'That '70s Show' Turns 20!

That ’70s Show

A mix of mindless, predictable fun and sly exploration of weighty issues, ‘That ’70s Show’ enamored audiences for a whopping 200 episodes. If there was any doubt young adults could be immersed in an era other than their own, That ’70s Show erased it. The comedy set in the back half of the 1970s in a fictional Wisconsin town quickly became a cultural phenomenon for young audiences when it premiered in 1998. In honor of the premiere’s 20th anniversary August 23, 2018, let’s take a look back at That ’70s Show. The core cast The stars of That ’70s Show, unlike those of many TV shows that have centered on a group of teens, were for the most part actually appropriately aged. When the series kicked off, they were all in their teens or had just entered their 20s and looked the part, too. Obviously, as the series continued, they        …read more

'The Mortified Guide' Bares People's Cringiest, Most Relatable Moments

Mortified Guide

‘The Mortified Guide’ lets you laugh along with brave strangers as they reveal the most embarrassing stories of their younger years. A Netflix subscription can be similar to a gym membership: You use it for a month or two and then don’t, while continuing to pay. My Netflix account often suffers this fate. When I found out The Mortified Guide would be releasing on the platform after it played The Sundance Film Festival, I made sure my account remained active. After years of hearing about the hilarity of Mortified’s live shows, which feature everyday people sharing embarrassing stories from their childhood, I could not pass up the opportunity to see a compilation. It did not disappoint. In fact, The Mortified Guide docuseries has become my go-to before-bed entertainment. Life isn’t always easy, and laughter helps you relax, lowers stress hormones, eases anxiety and tension, and generally improves mood — all        …read more

‘Queer Eye’: The Reality Show America Needs Right Now Returns

Queer Eye

Netflix releases season 2 on June 15. We’re still not sure what a culture expert is, but could Karamo Brown and all the Fab Five please give America a makeover? The “culture” expert on Queer Eye has always been the most dubious of the show’s makeover gurus. On the Netflix reboot, which hit screens — small, tiny, and the ones that fit in your pocket — in February and returns June 15, culture expert Karamo Brown took the job to a whole new low. He spent most of the series doing what he loves best: wearing shiny satin bomber jackets and trying to stay out of the way of the more skilled professionals working around him. He did have a moment, though, in the third episode of season one. The Fab Five were making over Cory, a cop whose penchant for wearing costumes to NASCAR events should be a diagnostic category in the        …read more

‘Dark’ Season 1: ‘There’s Something Uniquely Creepy about Germans’

Dark: Season 1

Everything is connected in ‘Dark’ season 1, the hypnotic German sci-fi show filled with lost children, time travel and a complex multigenerational family history. In recent years, European shows gained international fans with their quality productions, which often led to an American remake. See the Danish show Forbrydelsen (The Killing) or the French show Les Revenants (The Returned). The German sci-fi show Dark is the latest Netflix Original series that the streaming service has developed outside the United States. Sci-fi, mystery, time-travel, whodunit — the German drama has it all. Why should you start binging Dark season 1? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy0b9e40tK8 German television never took off compared to Scandinavian noir, French thrillers, or British costume dramas. Only in 2015 was the first German-language drama broadcast on an American network, with the spy drama Deutschland 83 on SundanceTV. Now Germans are stepping up their game. In 2017 Amazon launched the cybercrime drama You        …read more

5 Family-Friendly Shows Adults Can Actually Enjoy

family-friendly shows

‘Monitoring’ what the kids watch? Here are 5 family-friendly shows you’ll like as much as (or more than) they do. Recently, after interpreting my viewing habits, Netflix “helpfully” suggested that I could make a Kid account. I don’t have kids. And stop judging me, Netflix! I enjoy watching animated television, and as more of my friends are having kids, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about family-friendly shows aimed at children. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have lots of entertainment geared toward kids. And with Disney working toward its own streaming service, there will be more and more. In that vast amount of content, not much can truly entertain the family as a whole. But here are five noteworthy family-friendly shows that are actually fun for kids and adults alike. 1. Trollhunters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2oNgZlbSKI For most people, just seeing the name Guillermo del Toro means you’re in for an enjoyable        …read more

‘The Punisher’: Is It the Wrong Time for a Hero Who Kills?

The Punisher series

Marvel’s ‘The Punisher’ series reboots a vigilante story that began in an eerily similar moment in history four decades ago. When Netflix released The Punisher series, people said it was a bad time to do so, with all the shootings that plague us as a nation. The Punisher’s New York Comic-Con panel was canceled after the shooting in Las Vegas last October. As of this writing, there has been an average of one school shooting per week this year. However, with the cyclical nature of history, a little reflection shows that now is the perfect time to bring back Marvel’s The Punisher series. It’s not an encouragement of violence — it’s a reaction to it. When The Punisher was created in 1974, we were not only a country in turmoil — we were also feeling an identity crisis, eyeing the differences between who we were and who we’d thought we were.        …read more

Get 'Lost in Space' with Netflix's Reboot of the 50-Year-Old Classic

Lost in Space

The series about a family in space was popular for decades, but how will a modern audience respond to the ‘Lost in Space’ reboot? On April 13 Netflix will release its Lost in Space reboot. First airing on CBS in 1965, the series (unlike its contemporary Star Trek) began as a hit whose popularity grew through syndication. And while not as beloved today, it remained hugely successful over multiple decades. But with the tremendous failure of the Lost in Space motion picture in 1998, and John Woo’s 2003 reimagination not going to series, it seemed to be merely a product of its time. Netflix has a pretty good track record in reboots and has recently earned sci-fi cred — but will audiences look at this reboot more favorably than they did previous attempts? It’s fair to say the political climate now is not unlike that of the mid-to-late ’60s. The original plot        …read more

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.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGzVYyV_Jsg 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