Monday, July 14, 2014

Vox on vampires and zombies

At the end of Supermoon and other space and astronomy news, I wrote that I'd post some links from Vox if I wasn't ambitious.  I decided I'd rather correct papers and watch some post-apocalyptic shows ("Falling Skies" and "The Last Ship") than write about them, so links from Vox it is.

First, Missing 'The Walking Dead'? Here are 13 ways to cope with zombie withdrawal.
This week, AMC released the first season 5 teaser for The Walking Dead...which mainly served as a reminder on how abruptly season four's finale ended. It had long-awaited reunions, flashbacks to now-deceased characters, and really bad snipers. The episode ended (spoilers await) with the new bad guys forcing all of our favorite characters (except the ones that have been stupidly killed off *side-eye at writers*) into a dark train car, leaving us to wonder what exactly their next move is going to be. One of the characters then said something "inspiring," and then — black out.

That's it. Episode over. No more zombies.

AMC hasn't yet announced a start date for season five (*more side-eye*) but some are guessing an air date of October 12 or somewhere thereabouts. If so, that means we have three more grueling months to get through without any new TWD episodes.

But in the meantime, if you find yourself in zombie withdrawal, or have already gone back and marathon-watched the entire series at least four times, then here's a list of some zombie stuff you can do to pass the time.
Brandon Ambrosino gives a list of 13 things one can do, and one no one should, which takes care of zombies.

Follow over the fold for what Vox writes about the vampires from The Strain.

Todd VanDerWerff says FX drama The Strain has some scary vampires, but not enough else.
Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's Strain novels are enjoyably pulpy trash. No one would ever mistake them for great literature, or even particularly good popcorn fiction, but they zip by quickly enough, and they get the job done. If you want to read books where humanity faces off with spooky vampires (rather than brooding, romantic ones), well, The Strain and its sequels aren't bad as far as fiction you can shut your brain off to goes.

What makes the FX series adaptation of the books feel so frustrating, then, is just how ponderous the whole thing feels. For a series about the potential end of the world, there's a surprising lack of dramatic tension throughout the first four episodes, and scenes seem to often just happen because a character hasn't had much to do in that episode yet.

The series was adapted for television by del Toro and Hogan, and it has an able steward in executive producer Carlton Cuse (formerly of Lost, currently of Bates Motel). All three men make intriguing choices as to how to expand the thinly sketched-in world of the books, and the show is doing the yeoman's work of delving into characters' back-stories and motivations, all of the stuff people keep saying they want from The Walking Dead. Yet it's as if by trying to make the series good, The Strain has had all of the blood sucked out of it. What was once pulse-pounding now is barely likely to merit a heart murmur.
VanDerWerff was a little more positive in The Strain, Episode 1: The surprisingly plausible science of vampire worms.
Every week, Todd VanDerWerff will be joined by one of Vox's many experts in subjects other than television to discuss the new vampire series The Strain... This week, Todd is joined by Vox's science writer, Susannah Locke. Susannah is actually a TV critic in her own right, having reviewed a fair amount of Star Trek: The Next Generation via the venerable form of the haiku.
Read on for an article that would both be on topic for my biodiversity students and would gross them out.  Maybe I should recommend it to them.

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