Welcome again to We Have Always Lived in the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this week’s posting schedule, but first, a little Seafood for Thought.
A lot is happening right now. NBA Playoffs, NHL Playoffs, MLB has gotten into the groove, the summer movie season is about to start, Beyonce released a new visual album in Lemonade that redefined throwing shade at someone, network television is coming to an end for the season, another music icon tragically passed (RIP Prince), and something else… what could it be? Oh, that’s right: a little show called Game of Thrones is back, and ready to take its place on top of the television mountain again. There really is nothing like Game of Thrones. In an era of television defined by a lack of mass audience experiences, HBO’s fantasy epic is the exception. It is the show when its airing, because nothing else on television can do the kind of things Game of Thrones is doing, and no show gets the overwhelming attention, either. Nobody who’s watching wants to be out of the popular conversation for this show week to week. In fact, it’s one of the few programs that still benefits from individual episode reviews–a form that is quickly becoming obsolete in the face of the overwhelming glut of shows, where people are more interested in broad recommendations for or against entire shows than they are in analyzing the minutiae of any one show week to week. As the exciting exception to all the medium’s new developments, Game of Thrones is truly event television, and each episode brings another thrilling and heartbreaking storyline that keeps everyone enthralled. This certainly doesn’t make GoT a perfect show, but sometimes even when it’s flawed, those quirks can make the show even more endearing. (But here’s hoping we get through this season without another controversial rape scene.) For good or for ill, Game of Thrones serves as a true bridge between the second and third golden age of television, and stands ready to enthrall the public for the next 10 weeks.
As members of the public, your humble Kraken inhabitants (Krakenhabitants?) are equally prepared to be enthralled. In the past we’ve posted conversational essays about the show, but this year our Life in the Kraken podcast offers a new opportunity to engage with the show in an even more direct, immediately, and exciting fashion. To that end, sometime this week we’ll record and release a special Game of Thrones-only episode of the podcast discussing the premiere of Season 6. Our plan is to do at least three more of these special podcasts throughout the season, and possibly more as our schedules permit. We’re super excited about this new project, and we hope you all enjoy it! (And don’t worry, regular bi-weekly episodes of Life in the Kraken will not be interrupted.)
So buckle up and get ready to soar. Game of Thrones is back, and it’s ready to shock and awe us once again. DAH-duhn, duh-duh DAH-duhn, duh-duh DAH-dunh, duh-duh DAH-dunh, duh-duh…
From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this week.
Monday: Everyone is still recovering from the Game of Thrones rager so no new content while we all recover from drinking way too many Whites Walkers, which is a combination of ice, vodka, despair, and the color blue. Don’t ask how we got a hold of the actually color. It is a sad sad story.
- Atomika returns for her usual vs-ing! This week, the thing that she’s vs is Kipling’s The Jungle Book, and more specifically the imperialism that’s shadowed the story through every single adaptation. Yes, even the one with the singing cartoon bear.
- David finishes his thoughts on this year’s pilot season with part 2 of his Network Pilot-a-palooza (part 1 here). Find out which shows you may or may not eventually not be watching on The CW, Fox, and NBC.
Thursday: In anticipation of our much ballyhooed new series of special Game of Thrones podcast episodes, here’s a short introductory episode to whet your whistle. Join David and Kyu as they discuss their history with the show, how they feel about it so far, and what they’re hoping to see in Season 6. Ballyhoo! Shit, there it is again! What the hell is making that noise?
Friday: Our first special Game of Thrones episode of the Life in the Kraken podcast is set to premiere today. Join host David, stalwart ‘caster Kyu, and special guest Matt Morris as we discuss Season 6, Episode 1, “The Red Woman.”
Saturday: Baturdays continues with Batman #3’s first story, “The Strange Case of the Diabolical Puppet Master.” If all Batman stories were titled this way, half of them would be “The Perfectly Ordinary Case of the Dude Who Had a Gun,” so I guess consider this week’s puppet-based absurdity a comfort. Plus, there’s probably no racism? Bonus: also this week, Batman #3’s next story, “The Ugliest Man in the World.”
Catch of the Week:
Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week.
Kyu: This week I’m recommending the classic non-superhero comic Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley. It almost feels like cheating to recommend this, not because this is a superhero comic (although it shares some DNA with the genre, in a weird way) but because I can’t believe I’ve been recommending things on this site since October and still haven’t gotten around to one of my all-time favorites. The often-tongue-in-cheek story of a twenty-something unemployed base guitarist who learns he must defeat (in heavily stylized, video game-esque combat) his new dream girl’s seven evil exes is a brilliant pop anthem speaking strongly and directly to a very specific generational cohort. It’s original, dense, well-drawn (in a heavily manga-influenced black and white style, although the still-in-progress colored editions are very handsome too), very very funny, and best of all, features a ton of deceptively nuanced character work. Edgar Wright’s film adaptation is legitimately great in its own right, but the ur-text here remains O’Malley’s seven volumes, which blends those superheroish fights with indie drama, metatextual comedy, and a quietly serious examination of friendships, relationships, and everything in between. Beneath all the jokes and punch-ups and random narrative asides, I think I love it most because it’s romantic and hopeful at heart. If nothing else, Scott Pilgrim sees its protagonist’s flaws with a rare and subtle clarity, and still believes he can better than he is. A wild ride with a heartfelt ending. Yeah.
Keskel: Amazon has entered the anime streaming game in a big way by picking up what appears to be the show of the season (and according to anime fans a strong contender for inclusion in the top 100 anime shows of all time). Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress has a word salad plot that involves iron hearted zombies, samurai, steampunk, an armored military train, and what I can only describe as combat waifu ninja. We are only two episodes in, and so far the show compares favorably with Attack on Titan–if Attack on Titan had better pacing.
David: This week I offer up Richard Linklater’s new film Everybody Wants Some!!. Linklater is brilliant in his first film since Boyhood as he tells the tale of the three days leading up to a young man’s first day of college. The film does a perfect job of capturing the feeling of being at college for the first time, and experiencing what it is like to be in a new place on your own. It is funny and insightful at the same time, while also giving what feels like a more honest look at life in the 1980s. It is well worth a watch.
That’s it for this week. Everyone should be aware that the Kraken doesn’t really get that Game of Thrones is a television show, and so upon exiting the monster this week, he might order you to “pay the iron price” to help his “team.” It’s probably safer just to stay.