(UN)POPULAR CULTURE

The home of writer & author A. J. BLACK

A special episode of my occasional podcast Cultural Conversation, the former name of this website. Earlier this year, I planned on developing a podcast called The Idiot Box, discussing the 250 top IMDB TV shows, plus new entries. It is still something I would one day like to do but it has slipped down the …

Continue reading

There is no doubt in my mind that Years and Years would have been a catastrophic horror show of a television series had it not been written by Russell T. Davies. This six-part one-shot series shows just how unique Davies is to the landscape of television, particularly British television. It is, completely, an ‘RTD’ show. …

Continue reading

“Part of the journey is the end” says Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark at a key point in Avengers: Endgame, a phrase which could neatly punctuate Marvel Studios’ remarkable conclusion to the first era of their Cinematic Universe. Endgame is a staggering achievement. It is, without question, *the* biggest superhero movie ever made. It makes …

Continue reading

Every July weekend at San Diego Comic Con, the biggest geek showcase on the planet where all the major studios and productions roll up to drop exclusives and surprises, you always get one announcement which courts a level of controversy and/or deep analysis. This year it wasn’t even the debut of a trailer for the …

Continue reading

Nostalgia seems to be a double edged sword right now in Hollywood. What on the surface appears to be a comforting guaranteed winner in terms of audience satisfaction and cinematic box office is becoming something of a poisoned creative chalice. The lacklustre critical (if not box-office) responses to pictures such as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom …

Continue reading

There has been an interesting response to the dominant Avengers: Infinity War this weekend as it romped home to a record-beating opening weekend in the States, and a remarkable $600 million plus global take home. Aside from the legion of critics, professional and amateur, who have all lined up on either side of whether the …

Continue reading

Funny Cow isn’t really about comedy. Laughter is the prism through which this bleak fable spins a tale of escape and identity. To make the story of the titular, unnamed ‘Funny Cow’, about the rise of a comedy superstar would be to miss the point. Adrian Shergold’s movie is a strangely oblique, fourth wall breaking …

Continue reading