Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Hadrian’s Wall 1, originally released September 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Patrick: When you look at the landscape of genre fiction, you could be forgiven for thinking that there’s an unforgivably small number of genres that modern storytellers deal in. Fantasy, mystery, science fiction, horror, superhero, spy, crime, romance, adventure – it sounds like an exhausting list, but it’s frustrating to consider just how many stories end up regurgitating the tropes and story beats of a dozen proto-stories. Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel and Rod Reis’ Hardian’s Wall1 struggles with its own genres — a murder mystery set on a space ship in the future — before revealing that their protagonist has a much more nuanced, much less plug-and-play story to tell. There is no genre called “living in the world with your ex fiction” (as far as I can tell), so the fallout of Simon and Annabelle’s relationship plays out among the stars. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Richie Root are discussing The Private Eye 7, originally released June 20th, 2014.
Patrick: If there’s one thing all high concept stories suffer from, it’s a strained Third Act. So much of our fun up to that point has revolved around realizing a unique, compelling world. When it comes right down to executing on all of the promises laid out in the previous chapters, thematic beats have to take a backseat to action beats. Even when a sci-fi story finds a way to make that final moment a clever twist that asks questions which reinforce the central theme (like in Looper or The Matrix or Blade Runner), the meat of the Third Act is frequently less about the important ideas in action and just settles on being “in action.” When that action is executed with the grace and style of Private Eye‘s creative team, well, maybe that ain’t such a bad thing. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Private Eye 5, originally released December 21st, 2013.
Drew: There’s a touch of irony that the greatest mystery in a detective story is the detective himself, but mysterious detectives are the best. The questions that surround their existence reflect and emphasize the mysteries they’re hired to solve. If that seems too tidy, bear in mind that the mysterious detective falls out of the format of a detective story: while he is busy grilling everyone else about their pasts, his stays conveniently in the dark. Some stories largely ignore this aspect of their detective, treating them as a force of nature designed to solve cases, but many more have mined rich emotional connections from their heroes’ mysterious pasts. In this way, Private Eye may bear more in common with Blade Runner than just its futuristic LA setting. Continue reading →