The Odyssey Online: Twentieth Issue

Editor’s Note: Closing Credits for 2015

Thank you.

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Finales: always the most anticipated, yet because of that anticipation, often the most disappointing. They’re especially difficult to do well when they’ve been built up to after months and weeks of time, energy, and investment. All of these words describe the commitment each member of our Arcadia team has put into making our branch of the Odyssey a slam dunk (I used a sport’s term–that’s how rare a mythical creature we are).

Thus, by way of starting out, I want to introduce the very real possibility that this editor’s note will not do justice to all the thought’s running through my head right now.

This is our last issue–last of the Fall, last of the year, and a personal milestone, last as Editor-in-Chief.

What a semester.

 

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The Odyssey Online: Nineteenth Issue

‘Destiny is all’ in BBC America’s “The Last Kingdom”

Bernard Cornwell’s popular book series gets adapted for the small screen, to thrilling results

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Based on the first book in Bernard Cornwell’s series, The Saxon Tales, BBC America’s “The Last Kingdom” follows the adventures of Uhtred, son of Uhtred, born Saxon but raised by their enemy, the Danes, when his father is killed in battle. This dual identity becomes the show’s central conflict, as throughout its eight episode first season Uhtred finds himself caught in the middle of their dispute over who will gain control of ‘the last kingdom’ of Wessex. England’s future as a united country depends on the outcome of these fights yet with friends on both sides (his Danish ‘brother from another mother,’ Ragnar, and feisty soul mate, Brida; the Saxon preacher, Father Beocca, he’s known since childhood and new pal, Leofric) Uhtred’s loyalties remain forever torn between the two groups. How he manages to balance these opposing commitments, without denying any part of who he is–as a combined product of both perspectives–makes for great television drama and is how the show is able to succeed where other attempts at Dark Ages set series have failed.

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The Bond’s of Brotherhood Run Deep on SyFy’s “Almighty Johnsons” and DirecTV’s “Kingdom”

How two very different shows address the themes of family and siblings

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The Odyssey Online: Seventeenth Issue

Just When I Thought I Was Out… FX’s “Fargo” Pulled Me Back In

You betcha season 2 is better than season 1.

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After sticking it out through season one of FX’s “Fargo,” I was ready to call it quits. Exactly why is a tougher question to answer. Derived from the Coen Brothers’ film of the same name, the anthology series starts with the story of Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), a constantly belittled life insurance salesman who, after an encounter with a mysterious killer, Lorne Malvo (an exceptionally good Billy Bob Thornton), decides to finally stand up for himself. Which, in “Fargo,” equates to a ton of dead bodies.

Also in the first season, viewers are introduced to the Solverson family: Molly (Allison Tolman), the good-at-her-job cop who is closest to putting together the facts behind her hometown’s recent string of murders, and Lou, her father, a retired good cop who now runs a local diner.

The Solversons, and various locations in the Midwest, are the main carryovers into season two’s prequel, which flashes back 27 years from season one’s 2006, to 1979. At this point in time, Molly is a little girl and Lou is a Minnesota State Trooper. Yet while there are numerous other parallels between the first season and the second, many of which would be spoilers to disclose, season two does them better. More importantly, season two does them with a greater sense of hope.

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The Odyssey Online: Sixteenth Issue

Cyber Monday, TV Edition

A guide to cool gifts available for the channel surfer in your life.

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Cyber Monday is here and for TV fans everywhere, that means network websites jostling each other to offer the best shop discounts (HBO, Showtime, FX, etc.). It’s a great opportunity to stock-up on all the official merchandise you’d been eyeballing throughout the year but holding off on due to price

There is a larger question, though, of how do you surprise the binge-watcher who knows these network shops’ inventories like the back of their hand? The answer is in the fan community. So many great artists have turned to online marketplaces like Etsy to celebrate their favorite shows with amazing products. The trick is knowing where to look amongst the endless array of search options. With the help of this guide, I hope to make that search a little easier.

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The Odyssey Online: Fifteenth Issue

For Everyone Who Doesn’t Want to Watch Football This Thanksgiving

Holiday-themed TV alternatives to watching the ‘Big Game’

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Without fail, there’s always at least one room in the house on Thanksgiving Day that’s taken over by the ‘Big Game.’ I am not a football fan. I do not know the rules, I do not root for a team, and these convictions extend through the Super Bowl as well–no commercial break or half time show exceptions. Despite what popular opinion may say to the contrary, however, with a little preplanning there are many other, more holiday-themed alternatives for what to watch this year. Here’s my list of TV’s top Thanksgiving specials.

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The Odyssey Online: Fourteenth Issue

To The TV Show That Got Me Into College

“Slings and Arrows,” this one’s for you.

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As senior year continues, an article recognizing how much my greatest accomplishments in college have been tied to my love of television, from my working thesis on the first season of “Rectify,” to my college acceptance essay on “Slings and Arrows.” Making it’s grand public debut, my college acceptance essay on why I (still) want to be more like Geoffrey Tennant.

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Editor’s Note: Peace for Paris

The Odyssey Online: Thirteenth Issue

TV Character Deaths You Can’t Shake

Didn’t see this one, or the reaction I’d have to it, coming.

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I’ve never been able to warm up to AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (zombies in general), but I do keep up with some of the major plot points in magazines and from what I understand it’s been a rough couple of weeks, as fans of the show have had to cope with uncertainty over a major, and beloved, character’s death.

“Nashville” fans are in a similar boat. Except we’re fairly certain he’s dead. And “beloved” wouldn’t exactly be the right word.

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Editor’s Note: Time to Drop Those Books and Dance

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The Odyssey Online- Eleventh Issue

Editor’s Note: Lost Books

Whether uncovering an old favorite or discovering new ones to read in the future, there’s nothing like finding a good book.

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Finally resurfacing from the heap of other childhood favorites I can’t bring myself to get rid of, I triumphantly stroll into my little brother’s room, bedtime story in hand. “Meg and Mog,” written by Helen Nicholl and illustrated by Jan Piekowski, has seen better days. Both covers are cracked and bent. Today leaving a book in such a state would be unheard of, but “Meg and Mog” is from a time when creases didn’t bother me. These are creases of love — love for illustrations that still compel me to flip through them whenever a corner of the cover peaks out from my bookcase; love for a story about a witch named Meg and her cat, Mog, who wake up one midnight to get ready for a party. After cooking a hearty breakfast, they set off to meet Meg’s friends. They’re going to cast a spell and while ultimately it goes wrong that’s where the story ends. No panic. No, “my friends have been turned into mice and my cat is chasing them, what do I do?” upsetness. With a slight grimace, Meg hops back on her broom and the story closes on her reaching the reasonable and calm headed conclusion, “I’ll have to change them back, next Halloween.”

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