From Harry Potter to Wonder Woman: Which Adaptations Succeed and Why?

adaptation movie, books that are made into movies

A look at some of the best and worst TV and movie adaptations and what determines a successful transition from book to screen. For voracious readers, it’s often a double-edged sword when our favorite comic books, graphic novels, and novels are adapted to TV shows and movies. Avid fans will always be upset by revisions, and they’ll certainly love the books more. Often changes seem to be made for change’s sake, and adaptations lose the spirit and character that made us love the books in the first place. But even when screenwriters stick closely to the source material, the medium of the screen necessitates changes. And if done right, TV and movie adaptations can leave us with a different yet still noteworthy bit of entertainment. My mother and I both thought the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie (2003) was horrible. When I told her what happened in the comic book, she replied,        …read more

‘The Dark Crystal’ Has Earned Its Own Prequel Netflix Series

Jim Henson’s darkest but favorite work, ‘The Dark Crystal,’ is rich in both visual storytelling and philosophical messaging. The Dark Crystal came to theaters at an odd time for moviegoers. The world knew Jim Henson from the playful puppetry that made The Muppet Show such a hit. He was regarded as a genius and, especially, a kids’ comedy success story. Thing is, The Dark Crystal was Henson’s most shadowy work. He told the story of good versus evil with some harrowing scenes showing torture, soul-sucking and stabbings that wouldn’t be regarded as Henson-esque. Despite The Dark Crystal scaring away parents who thought the film was too horrific for their kids, the film soon rocketed to cult classic fame. Let’s get the nitty-gritty out of the way: The Dark Crystal tells the story of the wondrous land of Thra, taking place 1,000 years after a magical crystal cracked and split        …read more

2017: The Year in Pop Culture — A Look Back

pop culture

13 pop culture moments that brought us to our feet last year. For many of us — and for the country — 2017 was a tumultuous year, one often marked by a corrosive divisiveness. In this current climate, common ground is something that is more often mentioned than practiced or achieved, but thankfully pop culture serves as the steady bridge beneath our wheels — call it neutral territory. But while a barrage of headlines flooded our news feeds describing catastrophes, disparities, calamities and other problems, the pulse of pop culture never ceased. Indeed, at times it brought us together to a collective place of wonder, galaxies far, far away, homecomings, discovery and hope. In many ways, pop culture served as the well-needed pause button that gave us all time to reflect on our shared experiences. So, in celebration of this, let’s take a look back at the best that pop        …read more

Don Hertzfeldt Premieres ‘World of Tomorrow Episode Two’

aIndie animator Don Hertzfeldt goes on the road to show his truly surreal, magical sci-fi sequel: ‘World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts.’ You’ve probably seen Don Hertzfeldt’s work. In the internet era of quotable YouTube shorts, some of his pieces have permeated pop culture in very subversive ways. If you’re from the 2000s era of Newgrounds-type comedy animation shorts, you might’ve heard the totally out-of-context phrase “my anus is bleeding” in your homeroom classroom. That quote can be traced to surreal animator Don Hertzfeldt. Bits and pieces of his work cropped up in the burgeoning YouTube era after the turn of the millennium, alongside other notorious shorts like ASDF Movies and End of Ze World. And like those weird, quotable cartoons, Hertzfeldt’s Rejected wormed its way into the minds and hearts of many without much recognition of the artist behind it. The man isn’t a YouTube        …read more

‘She’s Gotta Have It’: The Love and Labor of Art

Nola Darling

How Nola Darling is an artist of the moment, reclaiming her voice through art in the new Netflix series ‘She’s Gotta Have It.’ In Spike Lee’s debut film, She’s Gotta Have It (1986), Nola is an artist. Her Brooklyn apartment is decorated with her work — in particular, an elaborate wall collage blending drawings and newspaper cuttings that evolves as the film moves forward in time. Nola Darling shares a birthday with Malcolm X. May 19, the cusp of Taurus and Gemini. She is a figure of transformation, a representation rather than an individual, she is the artist of the moment. In 2017, through a Netflix series written and directed by Lee, Nola Darling was reborn into a new era as an artist searching for her own voice. In the 1986 film Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) lives in pre-gentrified Brooklyn. She juggles three men, Mars Blackmon (Spike Lee), Jamie Overstreet        …read more

‘Riverdale’ Is Cheesy, But It’s in on the Joke

Archie comics, Riverdale TV show

With loose ties to ‘Archie’ comics, ‘Riverdale’ is a self-aware and engaging drama for teens and adults alike. SPOILERS AHEAD! In just the first season of the CW’s Riverdale, we see a father murder his own child, a teacher with a false identity have a passionate affair with a high school student, a man thrown in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and a vengeful daughter burn her family’s beloved estate to the ground. In the hands of producers who didn’t understand the ridiculous nature of such a melodramatic and implausible tale, the show would’ve been a disaster. After all, the source material — the long-running Archie comics — bears little resemblance to Riverdale in either tone or narrative. But with a straight face, the show gives us subtle hints that it’s in on the joke, and it’s the reason I’ve continued to tune in week after week. “From a        …read more

Haven’t Tried ‘Shameless’ Yet? Get Your Shit Together and Binge It Now


Here’s why you should binge all the seasons of ‘Shameless’ available now. The Gallaghers are back! The eighth and latest season premiered on Showtime in November, and those without a Showtime subscription (or those who just crave a rewatch) can binge Shameless seasons one through seven on Netflix. Out of consideration for those who are new to the show, we won’t discuss any major spoilers here. Instead, let’s talk about what Shameless is all about and why you need to hop onto this roller coaster ride of a show. What is ‘Shameless’ all about? Make sure to clear your schedule before you sit down to watch the first episode of Shameless, because you’re sure to be hooked immediately. We get a pretty vivid picture of the dysfunctional Gallagher clan in the opening scene, in which the patriarch Frank introduces everyone in a voiceover: there’s Fiona, the oldest child and the        …read more

‘Master of None’ and the Theater of Food

Master of None

Food is a powerful social tool in ‘Master of None.’ Master of None season two is full of pasta, wine and cupcakes. In this Emmy-winning Netflix series, the main character, Dev (portrayed by show co-creator Aziz Ansari), continues to indulge his foodie passions while living in Italy and returns to the U.S. to work as a host for a food network. In this charming season, food does more than give the characters something to do and a place to have a chat. For example, food is at the center of a family conflict. Dev’s family is Muslim, and as Dev’s mom, Nisha (Fatima Ansari) puts it to a waiter, “We don’t eat pork.” Dietary restrictions, which are common among many religious groups, can be wrapped up in tradition, ethics and faith. A person can display their devotion by the degree to which they publicly adhere to a dietary restriction. Dietary        …read more

‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 Lives Up to the Hype

Stranger Things season 2

Massive, massive spoilers ahead. First spoiler: ‘Stranger Things’ season 2 is amazing. Ever since last year’s stunning premiere of the Netflix Original hit, one question was on everyone’s mind: will Stranger Things season 2 live up to season 1? How in the world could they top that? For those somehow not in the know, Stranger Things was something of a dark horse in the world of television. Created by relative unknowns, the Duffer Brothers, Stranger Things is a sci-fi action-adventure pseudo-horror steeped in ’80s nerd nostalgia that took the nation by storm. Following a Goonies-like pattern, the series features a group of small-town kids as they try to solve a cross-dimensional mystery involving government secrets, literal aliens and a now-iconic experiment-turned-badass psionic bald girl who apparently loves waffles. With its cinematic eye and its nail-biting storytelling, the show was a tremendous success. But soon after Stranger Things season 2 was        …read more

8 Reasons to Schedule a Binge ahead of ‘Grace and Frankie’ Season 4

Grace and Frankie season

‘Grace and Frankie’ season 4 is sure to wrap up several exciting cliffhangers. If you haven’t been watching the Netflix hit sitcom Grace and Frankie, you’ve been missing out. Luckily right now is the perfect time to get caught up. The show recently just got renewed for a fourth season, which will be on Netflix in 2018 — giving you plenty of time to binge-watch the first three seasons currently available on the streaming service. The show is about two rival women in their 70s who are forced together when their husbands (played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) both come out of the closet and leave them for one another. Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) couldn’t be more different: the former is a tightly wound businesswoman while the latter is a pot-smoking hippie. As they come to terms with their post-divorce lives, they end up living together        …read more