Archive for the 'tv review' Category

Amazon's The Boys season 2 picks up right where season 1 left off and takes it up a notch: portraying America as a capitalist empire that will cooperate with Nazis to make a buck, and corrupt ideas such as feminism, racial equality and gay right to sell more merchandise and movie tickets. Writer Dana Schweppe joins Gil Kidron for a very enthusiastic review.

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The story of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones begins in an interbellum period, meaning: a period between two great wars. Looking back, there are interesting parallels between the first part of the story and the view towards the White Walkers and the views that some politicians in Europe espoused to avoid another conflict at all cost. Rutger and Gil discuss the similarities as well as the historical lessons.

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The Wire (2002-2008) is one of the most widely acclaimed and highly-rated series of all time, with its impact on TV storytelling, and on local and global politics far outstripping most other scripted shows. In this podcast episode, linguist Mallory Aler joins Gil Kidron to break down the different languages that are prominent in The Wire, from "street" slang to the police language, followed by a deep dive to find what this teaches us about... well, everything.

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The Last Dance, the Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls Netflix documentary says a lot about the 1990s, as well as about today. Theo Gangi, Knicks fan extraordinaire joins Gil Kidron to talk about the political and social angle of the hit documentary series that chronicles the greatest basketball team of all time and the greatest basketball player of all time.

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The HBO series, The Plot Against America, whose last episode aired on Monday, April 20th, depicts the political rise of a Trump-like figure in the US during the early stages of WWII. In this episode, Gil and Rutger discuss why this series hit us so hard. Family stories, our worries about the present, and the fragility of democratic systems come together in this review. 

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In an offhand remark, The Expanse claims that other forms of life are possible, such as forms based on silicon rather than carbon. How plausible is that? And what else would need to be in place? You'd need liquid water, for one. In fact, a whole bunch of things would need to fall exactly into place. Things that are on the one hand rare - but given the enormous numbers of stars and exoplanets would still occur many times. So where are all the aliens? In this podcast, Gil and Rutger talk about habitability and the origin of life. 

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The Expanse might be set in the 2300s, but it is written by 21st-century people and inspired in many ways from history and current political contexts. In this episode patron Omri Goldshtrom, history buff, joins Gil Kidron to find the very many similarities between The Expanse, the path towards the independent Belter nation and the histories of the United States and Israel. We will get into the founding of these immigrant nations vs the immigrant Belter nation, refugees, terrorism and more. 

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In this episode, we dive into The Expanse season 4 and its many layers. As humans travel farther than ever before, to a new world - new evolutionary opportunities arise. And pitfalls. Rutger and Gil break down the evolutionary opportunities and pitfalls that await organisms that move to new habitats. In our own world, new environments sometimes open up either because they suddenly appear - like volcanic islands rising up from the ocean floor - or because key innovations in the evolution of a lineage make the environment accessible. For example, when a lineage evolves the ability to fly and the skies open up. In The Expanse, a whole universe of different planets has suddenly opened up. What might that mean for humans if they radiate outward into this vast space? And what about the organisms they might bring along? What do bats have to do with it? And jellyfish in the Mediterranean?

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The Expanse season 4 has been out on Amazon Prime since December 13, and it is the best season of this scifi story, rife with historical elements, such as Mars collapsing after reaching a truce with Earth in the same vein that the USSR collapsed after the end of the cold war, the expansion out to the American west or Age of exploration elements, all the way to compelling scientific questions such as new biomes and the sounds guns make in space. Rutger joins Gil to celebrate this season, its writing, acting, production value and pace, and complain a bit about the final two episodes.

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The Expanse is a political story about a society set 200 years in the future, led by humans who are making the same sort of calculations leaders today make - weighing options, trying to figure out what other people will do in all kinds of situations. Rutger joins Gil to talk about game theory, the thinking behind it and its applications in all walks of life, including when dealing with a trans-planetary conflict with several factions, and the sub-factions within them. The conflict between, Earth, Mars and the Belt is shaped by the decisions, assumptions and misjudgments of its leaders, and exploring game theory through this Amazon Prime show is a great way to learn more about The expanse and game theory.

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