CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 4 Feb / 19 Feb]

 

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Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015
Whoever came up with the phrase "life is wasted on the youth" has some explaining to do to these ten incredible talents.

Sponsored by Friday Night Tykes


Ready to feel inadequate? As if the achievements of the ten people listed below weren’t impressive enough on their own, many of them were accomplished before the artists reached the age of ten. That’s right: by the time the rest of us normal folks were preparing ourselves to deal with algebra for the first time, these preternaturally talented young people were already taking big steps into the spotlight. Building a talent, whether physical or mental, takes time and dedication, but some people are lucky enough that they have the raw materials to throw a ball long or nail a really difficult piece of music not long after the training wheels came off their bikes.


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Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015
PopMatters seeks essays speculating what the future holds for the prolific Joss Whedon, and topics in the Whedon cannon that deserve a closer look, for forthcoming eBook.

Pitch Deadline: 9 February 2015
Final Essay Deadline: 12 March 2015
Contact: Valerie Frankel and Karen Zarker
Email: valerie@calithwain.com / zarker@popmatters.com
Email subject line: What Can We Expect from Joss Whedon?


We all know and love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, The Avengers, and the other big Whedon projects. But what’s on the horizon? Giant Marvelverse movies and tie-in shows? What about the smaller, long-rumored projects like Doctor Horrible 2, Ripper, Wastelanders and The Serving Girl?


Whedon recently created Bellwether Studios to produce Much Ado About Nothing and In Your Eyes. Will he do more more Shakespeare, like Hamlet? Film his decades-old scripts, like Afterlife? What of the beloved superhero, Wonder Woman?


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Monday, Nov 17, 2014
How did Doctor Who go from grasping at straws to having one of the best seasons in years? Amazingly, in just two simple steps.

There are a lot of people who like Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor. There are a lot of people that will (rightly) point to episodes like “The Girl Who Waited” and excellent new characters like the Silence to help really drive the point home that following the monumental popularity and goodwill that David Tennant’s tenure as the Tenth Doctor generated, Matt Smith’s run in the big blue police box was just as good as his predecessor.


Except those people would be wrong.


While there will be some great episodes associated with the 11th Doctor—especially when you factor in the Series Six arc of companions Amy & Rory dealing with their pregnancy amidst all of their incredible time adventures—it was by the time the show reached Series Seven that it was obvious that showrunner and Sherlock scribe Steven Moffat was running low on ideas, episodes like “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and “The Angels Take Manhattan” really pushing the credulity of a show that already dealt with monsters, time paradoxes, and all sorts of otherworldly wackiness. Things seemed to be taking a turn once Jenna Coleman was brought on as Clara, the quirky, fast-talking girl that almost-flirted with the Doctor and seemed to match him on a basis of pure witticisms. When we first met her in 2012’s “The Snowmen”, we find out she leads the strange double-life of being a barmaid as well as a governess, and, most interestingly, was the same girl that was featured in the pivotal episode “Asylum of the Daleks”. Mysteries abound for this sassy new companion.


However, as she spent more time with Matt Smith, that initial pep of energy that she gave us withered away, as her matching Smith on a quirk-for-quirk basis proved to more grating than it was endearing. Although fans were thrown a bone with the wonderful 50th anniversary special, during which Clara had a mercifully brief role, by the time we reached the Neil Gaiman-penned “Nightmare in Silver”, Clara was commanding an army of reluctant soldiers and still offering wry faces and goofy grins even as the soldiers she was leading were dying all around her. It was ill-fitting for the character, and basically painted her as someone made of all quirks and zero emotion. Even with Matt Smith’s halfway-decent send off, there was still a sense of lacking to his final run in he TARDIS, and while some of it could be attributed to tired scripts, having a companion that was simply not interesting on any notable dramatic level is what ultimately marred the last of Smith’s tenure.


Thus, when Peter Capaldi was announced as the 12th Doctor, it was noted how his character would be unlikable at first, but the audience would grow to love him. True Whovians knew this was a bad omen, as the last time they tried that, it was when Colin Baker was the Sixth Doctor, and the producers at the time wanted to make him an absolute jerk that slowly worms his way into the audience’s heart with his gradual reveal of honest emotions. Instead, Colin Baker’s incarnation just came off as a jerk ... and little else. He was saved by a few decent scripts (see: The Trail of a Time Lord), but his character went down as one of the more contentious Time Lords in the canon, and not in the lovable and curmudgeonly way that Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker had done so well.


Thus, “Deep Breath”, Capaldi’s first episode, was a bit of a strange one to start of Series Eight with: he’s making passes at a female dinosaur, being somewhat dazed throughout the episode as he’s finding the limits of his new body (and the audience is getting used to his accent)—it made for a strange stew. However, despite his non-violent victory over the strange Victorian androids, what was most interesting about the episode is how the Doctor really pushed Clara into the action without a safety net, at one point locking her in a room where she was clearly in mortal danger. It was an odd move, but in truth, this leads to one of the two reasons why Series Eight has been one of the most out-and-out spectacular since the surprisingly satisfying Donna Noble-starring Series Four (with Tennant and Catherine Tate) ...


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Monday, Nov 10, 2014
Talking back to your TV isn't a metaphor anymore, a fact that's posing a lot of problems.

It was in 1995 that the world’s first, official “interactive” film was produced and screened. Titled Mr. Payback, the film starred Billy Warlock, and was made for showing in specially-equipped theaters where joysticks had been attached to the seats.


The movie was a kind of Choose Your Own Adventure for the big screen. While watching the film, audience members were given a choice about what action the hero should take. Via their personal joysticks, they could vote about what they wanted to see. They could also “vote” as many times as they wanted but were always at risk of being “outvoted” by those sitting around them. What happened on screen was strictly dictated by majority rule.


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Monday, Nov 3, 2014
by Tish Wells / McClatchy Washington Bureau (MCT)
The 1970s have become trendy again on TV.

In BBC America’s six-episode series The Game (Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET), the gray days of the Cold War, the fear of possible nuclear elimination by the Soviet Union is alive and well in the UK, and MI-5, the domestic counter-intelligence agency, is tasked with preventing it.


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