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The Orville explores a stock villain in an episode that's strong on story, but weak on jokes The Orville explores a stock villain in an episode that's strong on story, but weak on jokes

The Orville’s best humor comes from playing off of the unlimited possibilities of a sci-fi setting. The funniest part of this week’s episode happened in the cold open, when the crew discovers Bortus’ race adapted to consume almost anything for nourishment. Naturally, this leads to an enjoyable bit where everyone…

With a little help from a guest star, The Orville feels like it’s finally coming into its own With a little help from a guest star, The Orville feels like it’s finally coming into its own

For its first four episodes, The Orville was like breathing in thin atmosphere. All the potential richness of an outer space adventure series with comedic overtones (or however the show wants to bill itself) felt largely untapped; and with the exception of a few strong moments, the show felt sparse. Jokes were slight…

For its penultimate episode, Transparent finds peace on the Dead Sea  For its penultimate episode, Transparent finds peace on the Dead Sea 

With members of the Pfeffermans either literally or figuratively wandering the desert like a lost tribe in “Desert Eagle,” “They is on the Way” is the oasis that awaits as the reward after a time of strife. Given the family’s personalities (and demands of a maintaining a dramatic show) it’s hard to imagine the…

After a promising episode, The Orville slips back into mediocrity After a promising episode, The Orville slips back into mediocrity

It’s really difficult to avoid viewing every episode of The Orville against Star Trek: The Next Generation (as an aside, why not celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary premiere by checking out Zack Handlen’s excellent series reviews). They’re not identical, of course, but it’s obvious how much The Orville cherishes TNG…

In Israel, Transparent unearths forgotten family In Israel, Transparent unearths forgotten family

Before getting into the review proper, it’s fair to disregard this episode’s grade, critiques, and misgivings entirely for a single reason: Moshe Pfefferman’s titular “Cool Guy” commercial in all its full George H.W. Bush-era (Yitzhak Shamir-era?), spray-and-teased hair glory. It’s an easy joke to recreate the…

In its best episode yet, The Orville goes to trial for a baby's happiness  In its best episode yet, The Orville goes to trial for a baby's happiness 

Seth MacFarlane has been cagey about defining his show; unwilling to call it a comedy, he instead emphasizes The Orville’s dramatic foundation. Tonight’s episode, “About A Girl,” is the first episode to offer some legitimacy to his claim. The show is dedicated solely to the ramifications of the previous episode’s…

A trip to the zoo helps elevate an otherwise average Orville A trip to the zoo helps elevate an otherwise average Orville

The Orville’s second episode, “Command Performance” returns with a more inventive plot, but still struggles with the same problems that afflicted the series premiere. Much of the positive feedback for the show highlights its optimism; after a surprisingly long-lived “dark and gritty” era in entertainment, seeing…

The Orville fails to make a strong case for its existence in a tepid series premiere  The Orville fails to make a strong case for its existence in a tepid series premiere 

Being familiar with Seth MacFarlane’s body of work, the question I was asking myself going into The Orville was not if, but how long before the show took advantage of its sci-fi trappings to make an alien dick joke. Like a phallus of Damocles hanging over the pilot, MacFarlane’s long and dedicated history of easy…

Telltale’s Guardians Of The Galaxy takes an emotional trip into Rocket Raccoon’s past Telltale’s Guardians Of The Galaxy takes an emotional trip into Rocket Raccoon’s past

Welcome to our Game In Progress review of Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Nick Wanserski will be reviewing each episode of Telltale’s latest game series as they are released, diving into the story so far and the choices Star-Lord has made along the way. As always, we invite you to play and…

The Wind Waker-inspired island world of Rime is a beautiful puzzle worth solving The Wind Waker-inspired island world of Rime is a beautiful puzzle worth solving

The titular sailor from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime Of The Ancient Mariner was forced to wear a murdered albatross around his neck as an ever-present reminder of the sin we are all chained to. The unnamed hero of Rime, developer Tequila Works’ latest title, isn’t forced to do anything as literal as sport a dead sea…

The crushing disappointment of a game that looks better than it plays The crushing disappointment of a game that looks better than it plays

In Art Of The Game, Nick Wanserski explores how visual design shapes video, tabletop, and role-playing games.

Pt. 1—Shoot first, have meaningful conversations later in Telltale’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Pt. 1—Shoot first, have meaningful conversations later in Telltale’s Guardians Of The Galaxy

Welcome to our Game In Progress review of Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Nick Wanserski will be reviewing each episode of Telltale’s latest game series as they are released, diving into the story so far and the choices Star-Lord has made along the way. As always, we invite you to play and…

In Make Trouble, John Waters politely asks graduates to raise hell In Make Trouble, John Waters politely asks graduates to raise hell

When John Waters announced his book, Make Trouble, my mind reeled at the possibilities. It’s exciting to imagine what kind of book Waters could compile, from his early years as a criminal filmmaker scumbag to one of pop culture’s most esteemed filmmaker scumbags. While Waters has five other books to his name, most…

Here are the new albums to expect this April Here are the new albums to expect this April

Every Friday, dozens of new records are released into the wild. Some make big splashes, and others sink almost immediately. For most music consumers, it’s almost too much information, and save for those precious few who spend their hours glued to review sites and release calendars, it’s hard to know what’s coming out…

Open a door to madness with this Twilight Zone plot generator Open a door to madness with this Twilight Zone plot generator

Imagine if you will, that you’re at work in a nondescript office in a nondescript building. Time is a torpid crawl, and you become desperate for fresh internet content that can provide even 15 minutes of tranquilizing relief between emails with Devan the project manager on the status of the actionables from this…

Game Of Thrones tabletop game is smaller, but just as bloody Game Of Thrones tabletop game is smaller, but just as bloody

If you’ve ever looked on with envy at the seeming ease with which George R.R. Martin lays waste to countless inhabitants of his carefully-constructed fantasy world, you’ll soon have the chance to get in on the wholesale slaughter of Westeros. CMON Limited, working with Dark Sword Miniatures inc., is planning a Game Of…

NieR: Automata is so crazy, it might just work NieR: Automata is so crazy, it might just work

While an improbably slight ingenue dressed in fetish gear and wielding a massive sword isn’t exactly pioneering territory for a Japanese video game, there is still something compelling about 2B, the warrior android you play as in NieR: Automata. Why did the humans who created you dress you up like a little Victorian…

Buffy’s season 7 Big Bad used a fallen preacher for the dirty work Buffy’s season 7 Big Bad used a fallen preacher for the dirty work

History: Yes, The First Evil is the actual ultimate Big Bad of Buffy’s final season. But it was an incorporeal plot device—the kind of narrative one-upmanship that’s supposed to give weight to the enormity the gang faces in its final season, but doesn’t, because we’ve only seen glimpses of it before. Plus, it doesn’t…

The violent misogyny of Buffy’s 6th-season Big Bads is still familiar The violent misogyny of Buffy’s 6th-season Big Bads is still familiar

History: The Trio was in some ways the most terrifying of the Big Bads. They were men, not monsters, filled with a toxic brew of entitlement, misogyny, boredom, and low self-esteem. Warren, the most violent and aggressive of the three, used magic to place his girlfriend into servitude, attempting to rape her and…

Buffy’s season 5 Big Bad promised hell on Earth Buffy’s season 5 Big Bad promised hell on Earth

History: Glorificus, a.k.a That Which Cannot Be Named, went by a couple of names in her time on Earth. There was Ben, a hospital worker and a real bore; and there was Glory, a gorgeous woman with killer everything. Although neither of those earthly identities was really adequate for this goddess, she managed to have…

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