Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 

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Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015
by Samantha Cass
As Game of Thrones begins its fifth action-packed season, PopMatters examines the show's many contenders for the titular throne.

By now we know that there have been several “self-styled” kings, and many that have claimed the rights to Game of Thrones’ kingdom of Westeros. Whether you have read all of George R.R. Martin’s books to date, or are only a fan of the television series, we have been subjected to a parade of aspiring leaders that all feel they have a claim to the Iron Throne.


But of these wannabes, which of these actually would make a good ruler? Which of them actually has a true and valid claim? Which of these people would avid readers and watchers of the Game of Thrones universe actually like to see sitting atop the Iron Throne?


Tagged as: game of thrones
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Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015
David Lynch is one of the most beloved directors in the world. He's also an expert at letting his fanbase down.

It’s becoming a bit of a joke. The man hasn’t made a legitimate mainstream movie since 2001 (2006 if you count the digital experiment INLAND EMPIRE) and yet he remains one of the most highly regarded and beloved auteurs in all of film. His past efforts include masterworks such as Mulholland Dr., Lost Highway, Wild at Heart, Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, and Eraserhead, and even his lesser efforts (Dune, The Straight Story, to some extent) radiate an artistic immediacy that is hard to shake.


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Monday, Apr 13, 2015
It's hard to imagine that Daredevil exists in the same universe as the Avengers, but the series successfully delves into street-level violence not yet explored in Marvel's big screen efforts.

Last Friday, Marvel Entertainment released Daredevil, their first of four Netflix-exclusive series. Like other Netflix-exclusive releases, all 13 episodes of Daredevil were released at the same time, which means it was ripe for binge-watching. As someone who is an avid comic book fan, and a proponent of any live-action comic book adaptation, I really wanted to immerse myself in Daredevil once it was released. So, like many Americans this weekend, I binge-watched all 13 episodes of Daredevil in basically one sitting (I took a few breaks in between episodes). During my marathon viewing session, I live-tweeted my spontaneous reactions and unprocessed thoughts on the show. What follows is the Storification of my tweets that, when compiled, work as a real time review of Daredevil.


Tagged as: daredevil, marvel, netflix
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Monday, Apr 13, 2015
It could have been a passing curiosity like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but Daredevil isn't only a great superhero TV drama, but it's a great drama period.

Netflix really put their chips on the table by releasing Daredevil the same weekend as the Season Five premiere of Game of Thrones, and in the eternal war of watercooler-ready cultural capital, the only reason they’d be so bold is because they feel that they had something special on their hands ... and they do indeed.


Landing at a curious time in the television landscape where DC Comics is starting to pick up good will with their character-driven efforts Arrow and The Flash (although the less said about Gotham the better) and Marvel’s own Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is starting to pay off after finally breaking through the predictable “monster of the week format” part way through its first season, Daredevil is cut from a different bullet-resistant cloth altogether. Starring Boardwalk Empire‘s Charlie Cox as blind lawyer Matt Murdock, the show follows Murdock and his friend Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson of Mighty Ducks fame) as they start up their own law firm in Hell’s Kitchen, although Murdock, whose other senses have been trained to near-superhuman levels, goes out at night and seeks vigilante justice all his own, often fighting back the forces of ruthless business magnate Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) in a struggle for the heart of the city. (Note, this character is best known as the Kingpin, but in one of the show’s several well-thought-out decisions, he is never referred to as such.)


This may sound very by-the-numbers (and, to neophytes, remarkably Batman-esque), but the show carries off the premise remarkable style. Created by The Cabin in the Woods helmer Drew Goddard with Steven S. DeKnight serving as showrunner (both alums from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel), let us now break down the three absolutely extraordinary ways that Daredevil managed to become not just the hands-down best superhero drama on TV, but also one of the best new overall dramas this season.


Tagged as: daredevil, marvel
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Wednesday, Apr 8, 2015
by PopMatters Staff
PopMatters seeks essays (1,200 to 3,000 words, usually) about any aspect of popular culture, present or past.

(If you are interested in pitching a review of some specific current work or performance, please contact the appropriate section editor.) We prefer careful analysis of the chosen subject matter with the intention of supporting an original thesis; we aren’t particularly interested in articles that merely want to promote their subject. An assessment of what ideological work a given pop culture phenomenon performs (i.e. what has allowed something to become popular, what’s at stake in its popularity besides money, how it is situated in a historical or geographical context, etc.) is especially welcome. Ideally essays will draw on sophisticated interpretive strategies derived from a theoretically informed point of view, but will be presented for a general reader in lively, accessible language.


For examples of the diversity of topics and range of approaches we welcome, please have a look at PopMatters features and columns archives.


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