Category Archives: TV and Movies

Dominion’s Angelology; or, Someone Knows their Theology

Dominion Promotional picture

Syfy recently embraced an unlikely premise: create a TV sequel to a movie few saw and fewer liked.  Thus, out of Legion came Dominion. Dominion occurs 25 years after Dominion in a world mostly destroyed by angels.  God turned his back on the world, and the angels believe it is their duty to destroy humanity as punishment.  A single angel, Michael, has taken the side of humanity, believing it was the angels who failed God. 25 years ago, he saved

More History and Game of Thrones

HERE THERE BE A FEW SPOILERS I’ve previously written about how alternative-history needs a basis in history.  Other forms of fiction frequently benefit as well, and Game of Thrones is no exception. Dragons and whitewalkers aside, George R.R. Martin wants Westeros to feel somewhat familiar to us.  He also wants something cohesive, and one of the ways you do that is borrow from things already in existence.  So just as he leaned on history for his characters, he also drew

War of the Roses and Game of Thrones

Wolf and lion emblems

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.  I HAVE NOT READ THE BOOKS, BUT THIS DISCUSSES EVENTS UP TO THE END OF SEASON 4. No matter how much I make up, there’s stuff in history that’s just as bad or worse. –George R.R. Martin All sorts of things influence writers: people they know, current trends, politics, folklore (consider all the supernatural fiction currently popular), famous stories (all sorts of movies are deliberately based on Shakespeare’s works), current events (Elysium‘s treatment of the healthcare

Inventing Celtic History, or My Continued Quarrel with “Cosmos”

Cosnos's idea of celtic art

The TV show Cosmos has managed to not offend me for several weeks, and this last episode certainly didn’t offend, it merely annoyed.  In its introduction to our understanding of the stars, host Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses a variety of myths surrounding constellations, particularly about the Pleiades. Among the ancient Celts and Druids of the British Isles, the Pleiades were thought to have a haunting significance.  On the day of the year that they reached the highest point in the

Fighting the Persian Wars in Slow Motion, or My Relation with Historical(ish) Movies

Themistocles and Artemisia

I have a love-hate relationship with historical movies. I don’t expect them to be documentaries, and if they get someone interested in a person or event or time in history, terrific. (One of my issues with Reign is that it references nothing historically important and puts most of the focus on utterly fictional issues. It’s not going to inspire anyone to learn more of Mary Queen of Scots.) Generally speaking, the more a movie claims to be historically accurate, the

Skewing Religious History, or Why I’m Quickly being Alienated by “Cosmos.”

Neil DeGrasse Tyson on "Cosmos"

I, like many of my friends, greatly anticipated the restart of Cosmos by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I like many things Tyson has done in the past, and he has a reputation for explaining sound science in language average people can understand and enjoy learning about. But he’s no historian. His worst errors come in regard to historical religion and supernatural belief. If it’s not scientific, it’s foolish. He certainly has the right to believe that, but teaching it as fact

Aliens, the Apocalype, and Truckers or Welcome to the “History” Channel

What I Got from the History Channel

In its early years, the History Channel was full of historical programming.  Most of it was about World War II, so damn near everyone called it the Hitler Channel, but it was actually history. Today, not only do I not watch the History Channel, I actively warn people away from it.  Cracked.com, which requires quite a bit of Internet sourcing for articles, does not accept History.com as a valid source. Why?  Because history is hard.  It requires research and fact-checking

Cast and Crew Defend “Noah”

In an amazing fluff piece on ABCnews.com, Noah (“It’s Like the Bible…with Explosions“) designer Mark Friedberg explained the effort put into creating the ark: In a featurette released by Paramount, Freidberg described the ark’s basic construction. “The ramp is meant to serve one function, for reptiles to be able to get up there, for mammals to be able to get in there and for birds to fly up the top,” he said. Well, that’s very clever of him.  I mean, he

“Reign” Fashion Disasters, or Dear Gods, Kill Me Now

I am not a fashion-nazi.  I am not going to complain because the hem is a bit off or you’re not using the right buttons.  I’m not going to quibble over whether that dress is from the 1550s or the 1560s.  Nor am I expecting a CW show to have costumes as sumptuous as those on The Tudors, which could afford a much larger budget. But can’t CW’s Reign at least go for “vaguely Renaissance”?  I’d quip about it’s lack of

“Reign” Disaster Train

When the CW announced it was going to do a historical drama in the form of Reign, I knew it was going to be bad. Maybe not Noah bad, but bad. First hint? While the show is clearly about a royal character, the advertisements never said which royal character…as if it really doesn’t matter. Although, in looking at the way they’ve approached it, it may indeed not actually matter. Just think about the name: Reign. It’s not even Queen. “Reign”

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