I recently finished watching the science fiction show Black Mirror. Created by Charlie Brooker, it’s a dark look at what our future could be, focusing mostly on our obsession with technology. Each episode is a self-contained story — so you can watch them in any order without missing a thing — depicting a different version of our current world or near-future.
I just finished watching the most amazing show, Legion, by creator Noah Hawley. It’s technically a show about mutants in the X-Men universe, but I didn’t realize that going into it. I didn’t know quite what to expect, except a superhero show. But it wasn’t like other superhero shows. That first episode features such explosive action — all based on mental abilities rather than super-strength or some more traditional power — I knew this would be something really different to watch.
And it was. Instead of constant action, the show focuses on the disturbed mental state of protagonist David Haller, and midway through the season I was hooked. This is a hallucinogenic drug of a show that explores mutant abilities and mental illness, like two sides of a coin. It’s also a character study of a man with inner demons that are more real than any you or I could ever have.
Here are a few reasons I fell in love with this show. Some minor (not end-of-show!) spoilers to follow, but I hope reading this is incentive to watch it if you haven’t yet. :)
This past month I finally read a Neil Gaiman novel. I’ve been wanting to read his work forever, as he’s a sort of mythic figure in nerd culture for his comic books, his work on Doctor Who, and his fantastical stories and books. I know a lot of people who are huge fans, so hearing that his novel American Gods was being made into a Starz TV series, I settled in to explore what might be the most famous work from Gaiman.
American Gods poses a fascinating idea: What if pagan gods were trying to survive in modern-day America? Immigrants would bring their beliefs from their original countries to the United States, and the gods would survive through people’s belief — however long that lasts.
So what if the goddess Bilquis (the Queen of Sheba) — a divine being who eats men alive as they worship her during lovemaking — lived in the United States today? And how would the ancient Egyptian gods fare, if they made their livings as modern undertakers? The idea that their enemies would be today’s media and technology — the things we American are currently obsessed with — manifests into exactly those kinds of new gods, like Media and the Technical Boy. So a war is brewing between the old gods and the new.
This past month I have fallen in love with a little game called Cosmic Star Heroine. It’s a Kickstarter by Zeboyd Games, featuring 16-bit graphics and a conspiracy story set on another planet. Because of the retro art style and turn-based combat, I would recommend it specifically to gamers who enjoy those things. It’s not for everybody. But it feels made for me, and since it’s not a AAA title getting tons of attention, I want to make sure to share it with you all. Here are a few reasons I’m loving it so much.