The Handmaid’s Tale and Its Film Noir Influences

Handmaid's Tale S3Ep11 Femme Fatale June

As The Handmaid’s Tale has shifted away from its season 1 dependence on the original book’s plot line, it’s frequently drawn from the dark, mature themes of the 1940s and 50s films of the Film Noir genre. Nick, June, Fred and Serena in particular tend to be involved in Film Noir plotlines, with an emphasis on mystery, crime, betrayal, murder, loyalty, regret, femmes fatales and sinful excess.

In an old school Film Noir, Nick would be the main character- his role as an Eye is close to the typical role of an investigator. He has connections in the community, a morally ambiguous, mysterious past and is conflicted in the present, making him the perfect Film Noir anti-hero. June would normally serve as the love interest or femme fatale who needs Nick’s help and either saves him or leads him astray- or possibly both.

The other characters frequently treat her as if she is a femme fatale, a seductive woman who leads her admirers into actions they wouldn’t otherwise take.

Continue reading “The Handmaid’s Tale and Its Film Noir Influences”

Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Analysis Part 2- How Romulan Values Took Over the Federation

mv5byjawy2fkotetzddmos00ognjltg3ntktmduxzmnjmtg0yzqzxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymdk0odi3oa4040._v1_

And Other Dangling Plot Threads the Show May or May Not Pick Up Again in S2

More discussion of odds and ends leftover from my recaps of S1 of Star Trek: Picard. In this installment, I’m working from the TV series, the prequel novel, The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack, the 3 part Picard S1 prequel Countdown graphic novel by Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson and the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Another ongoing theme in Season 1 is the idea of freedom vs ownership and control, whether it’s the freedom of sentient beings, the freedom of ideas or the theft of body parts and someone else’s work. Rather than assimilating the Romulans into Federation life, as Picard planned for them, the Romulans have insidiously assimilated the Federation into their way of thinking. They value secrecy and hierarchy above all else and don’t value life or justice for their own sake.

This season introduced some deep concepts that we on Earth have only begun to explore as a world here in the 21st century, such as how is sentience determined?  Which species have the right to self-determination and which can be treated as objects or livestock, harvested for their parts or used as slaves by anyone who sees fit? If humanoids can’t even recognize the sentience and basic rights of other humanoids, such as synths and xBs, how will we recognize sentience in other forms of life when we encounter them, including here on Earth?

Continue reading “Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Analysis Part 2- How Romulan Values Took Over the Federation”

Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Analysis Part 1- Outsiders, Twins and Broken Pieces

SStar Trek Picard S1E10 Soji & Picard

I have several pages of leftover notes from Star Trek: Picard S1 that didn’t make it into my recaps last spring. To celebrate the holidays and production starting soon on S2, I’m going to attempt to wrangle some of them into a few analysis posts on symbolism, mythology and whatnot.

So happy end of 2020, everyone! May you all have received your COVID vaccinations by this time next year! Preferably many months sooner!

Jean Luc begins the season amongst his vineyard’s vines, flowers and fireplaces, surrounded by organic life and symbols that his life is real and truthful. Well, technically he starts with a dream about Data which includes many hints at the season to come, from Blue Skies and the starry nebula, to the five Queens (for five synth daughters) in Data’s poker hand and the Mars attack while Picard laments that he hasn’t finished his tea and doesn’t want the game to end yet.

A Season of Outsiders

The common thread running through Picard, his friends and acquaintances this season is that they’ve been failed by “the system” and now live outside of it. Even the emissaries of Starfleet turn out to be outsiders in some way.

Continue reading “Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Analysis Part 1- Outsiders, Twins and Broken Pieces”

Time Travel TV Comparison: Dark vs 12 Monkeys vs Travelers

A reader requested that we write up a compare and contrast review between 12 Monkeys and Dark. Now that all of the Dark recaps are done, we thought we’d do that, and add in Travelers, the other fan favorite time travel show around here.

All 3 shows premiered and completed their runs between 2015 and 2020. They are all anchored in the present day, but also take place in the future and the past. They all deal with dystopian futures which the main characters want to prevent using time travel and the knowledge of events they’ve gained through time travel and advanced technology. All 3 also have ensemble casts that include time travelers, their handlers and mad scientists, though the groups tend to be fluid- almost everyone will time travel or have a good idea eventually.

Continue reading “Time Travel TV Comparison: Dark vs 12 Monkeys vs Travelers”

Dark: What Did It All Mean? Thoughts on Season 3 and the Ending

Dark S3Ep8 Jonas & Martha Disintegrate from Bridge

Because of the odd structure of season 3 of Dark, there were several ideas that I wanted to write about that didn’t fit into any of the recaps. I’m going to discuss some of the ongoing metaphors and and plot points here that I couldn’t easily explain in my regular posts without spoiling future episodes or making the final recap overlong.

Recaps for all episodes and more analysis can be found at the Dark tag, HERE.

Reader beware- spoilers for all 3 seasons and 26 episodes of Dark ahead!

Continue reading “Dark: What Did It All Mean? Thoughts on Season 3 and the Ending”

Agents of SHIELD Season 7 Episode 8: Why Use Avatar The Last Airbender as the Theme for an 80s Episode?

NATALIA CORDOVA-BUCKLEY, MING-NA WEN

Episode 8 Recap

Throughout S7, Agents of SHIELD has used film and TV themes and tropes from the eras it’s visited in each episode to help tell the story. In S7Ep8, After, Before, which took place in 1983, the show broke from this tradition and explicitly referenced two 21st century shows- Avatar the Last Airbender (2005) and its sequel series The Legend of Korra (2012), both from Nickelodeon.

I found this confusing, since both series were influenced by the Japanese animation style of anime and by Eastern cultures, but they are made by two white, American men, so they are actually neither anime nor Asian. It didn’t make sense to include them in this episode as 80s or Eastern shows. When I write it out like that in a single sentence and you’ve already seen the episode, I imagine the connection becomes obvious, but it took awhile for me to remember those facts about the Avatar series and make the connection.

Continue reading “Agents of SHIELD Season 7 Episode 8: Why Use Avatar The Last Airbender as the Theme for an 80s Episode?”

Dark Season 3 Full Length Trailer and Analysis: Gordian Knots and Second Natures

dark-759

Netflix has released another trailer for season 3 of Dark. This one is fast paced and full of intriguing images. I’ve learned one very important thing from it.

I refuse to live in a world without Jonas. Or Winden. Why only 3 seasons, Netflix, why?

Trailer and analysis after the cut.

Continue reading “Dark Season 3 Full Length Trailer and Analysis: Gordian Knots and Second Natures”

Dark Season 3 Release Date and 1st Trailer

dark-season-3-netflix-the-buzz-paper-696x514-1

I walk away from my computer for a couple of days to reread the Hunger Games trilogy before reading the new installment, and look what I miss- a trailer finally announcing the release date for Dark season 3.

Trailer and more after the jump.

Continue reading “Dark Season 3 Release Date and 1st Trailer”

Moonlight Season 1/ Full Series Review

Moonlight 2007 Poster

Before Alex O’Loughlin moved to Hawaii and became a cop, he was a vampire private investigator in LA. Moonlight was a 2007-08 vampire noir, 16 episode CBS series starring O’Loughlin, Jason Dohring (iZombie, Veronica Mars), Sophia Myles (A Discovery of Witches) and Shannon Sossamon (Wayward Pines, Sleepy Hollow). It was created by Ron Koslow and Trevor Munson. The entire season can currently be streamed for free on the CWSeed site.

Moonlight takes place in present day (2007) LA, where vampire Mick St John (Alex O’Loughlin) works as a private investigator who solves murders. He also keeps an eye on a young woman he rescued as a young child from a kidnapping more than 20 years ago, Beth Turner (Sophia Myles). Beth is now an intrepid investigative reporter for up and coming online journalism outfit Buzzwire. Though Beth remembers her kidnapping, she initially doesn’t know who Mick is or that he’s watching her.

Continue reading “Moonlight Season 1/ Full Series Review”