As promised, here is part two of our new biweekly series detailing what pop culture the staff writers of PPC consumed during the past two weeks. Don't forget to comment and let us know what you've been watching!
Joey's Pick: The Expanse
The best news I got this past week was the announcement that the best sci-fi show in the known universe would soon be releasing its fourth season. The Expanse, whose brief cancellation last year was overshadowed by that of Brooklyn 99, was rescued by corporate god-king Jeff Bezos. SyFy’s loss is Amazon’s gain, and The Expanse season 4 lands on December 13. Get it, lands? Like a spaceship lands? I hate when publications do that. I’ll just say “airs,” it airs in December. Ah shit, there’s no air in space, that sucks too. Anyway, when the show re-materializes (last one, I swear) this winter, those of you who’ve been bamboozled into not knowing about this amazing show will have a new reason to remedy that. The Expanse is a dramatic and thrilling series set 200 years in the future, in a solar system where Earth is a unified power, Mars is now an independent nation, and humanity mines the asteroid belt for resources. Based on a series of novels by jointly pen-named Hugo Award nominee James S.A. Corey, the show follows a group of ragtag spacefarers as they uncover a sinister conspiracy to spark a war between Earth and Mars, all the while investigating the origins of a mysterious and terrifyingly powerful biomass. Spearheaded by an understated yet capable cast, the show has received praise for its realistic portrayals of space conditions. Physics is front and center in many of the show’s most exciting set pieces, and in a sense, gravity is as much of a character as the people are. Paired with sensational writing, The Expanse is among today’s best science fiction. It’s near impossible to isolate acting, as the show is just about perfectly cast, but Shohreh Aghdashloo delivers a particularly exceptional standout performance. Developing an attachment to the characters is uncommon for me, but I found myself in emotional lockstep with the cast from the first episode. With some familiar recipes and some not so familiar, The Expanse delivers twists both literal and literary, and is the ideal series for the sci-fi fanatic like this guy.
Kevin's Pick: Sound and Fury
Essentially a 41 minute long music video, Sound and Fury features Grammy winner Sturgill Simpson's 4th album in story form as an intense and spectacular blending of American rock music and Japanese animation. Opening with a song titled 'Ronin,' Sound and Fury takes you on a trippy ride into a violent and desolate future where mayhem rules and samurais still kick serious ass. Boasting the director from Batman Ninja and character designer from Afro Samurai, Sound and Fury delivers on the hype with fantastic artistic design and vision, stunning visuals, and beautiful fight scenes. The story follows a lone samurai on a warpath to get revenge against a powerful enemy, a classic storyline in my opinion. Each song on the album signifies a change in the film, not only in terms of plot, but also in animation style. The differences in these styles captivate and maintain your attention, as there is no dialogue to follow. With good tunes, high quality animation, and solid overall production value, Sound and Fury is at the very least interesting enough to warrant giving up 41 minutes of your time. It's also epic background noise for those multitaskers out there.
Lizbette's Pick: Crazyhead
With its unapologetic writing and bold female characters, Crazyhead is like a supernatural, British Broad City; it's protagonists engage in bro-esque bits that left even my fiancé cringing. Amy and Raquel are gritty AF and they’re not afraid to show it. The humor ranges from dry to shockingly disgusting and sets the female protagonists up as clever, bold, and intimidating ladies that even demons can’t keep down. The supernatural aspect is truly what keeps the series kicking (without it, it would honestly be just another quirky comedy about offbeat adolescent women trying to find their way). Amy and Raquel resemble Sam and Dean from Supernatural with their intrinsic demon hunting abilities and chaotic charm. The similarities between Supernatural and Crazyhead are honestly quite abundant and include not just the inseparable and connected duo, but also demons living among humans trying to open the gates of hell, romantic fraternization between the supernatural and human worlds, and instances of comedic relief with almost identical timing. My favorite thing about the lovely ladies of Crazyhead, however, is how much of a hot mess they are. Amy and Raquel are very much still in the process of becoming and thus have no shortage of blunders and mishaps that set their missions back, many of which are a reflection of their lived experiences and trauma. They are very much vulnerable to the world and it’s dark forces and it’s their unique bond that is ultimately the source of their salvation. In addition to being painfully relatable, they are also extremely badass engaging in some pretty awesome physical struggles; I’m especially fond of the police baton Raquel uses when kicking ass. Crazyhead manages to be both amusing and empowering by presenting Amy and Raquel as amusing deviations from the stereotypical demon hunter. It’s a great show for the horror fan that is looking for something dark but lighthearted, gruesome but amusing; cheesy/campy 80s horror fans, I'm talking to you!
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