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Villain of the Month: Cersei Lannister

Cersei Lannister by Caspian WhistlerAll right, let’s get the ritual caveat out of the way: the Cersei Lannister we’re looking at today is the version from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, as opposed to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Admittedly, this distinction gets a little messy now that the show has overtaken the books. I’m going to shamelessly take advantage of that by using the show as a sort of bonus reel of material, but in cases where the two sources diverge, the books will always trump. Clear? Good. On with the fun.

And Cersei is loads of fun – if you consider murder, treason, incest, and child-maiming fun. Yes indeed, Cersei’s list of crimes is long, and she shows no sign of slowing down. But for all the ghastliness of her deeds, she’s one of the subtlest, most textured, and in many ways the most believable villains I’ve come across. Not because of what she does, but why she does it.

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Who wanted to #SaveAgentCarter and #SaveNashville?


Last month, several popular TV shows got the axe - including Nashville, Agent Carter and Castle. Fans were outraged, and when outrage and fans come together, you get hashtags.

But which of these cancellations triggered the most outrage? And where? And with whom?

I was curious, I used social media monitoring tool Audiense to answer these burning questions. 

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Minal and Kuzhali Watch TV!: Sense8

'Limbic Resonance': the pilot episode of Sense8

We are excited to watch this because...

Minal: I like psychic powers and hot, powerful women of color. I really like watching or reading stuff without too much information, so all I know is that it's some sort of speculative fiction show that is probably science fiction but possibly also fantasy (magic?) and that it has some diversity to it, i.e. characters all over the world. As an American writer who has been fairly preoccupied with questions of diversity, multiculturalism, and globalization of culture for 20+ years, and also as a lover of SFF, I'm curious to see how they do it. Will the story be engaging? Will the characters ring true or will they be multiculti shells that are like demographic tickboxes (like ‘Quantico’ - here's the hot brown babe, here’s the gay dude, here’s the token straight white guy for all the “normal” viewers out there).

Kuzhali: I’m actually so excited for this I can’t even tell you. Even though I’ve been threatened by a certain acquaintance with “the Ganesha clip”, even though I’ve read waaaay too much about how the show is so great, how it is not so great, even though I don’t really know what 'sensate', 'limbic' or 'resonance' really mean, I don’t care, EXCITED AS FUCK TO SEE THIS OMG

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Playmakers (2003)


Cast: Omar Gooding, Russell Hornsby, Jason Matthew Smith

Original Broadcaster: ESPN

Awards: American Film Institute (2003), GLAAD

For fans of: Friday Night Lights, Sports Night, Oz

For a single brilliant season, ESPN channeled their intimate knowledge of the sports world into a dramatic series about football. Playmakers followed the fictional Cougars - part of an unnamed football league that was in-no-way-the-NFL-wink-wink - through a particularly tumultuous season.

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Weirdness Rodeo: Reboots, Adaptations and Neko Atsume

Gilmore Girls

"Why are there so many cult TV reboots?!", via the Washington Post:

But in TV, a land where every meager success is formulized, the reboots are seen as cheap bets, with often low-risk premises, washed-up stars and built-in cores of superfans.

For networks struggling to hold onto cord-cutters, and streaming upstarts pushing to prove themselves, the ‘90s reboots offer another prize: The viewers who grew up on these shows are now, a few decades later, making the decisions on cable budgets of their own.

The article notes that there are 400 original scripted series set to air this year. Any reboot - even a cult one - starts with an audience of greater than zero. Which is already a slim lead in the race for survival. (Although for many, that still isn't enough.)

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Weirdness Rodeo: Harlequin, Netflix and Reboots


Is that your brand extending, or are you just happy to see me?

Harlequin - who have always been one of the more innovative publishers (probably because they have one of the strongest brands) - are extending into... wine. I mean, why not? Even as a stunt, this is good PR.

The publisher is partnering with Vintage Wine Estates to create Vintages by Harlequin, three wines now available for $14.95 a pop on Amazon. There’s a chardonnay (“Substitute for Love”), a cabernet sauvignon (“Pardon My Body”), and red wine blend (“Wild at Heart”). “Harlequin has a deep history of creating experiences for women, and we are thrilled to bring this new opportunity to market,” Harlequin CEO and publisher Craig Swinwood said in a statement. 

Ok, almost definitely a PR stunt. But I like that Harlequin sees their role - as a publisher - as 'creating experiences for women'. That's bold language, and one that opens them up, and credibly, to making more than books.

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Friday Five: 5 Noteworthy Pocket Books Star Trek Novels


There have been a lot of Star Trek novels over the years, from a number of publishers, dealing with every iteration of the franchise (yes, even the animated series) as well as many that fit no existing bracket.

Among the various pieces of thinly-disguised fanfic, the (surprisingly few) direct sequels to TV episodes, the attempts to do hard sci-fi that don’t quite work, and the inevitable attempts at inter-genre crossovers, there are some that I would call ‘noteworthy’ for one reason or another. Note that this is not always synonymous with ‘good’. Picking five from all of the possible options (even had I read them all) would probably be impossible, so I’m going to restrict myself to the Original Series novel range published by Pocket Books from 1979 to around 1990, at which point I stopped reading them as religiously as I had previously. 

Listed in no particular order:

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The Music of Nashville: TV's Only Country Fantasy Epic


It’s not secret that I love Nashville. Hell, it seems to me like the half the SF/F community does too: it’s a country epic fantasy.

What makes Nashville such a great show isn’t the fast paced storylines or the addictive, soap opera style cliffhangers, intense relationships or the glamorous cast with gorgeous clothes and fantastic hair, or even the music itself. What makes it great is that it is essentially about two complex, intriguing, ambitious women, their careers and their relationship with their art. 

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