Over the past few weeks, I’ve been challenging myself to write more (in case that wasn’t clear from the daily Tumblr posts and whatnot). Pretty much since the election, my brain has felt like Swiss cheese, and as writing funny (ymmv) pieces and reviews of entertainment products seemed to pale in comparison to the troubles of the world, I could feel myself starting to get dumber.
I’m not even joking: I used to write multiple pieces a day, and getting out of that habit had dulled my brain to the point where it became hard to use words and form sentences.
So I decided to get back to it. I’ve been challenging myself to write something more than a tweet every day – nothing wrong with tweets, and there’s an art there, but writing a bunch of tweets is not going to sharpen me up again – whether that’s a piece for work, or something not for work, or, yes, one of these Tumblr posts that feed through to my website.
It’s been helping. A lot. Even though I’ve been losing a lot of sleep for various other reasons, and I’m still completely panicked about the outside world, I find that daily writing is helping me crystallize ideas again, as well as think around problems instead of bluntly banging my head on my desk in frustration.
I’ve also found that writing about entertainment isn’t making me ignore the world, as I feared it would – after all, we only have a limited amount of time in the day. Instead, by not focusing on the non-stop horror roll that is our newsfeeds I’ve been able to pick and choose how and what to react to, and how best to attack world problems, as well as personal problems.
Point is: writing, good. Not writing, bad. Me am much happier use words now.
The Good Place Reboots in Season 2 – And Remains Forkin’ Great
…and one of those things I’ve been writing is reviews. Here’s my philosophy on reviews. Ready? I’ve been a professional film critic where I was assigned multiple movies and deadlines for pieces. The same for comics, and when recapping TV always aimed to put some critical thinking in there. But what I’ve found is that the best reviews are the ones that focus in on something about the show, or movie, or comic in a specific way. You don’t have to ignore other aspects of the show, but everything – reviews included – needs a thesis statement.
I’ve been watching a lot of shows as we gear up to Fall, and my general MO is to watch the show, and check in with my brain and see if I have something to say about it. Is there a pitch I can pitch myself that seems to make sense? In the case of The Good Place, yeah! I really like the show a lot, but it radically shifts in Season 2 – so how does that impact the characters, and the comedy?
On the other hand, I’ve watched the first three episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s next season, and they are, of course, delightful and awesome, but I don’t know what to say about them yet. Hence, no review.
Anyway, nothing wrong with deadlines and assignments and whatnot, but in the long run I’d argue that trying to hone in critically and only talk about what is worth talking about – do you actually have something to say about this thing? – is the way to go. If you can.
The Gifted’s Greatest Superpower Is Its Family
Here’s an example of a review where I think I missed the mark a little bit, given my above guidelines. Ostensibly it’s about how the show is closer to the comics than the movies; but given the family dynamic is the strongest part of the show, that takes over the review. I could have done better! I’m sorry!
Is The Punisher Planning A Surprise Release?
This was one of those things where I started thinking about The Punisher’s secret release date, and then started doing some research, which led to other research, and then I was in way too deep. Anyway, I’m pretty confident in my prediction for the release date – and even if you don’t specifically care about this show, there’s some info in there about how Netflix and Marvel changed their scheduling plans over time that might be interesting?
The Stack: Batman, Wonder Woman/Conan, Head Lopper and Angelic
This has been a lot of fun to do. Not to contradict what I said above, but I really do miss regularly reviewing comics, so my cohorts at Comic Book Club and I have been releasing a shorter, non-live podcast with a few reviews on the day the comics come out. Revolutionary, I know! Give it a listen!
Comic Book Club: Noelle Webster
Speaking of Comic Book Club, here’s this week’s show with Noelle, who has been a good friend of ours for a really long time. If you want to come down to the live show, we’re at The PIT Loft every Tuesday at 8pm, totally free! Come say hi!