TV – Luther: Season 3: A

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I must not have been the only one whining about the second season, since they corrected most of my complaints. Elba continued to please, but his co-stars finally stood out on their own too. And Alice was back, and though she shone brightly in season 1, her return lit things up quite nicely. I enjoyed the new serial killer cases, but some of the plotlines could’ve used a few more episodes to properly explore.

TV – Space Dandy: Season 1: A

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It took me a few episodes to get on board, but once I did, I thouroughly enjoyed the ride. After I resolved myself to its chaotic narrative style and just let it flow, it was much easier to enjoy the whimsy. I believe the fourth episode was the first to showcase how subverting the expected story structure can pay off so well. The animation is top notch with certain episodes notably standing out, especially the first. The action flows gorgeously and the character/alien designs are creative and unique. Once you abandon searching for things like continuity or making sense and just embrace the insanity, Space Dandy is quite enjoyable.

Movie – Snowpiercer: A

It’s a weird premise, one which doesn’t make much sense under scrutiny. But the film makes it easy to suspend your disbelief by using gorgeous visuals and a constant sense of simultaneous dread and anticipation. Each time they go to a new car, it’s like opening a present. The anxious wonder at what could come next is half the fun. There are some glorious and graphic fight scenes, plenty of wonderful, weird characters, and an intriguing twist followed by a spectacular finale.

Comic – Green Arrow vol4: The Kill Machine: A

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After the lack-luster first volume, I had given up on Green Arrow, especially with how many good New 52 comics were flying around. But I was assured that after this latest team change, including Jeff Lemire, it has improved substantially. And it certainly delivered on that assurance. It rebooted his lame sidekicks, included some proper villains, and restyled Green Arrow with a more mysterious, driven nature, and not just as a lesser batman. The excellent art also greatly aided the comic’s return to my good graces.

Comic – Thor God of Thunder vol2: Godbomb: A

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While it stuck to the mythology, this volume used fewer wondrous ideas but was instead more and more operatic, which absolutely worked. The three Thors working together was a joy to read, full of great quips about beards and ale, and an intriguing look at the maiden, mother, and crone concept. The visuals continued in the same vein as the first volume, gorgeous but with a gritty realism.

Comic – Thor God of Thunder vol1: The God Butcher: A

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I love Thor tales without much interaction with the rest of the Marvel universe. Normally that means stories set during Old Norse viking times. But this series found a way of taking mythology and thrusting it into a universe-wide space opera. It uses a simple folklore-like structure, but what truly drew me in was its exploration of a sort of pantheon of pantheons, wonderfully demonstrating how sci-fi and mythology can coexist. It weaves its three different timelines back and forth for maximum intrigue and suspense.

Movie – X-Men: Days of Future Past: A

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Massive casts like this are only possible in sequels, and Days of Future Past shows how to do it right. They picked the best characters from the original trilogy and from First Class, and swept the less interesting ones out under the rug, but not in a particularly jarring way. Then they introduced some great new characters, especially Blink, who makes all the “future” action sequences so utterly fantastic (well the awesome future sentinels certainly helped too). Fassbender continues to excel, Lawrence is still great, and Dinklage performs admirably. And of course I can never get enough Patrick Stewart. But Quicksilver easily gets the best sequence in the whole film. He steals the first half, and I was incredibly disappointed he got left behind for the finale.