow Moon, who is released from prison early after learning his wife died. He soon meets a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday who draws him into a world that he won’t come back from the same. Obviously, the idea of the gods, both new and old, is already a weird concept and the show fully embraces this. The visuals are as beautiful as they are weird. It’s really cool how the show moves between regular America and the gods’ America. The show also has some powerful messages. I definitely recommend the book a bit more but go check out the show too.

Pop Culture Trends I’m So Over

Hi everyone! Let’s begin 2019 with a rant, shall we? I’ve been noticing some patterns in various areas of popular culture and, boy, do I have some thoughts. Some of you may disagree with me while others may agree completely. Either way, I’d like to hear your opinions as well.

Disney Remakes: I get why the live action-remakes of Disney movies are being made but just because we can doesn’t mean we should. It’s not like any of these movies, like The Lion King or Aladdin, are outdated necessarily. I’m pretty sure a child of today can watch the original movies and appreciate them. I don’t need flashy special effects or new songs. Just leave my childhood alone please.

Movie to Musical Adaptations: If you’re a musical theater fan, then you can understand this one. The next musical season is going to be flooded with musical adaptations of movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and The Notebook. Again, I see the market and the reason for this but there are sooooo many to the point that any original musicals or revivals are going to get absolutely buried. I’m not saying I think these musicals are going to be bad. I’m just saying that the originality factor has gone out the door and I blame Mean Girls (even though I do love the musical adaptation).

“Trendy” Horror Movies: You’ve got to stay hip with the kids, right? So that means making technology the center of your horror movie. I’m going to included Internet urban legends (i.e Slenderman) into this category. It’s honestly just so cheesy. It never turns out meaningful. This whole “what if your phone is possessed?” thing feels like it’s written by parents who are tired of their kids being on their phones.

Overly Dramatic Teen Shows/Movies: I’m specifically calling out “Riverdale” for this one because it started the trend. There’s a fine line between escapism and just being unrealistic. Netflix also recently had an influx of teen-centric movies that just strike me as being way too dramatic for the wrong reasons. I understand that I am not the target audience but I would still like to appreciate shows like this. Back in my day, you got some vampires and that was enough. (Also, to anyone who watches Riverdale, how do you classify the show? Is it supernatural? Is it horror? Is it a drama? I don’t get it). (Please read this in an old man voice).

Gender Swapped Remakes: Obviously, we need more female led movies but simply remaking a movie but with a woman instead of a man is just soooo lazy. There’s so much material out there with female leads that could be adapted to the screen and that should be adapted to the screen. There’s also probably plenty of people with completely original ideas out there. Though this trend is starting to die down, I’m afraid it’s not going to stay down.

Favorites of 2018

Hi everyone! Now that Christmas has passed and I have a little bit of time off, I thought that I would share my favorite things of 2018. (Note: Some of these didn’t premier in 2018 but I discovered them in 2018 so that’s why they are included on the list)

Favorite Books of 2018 

  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
  • Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
  • Vicious by VE Schwab
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
  • The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
  • The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Favorite Movies of 2018

  • Black Panther
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Deadpool 2
  • Venom
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Aquaman

Favorite Music of 2018

  • God Save Our Young Blood by BORNS feat. Lana Del Rey (song)
  • To Imagine – EP by The Neighbourhood
  • M A N I A by Fall Out Boy (album)
  • Sick Boy by The Chainsmokers (song)
  • Sober Up by AJR (song)
  • Black Panther: The Album by Kendrick Lamar
  • Nation of Two by Vance Joy (album)
  • White Noise by PVRIS (album)
  • The Neighbourhood by The Neighborhood (album)
  • Found/Tonight by Ben Platt feat. Lin- Manuel Miranda (song)
  • Expectations by Hayley Kiyoko (album)
  • My Dear Melancholy by The Weekend (EP)
  • No Roots by Alice Merton (song)
  • Paper Love by Allie X (song)
  • don’t smile at me by Billie Eilish (album)
  • Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino by Arctic Monkeys (album)
  • Love is Dead by CHVRCHES (album)
  • so sad so sexy by Lykke Li (album)
  • Holy by King Princess (song)
  • Pray for the Wicked by Panic! At the Disco (album)
  • High as Hope by Florence + the Machine (album)
  • Love Monster by Amy Shark (album)
  • Take Me to the Disco by Meg Myers (album)
  • The Pines by Roses and Revolutions (song)
  • talk is overrated by Jeremy Zucker (song)
  • Nina Cried Power – EP by Hozier
  • Venice Bitch by Lana Del Rey (song)
  • Outsiders by Au/Ra (EP)
  • Trench by Twenty One Pilots (album)
  • Delta by Mumford and Sons (album)
  • Cheering For Me Now by John Kander feat Lin-Manuel Miranda (song)

Favorite TV Show of 2018

  • Supernatural, Season 14
  • Gotham, Season 5
  • John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City
  • The Flash, Season 5
  • Arrow, Season 7
  • Supergirl, Season 4
  • Legends of Tomorrow, Season 4
  • Luke Cage, Season 2
  • Black Lightning, Season 2
  • Daredevil, Season 3
  • Iron Fist, Season 2
  • Queer Eye, Seasons 1 and 2
  • Jessica Jones, Season 2
  • Doctor Who, Series 11
  • The Walking Dead, Season 9

Is There Such a Thing as “Too Much” Story?

Hi everybody! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything. I keep meaning to post more book reviews but I always feel the need to read multiple books at once and I just end up slowing myself down. You all know how it is.
Today, though, I wanted to talk about something I’ve noticed other book nerds and authors talking about which is: when should a story truly end? This whole conversation has been spurred on by the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald, which is the much anticipated (and slightly controversial) sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I haven’t seen the movie yet so I can’t give my opinion on it but it got me thinking about franchises and if there really is such a thing as ending a story, especially when it is incredibly popular. (Note: I’m mostly going to be focusing on mediums like books, movies, and television. I’m not going to be talking about anime or video games as I don’t know much about those mediums and they would warrant their own discussion.) 

Let’s start with examples of franchises who have done a great job with universe expansion. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the first one that comes to mind. First off, the franchise has lasted for a decade now with some of the most successful trilogies and crossovers in the history of film. Regardless of whether you are in this fandom or not, you have to admit that the MCU has done an incredible job with story telling. They took the usual superhero story formula and found ways to twist it and shape into nuanced and interesting stories. They’ve introduced characters and remade characters that were, at one point, laughable. While MCU hasn’t “ended” certain characters’ stories, they have realized that other characters deserve a spotlight. Audiences are still getting answers about the original characters as well as the new characters. These have even spawned successful tv series. When they decide to “end” certain characters’ stories, audiences will still have other characters to follow. That is what will keep a franchise going. (Granted, MCU does have a vast collection of source material to choose from.) Comic book based franchises have always tended to do the best. The DC tv shows have been some of my favorites in the past couple of years because they took notes from MCU. These franchises know how to  keep audiences looking for more at the end of each episode or movie, just as the original source material did. 

Other franchises, however, have done this without a printed source material. The Star Wars franchise is a really good example of this. The newest trilogy has done a great job introducing compelling new characters and reviving the lore that fans want to learn more about. This is also what Fantastic Beasts has done and I truly enjoyed the first movie. What all of these franchises have in common is they know how to revive stories instead of just redoing the same old thing or trying to do too much with newer things that fans don’t care about. Taking it back to the printed word, authors often can’t help but  continue world building. JK Rowling is constantly dropping little tidbits about the Harry Potter series and, while I do love it, it can also be exhausting sometimes.  There are authors like James Patterson who are just constantly releasing books in every genre and it’s hard to get excited about these books anymore because you just can’t keep up with these series. It is really hard to get audiences excited when they have a market that is so saturated with extended franchises. That is why the actual world building process has to be carefully though out, like the MCU. The Harry Potter series has a really rich history and has characters like Newt Scamander, who have their own adventures. Authors, writers, and directors who genuinely care about their creative properties are going to have the most success in having a long lasting series. 

Let’s get to the franchises that flop. The biggest reason for this is because of money. Horror movie series are the biggest offenders of this. Over the summer, I saw the newest Jurassic Park movie and you could tell they tried really hard to make it fresh and new. At the end of the day, though, dinosaurs ate people and no one learned anything. JK Rowling is going to be mentioned in this section as well for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The play fell victim to its own hype. The lore got muddled in the process. The new characters fell flat while the older characters didn’t get any proper development. It shouldn’t feel like the writers are reaching for substance. I’m also fully aware that finances plays a part in why some of these franchises feel the need to keep going but, I’m not going to focus on that too much. The lack of involvement of the original authors has also caused problems. Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, has spoken about how he regrets not being involved in the movie adaptation process. You can’t just cobble together a franchise because one particular part worked out nicely. 

In conclusion, franchises can be kept alive if it is a well thought-out effort on everyone’s part. It is perfectly fine to end a franchise, even if fans will be sad about it. It is better to have a fulfilling ending than an empty sequel. There really is no such thing as “too much story” when the story is written in a dynamic and thorough way. 

Thanks for sticking around if you made it this far. I really appreciate it. Let me know your opinions about franchises and extended universes. 

Current Favorites: TV Show Edition

Hi everyone! I was really hoping to have my review of Children of Blood and Bone for you  by now but I have recently gotten I new job so that has taken up most of my time. I have to finance my book addiction somehow. The book addiction isn’t the only one I have. On top of being a movie addict, I love my tv shows. It’s nice to have that hour long escape from the world. TV shows give me something to look forward to during the week. For this post, I’m going to do a short list of tv shows (or mini series) I feel are underrated or not as mainstream then I’ll do a longer list of mainstream shows I like. I hope you enjoy both of these.

Legion

Legion (2017 – Present, FX Network): Based on the Marvel comics of the same name, Legion follows David Haller, a troubled young man who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. He soon learns that he has powerful abilities and he must stop dark forces that want to destroy humanity.

Legion is based on the X-Men comics but, trust me, it is not the like the X-Men movies. This show is cerebral, psychedelic, and it always keeps you wondering what is real and what is not. The cinematography is absolutely wonderful as it seems to change with every episode. The show is hard to keep up with at times but it is worth the watch if you’re looking for a unique take on the Marvel universe.

Preacher

Preacher (2016 – Present): Based off of the Preacher comics, this series follows Jesse Custer, a preacher in a small Texas town who is unwittingly given the powers of an Antichrist. He then enlists the help of his criminal ex-girlfriend and a reckless vampire to  hunt for God.

The plot summary is weird and the show doesn’t refrain from embracing its bizarre plot. Preacher is full of dark humor, gory fights, and a surprising amount of heart. It’s not as hard to follow as Legion but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t keep you thinking. I’m a little behind in watching this show but I do still love it. Preacher is hell of a ride and perfect for comic book fans.

American Gods

American Gods (2017 – Present, Starz Network): Based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, American Gods follows Shadow Moon who is recently released from prison only to find out that his wife is dead. When a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday approaches him with a job offer, Shadow accepts and is thrust into a world where gods fight gods.

I’ve gushed about this book and I’ll gush about the tv show. This show is one of the best adaptations I have seen in a while. I was even satisfied with the changes they did make. If you love mythology then you will love American Gods. The cinematography is great, the cast is fantastic, and the plot points are incredibly relevant to today’s world. I highly recommend you binge this one before the second season.

Gotham

Gotham (2014 – Present (Final Season 2019), Fox Network): Based on the Batman comics, Gotham follows the up and coming detective, Jim Gordon, who learns about the true evil lurking in his city after the wealthy Waynes are murdered.

In case you couldn’t tell by now, I love shows based on comic books so Gotham has been on my radar for a while. It’s a refreshing take on the classic tale of Batman and it shifts the focus onto a broader cast of characters. Not only do you watch the journeys of heroes like Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon, but you also get to see the journeys of some of the most iconic Batman villains. The cast does an amazing job with these characters. The show is fun to watch as well as intense and heart breaking.

Hannibal

Hannibal (2013 – 2015, NBC Network): Loosely based on the novels by Thomas Harris, Hannibal shows the rise of the infamous cannibal as he forms a dangerous relationship with a young and troubled FBI profiler.

I am still upset this show was cancelled as it was both horrifying and enticing to watch. This one is another example of amazing cinematography. If you thought you wouldn’t find people appetizing then I suggest you watch this show. The cast gives absolutely amazing performances. The plot is full of suspense and chills. I cannot recommend this show enough as it had a short but amazing three seasons.

Lucifer

Lucifer (2015 – Present, Fox Network): Lucifer Morningstar was the King of Hell until he got bored and decided to start a nightclub in Los Angeles. When a murder happens in his beloved club, Lucifer ends up teaming up with Detective Chloe Decker and the two begin an unlikely partnership solving crimes together.

Lucifer is based on comics written by Neil Gaiman so I am biased but I do sincerely love this show. It is funny, touching, and a fun time all around. Unfortunately, it might be cancelled but, hopefully, it will be saved by the power of social media. Don’t miss the opportunity and watch Lucifer. 

Now that I’ve talked about more of the “indie” shows I like, here is my list of mainstream shows I enjoy. Note: Most of these shows are still on the air.

  • Doctor Who
  • Supernatural
  • Game of Thrones 
  • Arrow 
  • Flash 
  • Supergirl
  • Legends of Tomorrow
  • Black Lightning 
  • The Walking Dead 
  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones 
  • Marvel’s Luke Cage 
  • Marvel’s Daredevil 
  • Stranger Things
  • Sherlock 
  • Star Trek
  • The Office 
  • The Twilight Zone 
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events 

 

The Game of Thrones Tag

Ok, you might hate me for doing another tag but I couldn’t resist since I’m a big fan of the book series and the television show. Also, I figured since its the final season of the show I wouldn’t get another chance to do this tag. I’ve been seeing this tag all over the place but here’s the source I’m using specifically. @theclockworkbibliophile

Part 1

greyjoy

“We do not sow” – A book you would not be willing to invest in

When I first read Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov, I wanted to to be interested initially but I was too creeped out and just wanted to stop reading it. Unfortunately, I was required to read it for a class.

targaryen

“Fire and Blood” – A book that produced strong emotions for you

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows destroyed me because it was the last book in the series and all of the deaths were devastating in their own right.

stark 2

“Winter is Coming” – your favorite winter read

Well, obviously the Harry Potter books are always great for winter.

tully

“Family, Duty, Honor” – A book about strong family ties

Again, Harry Potter is a good choice but also The Hunger Games is a good one. Let’s face it, though, Game of Thrones is probably the best choice for this one.

tyrell

“Growing Strong” – A book you had low expectations for but it grew on you

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini definitely ended up having more of an impact on me than I though and I still love that book.

baratheon

“Ours is the Fury” – A book that made you furious

Allegiant, which is the last book in the Divergent series, pissed me off to no end. The Circle by Dave Eggers also pissed me off so much that I didn’t even read the whole thing.

martell

“Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” – A book series you have unwavering devotion to.

I wouldn’t be here with Harry Potter, that’s for sure.

lannister

“A Lannister Always Pays His Debts” – A book you feel indebted to

American Gods by Neil Gaiman really opened my eyes and taught me more about writing and mythology.

Part 2

Who do you want to win the Game of Thrones?

As much as I love Daenerys to win, I think that she might unintentionally carry on the tradition of Targaryens being insane rulers so I’m going to have to pick Jon Snow. Also, I believe in the theory that he is also a Targaryen which would fulfill the title of the series, A Song of Fire and Ice. 

Part 3

Who do you think will die? Who do you think will make it to the end?

My list of survivors: Jon Snow, Tyrion and Jamie Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Asha and Theon Greyjoy, Sansa Stark, Varys, Bran Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, Daario Naharis, Samwell Tarly, Olena Tyrell

My list of casualties: Cersei Lannister, Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, Jorah Mormont, Melissandre, Davos Seaworth, Gendry, Arya Stark, Tormund Giantsbane, Ellaria Sand

Part 4

Would you win or die?

I may not have a ton of resources but I’m pretty logical and strategic. Would I win though? I hope so if I play my cards right.

Part 5

Which house are you apart of?

I think I would be a member of House Stark because I have very bad luck but still somehow succeed despite the odds.

Now it’s your turn. Feel free to join me in this tag.