Netflix is 3% Closer, but Still Fighting White Supremacy Saviors

At this point, it’s damn near impossible to keep up with the onslaught of Netflix original programming. Along with all of the film and series content, the tentacles of the entertainment Kraken inevitably started reaching out for more international collaborations. Around Thanksgiving we were treated to the Brazilian series 3%. In terms of originality, it doesn’t score high: another variation on the theme of a future world where young adults do what they have to do to survive.

It does have its points of deviation though from say The Hunger Games and Divergent with a touch of Elysium. Brazil has had a long and appalling history of income inequality, which I’m sure is where the idea of the tagline came from: “In a dystopian future there is a clear divide between the rich and poor, but when a person turns 20, they have the opportunity to cross the divide.” As implied, by free will all the candidates get to try to make it from the miserable mainland to the utopian island Mar Alto; that looks kind of like Recife to Fernando de Noronha on the map. The tests they undergo are less physical and more psychological until they are whittled down to the fabled 3%. The setting, albeit futuristic, feels closer to present as we undergo our own survival in the collapse.

Continue reading “Netflix is 3% Closer, but Still Fighting White Supremacy Saviors”

Q&A with The OA’s Ian Alexander

by Jes Vu | Originally posted at Angry Asian Man

In a time where representation is such a hot topic in Hollywood, Netflix’s The OA does something few have done: cast an actual Asian transgender teenage boy as an Asian transgender teenage boy. Vietnamese-American teen Ian Alexander is one of multiple Asian actors in The OA’s main cast alongside Filipino/Puerto Rican-American Brandon Perea and British Pakistani Riz Ahmed (in a recurring role). Continuing the spotlight from his response to a viral anti-trans photo, Ian makes his on-screen acting debut as Buck Vu in the newly-released show having been cast from an online open casting call in 2015.

Growing up in places including Japan, Hawai’i, and D.C. have helped shape Ian. The fifteen-year-old high school junior has had more experiences than most teenagers his age, and his passion knows no bounds. He’s politically vocal, a huge admirer of actors and filmmakers like Jen Richards (Her Story) and Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and relentless as a Marvel fanboy (he’s “Team Bucky” for those who are curious). Ian had time to sit down and talk about his upbringing and the show (don’t worry, there are no spoilers here).

Continue reading “Q&A with The OA’s Ian Alexander”

Color Commentary: Luke Cage

Color Commentary returns and this time we’re taking on the first season of Marvel’s Luke Cage.

In the spirit of MST3K and Honest Trailers, Color Commentary is done in complete satire, is intended for a mature audience and is meant for entertainment purposes only. In other words, if you take any of this seriously, you are a fracking idiot.

Continue reading “Color Commentary: Luke Cage

#AAIronFist and The Law of Liefeld

So in desperate need of attention and relevance, Rob Liefeld has decided to weigh in on the #AAIronFist controversy.

For those of you just joining us, this summary here breaks it down.

Created at the height of the 1970s kung-fu movie craze, Iron Fist is an American who learns martial arts from masters at the hidden city of K’un-Lun. He becomes their best student and earns the power of Iron Fist, the ability to channel superhuman energy into his fists. Basically it’s a story about a white guy being better at martial arts than everyone else, steeped in tropes that critics regard as examples of cultural appropriation.

According to Liefeld, Iron Fist “has never ever been considered racist,” (never ever never ever) and casting an Asian American actor would be “reverse white-washing.”

Continue reading “#AAIronFist and The Law of Liefeld”

Luke Cage: Dig a Little Deeper

My sister, Dr. Tara Betts, dropped the Luke Cage syllabus over at Black Nerd Problems. It is a must read. I wanted to add to this wealth of knowledge by offering my own “special features” companion piece to Cage. I will present the following without description as I do not want to taint anyone’s experience. This is only a small amount if what is actually out there. I mentioned other books in my reflections on the series. You can read it here.

Continue reading Luke Cage: Dig a Little Deeper”

Luke Cage is the Most Feminist Show on TV

Spoiler warning: spoilers throughout. Best to read this after watching the whole season! Which I recommend!

It was during a small, nearly throwaway scene deep in episode 10 that it hit me like Jessica Jones’ fist: Luke Cage is the most feminist show I’ve ever seen.

The scene, captured in the screen grab above, features four women characters — four black women, not a one of them under the age of 30 (and none of the actresses under 35) — each of whom is in fundamental conflict with the others, but who come together in two temporary alliances to fight a multi-level battle. Yes, it’s complicated.

Continue reading Luke Cage is the Most Feminist Show on TV”

Luke Cage on Netflix: Sweet Christmas in Autumn

[Note: minor spoilers throughout.]

Let me be upfront and get this out of the way, I love Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage. I love it for the way it is shot. I love it for the unparalleled beauty of the soundtrack. I love it for its color palette. I love it for its hesitancy and awkwardness. I love it for some of the struggle-performances. But what I love the most about it is how black it is.

Continue reading Luke Cage on Netflix: Sweet Christmas in Autumn”

NOC Recaps Voltron Legendary Defender: Get In Formation

When Netflix announced a reboot of the Voltron franchise, the inner child in me jumped for joy. More, I felt an instant connection to my identity as an Asian American. You see, when I think of Voltron, I’m instantly transported back to the 5th grade where I spent my time insisting to my American friends that, in the Philippines, Voltron (and a live-action TV show that turned out to be Super Sentai) was a thing before the Power Rangers. My friends wouldn’t believe me and would only laugh harder when I’d proffer that not only was Voltron a thing, but that it was actually better than the Power Rangers.

Voltron is tied, then, to that part of me that identifies as distinctly Asian American and to finally see a reboot that introduces this great franchise to a new generation is such a treat. That the first episode starts off with such great quality makes it like TV lumpia for me. Clocking in at just over an hour, the ambitious attempt to set and sketch the universe that this iteration of Voltron in is not only given space via quality writing and animation, but also time in this outsized episode. More, a roster of recognizable names lead by The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun as Keith, along with delightful surprise Rhys Darby as comic relief via Princess Allura’s (more on her in a bit) right-hand man, Coran.

Continue reading “NOC Recaps Voltron Legendary Defender: Get In Formation”

Tigresa y Tarantula

Daredevil Season 2 has been up and streaming on Netflix for some time now and if you haven’t watched it, are you okay? Should we call someone? Just kidding. But seriously, go watch it if you still haven’t. It was another successful team-up for Netflix and Marvel after an exceptional Jessica Jones. If you haven’t watched that yet, that’s it, I’m coming over! As I’ve previously written, I recognize my bias and personal history with Daredevil, but in my opinion, especially in terms of tone, the series continues to be the MCU’s masterpiece (ducks).

Continue reading “Tigresa y Tarantula”